The Issue: Rehabilitation of Incarcerated Young People
For the boys and girls at Echo Glen Children's Center in Snoqualmie—all of whom have been convicted of criminal offenses—rehabilitation is the foundation of their day. Depending on their needs, they might receive a variety of therapies and treatments, including anger-replacement therapy, sex-offense treatment, chemical-dependency treatment, or dialectical behavior therapy. The youth who live in the medium/maximum-security facility also benefit from another kind of treatment: yoga. As a holistic therapy, yoga can help relieve stress and teach students to channel their energy away from disruptive behavior and into their own healing.
The Campaign: Teaching Yoga to Students Behind Bars
If 36 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then Yoga Behind Bars can fund two yoga classes for young people at a detention facility, thanks to matching donations from Colleen McEvoy, Board President of Yoga Behind Bars. Donations will be matched up to $1,000. Each additional $360 raised will fund another class at the detention facility. During the classes, which take place once a week for 15 weeks, a volunteer instructor works with a group of 10–20 students between ages 9 and 19, practicing asana posing, pranayama breath work, and meditation. The 50-minute lesson runs through physical postures and breathing exercises to help reduce stress and decrease violent behavior. There are currently six weekly yoga classes that count as treatment credits in the facility’s therapy program.
All donations will be matched up to a $1,000 total by Colleen McEvoy, Board President of Yoga Behind Bars.
Yoga Behind Bars
In 2003, Shaina Traisman taught her first yoga class in Seattle’s downtown jail. The students' blossoming interest in the class and the facility’s obvious need touched Shaina. So two years later, she founded Yoga Behind Bars to reach as many students as possible and helped increase the number of teachers involved. Every week, 35 volunteer instructors teach yoga poses, breath work, philosophy, and meditation exercises to more than 150 men, women, and children at correctional facilities across the region as a form of therapy and rehabilitation. The yoga classes are designed to grant the students inner freedom and help them overcome their stressors and destructive behavioral patterns for when they reenter society.
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