Published: April 25, 2024 By

Originally from Southeast Louisiana, Kala Rachal is finding her true passion in serving underprivileged youth from her true home. Currently living in Chicago, Kala is not only an Army veteran with four years of service, including two deployments abroad, but she also boasts a rich professional background. With a Master's in Public Health specializing in International Health and Development, she has carved out a niche as a public health consultant and thrives as the CEO of Ore Wa Wellness Studio. Kala's passion extends to teaching Pilates and yoga, as well as executive coaching, reflecting her commitment to holistic health and healing. Her life story is evidence to the power of taking chances: a spontaneous decision to join the military based on a casual conversation has led to a series of experiences that have profoundly shaped her personal and professional life.

After serving in Afghanistan and returning to regular life, Kala found herself navigating the challenging transition away from military culture. Seeking methods to support her own healing, she discovered the profound impact of yoga, which started the beginning of her journey into holistic health. This experience lead her to pursue public health as a way to integrate the wellness of mind, body, and soul into her work.

As years passed, and amidst the global challenges caused by COVID-19, Kala moved to Chicago and saw an opportunity to adapt and expand her passion for wellness into a moreKala Rachal accessible format. She dreamed a virtual wellness studio that could reach people across different cities, allowing her to connect and help others remotely. Motivated by this vision, Kala undertook training in Pilates and completed her second yoga training, deepening her expertise. She also pursued executive coaching at Georgetown, aiming to formalize her skills and use her experiences to assist others on their wellness journeys.

Kala's holistic approach is not limited to physical exercises; it also includes exploring other healing modalities such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and medical massage. These diverse practices have equipped her to better advocate for wellness and support others in their post-military lives. Her commitment to holistic health is now also shaping her efforts in the nonprofit sector, where she focuses on fostering wellness and economic opportunities for underserved youth.

A Vision for Community Revival through a Nonprofit Café

Kala is setting out to transform her childhood community in southeast Louisiana, a region dubbed "Cancer Alley" due to its health and environmental issues. With a commitment to her roots, Kala is in the early stages of launching a nonprofit café aimed at nurturing local youth between the ages of 13 and 24. This establishment will not only offer a place of respite but will also provide economic opportunities and personal development support.

Her vision for the nonprofit café extends beyond serving coffee; she sees it become a place for positive youth development programming, offering services and advocacy that address both health and economic disparities in this underserved area. The concept was inspired by a veteran entrepreneurship course that propelled her from establishing an LLC to giving back to her community. Kala's journey is driven by the philosophy that one's environment does not define their future potential. This belief stems from her own experiences growing up in a limited setting, where she was one of the few to seize opportunities that led her beyond her immediate surroundings.

Kala is determined to help local youth discover and harness their potential. The café is envisioned as a space where young individuals can grow, find mentorship, and access resources previously unavailable in their community. Through her efforts, Kala aims to light a path for others, just as her journey illuminated hers. This nonprofit is her way of paying it forward, ensuring that the next generation can also rise above their circumstances.

“Besides from this being a collaborative space for people within the community, I envision this being a monumental change for that area. There are no healthy cafes available for the community on the Eastbank side of the river that I'm going to establish this cafe. I look forward to providing a place where individuals can have healthier options available.”

Charting New Paths Through Entrepreneurship

For Kala, entrepreneurship isn't just about owning a business; it's a means to achieve freedom and create opportunities, not only for herself but for others who are searching for their own paths. Her perspective on entrepreneurship goes beyond business ownership. It involves a commitment to nurturing talent, particularly those who may not have clear career aspirations but possess a spark of interest. Kala's approach is to provide space and support to help these individuals explore and develop their skills, which she sees as a way to "pay it forward." This philosophy stems from her own experiences growing up in a community with limited examples of what could be achieved.

Furthering her knowledge on entrepreneurship, Kala attended the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at Oklahoma State University. This provided Kala and other veteran entrepreneurs with invaluable resources and insights that profoundly impacted their business journeys. The diverse cohort and corporate partnerships broadened perspectives and introduced a range of experiences from different sectors, including crucial support for nonprofit initiatives. For Kala, the program stood out as one of the best she's experienced, crediting it with equipping veteran entrepreneurs with tools and strategies that are both practical and inspiring for their entrepreneurial endeavors.

“This is probably one of the best programs I've ever been a part of as a veteran entrepreneur, and I think the work that they're doing will be able to elevate and leverage a lot of support for veterans in the coming years.”

The lack of role models in her early life did not deter her; instead, it fueled her determination to pursue her ambitions and explore possibilities beyond her immediate environment. Her journey through the world of health not only led her to achieve a degree but also to pivot from treatment to prevention, empowering her belief in the transformative power of proactive wellness.

Kala's advice to others from similar backgrounds is poignant: "Keep going." She stresses the importance of perseverance through uncertainty, chaos, and criticism. Her own experiences have taught her to trust her instincts and remain committed to her goals, a lesson she eagerly shares with others.


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