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  • In early 2009, I was going through a rough patch. I was a sophomore in college, completely unsure about what I wanted to do with my life. I was working at an internship I dint care for, and between that and my job at a restaurant, struggling to make ends meet. To top it all of, I had just gotten out of a serious, rocky relationship. Life wasn’t awful, but I quickly realized I wasn’t happy. I missed teaching kids, like I did in high school, and really wanted to start volunteering again, too. I spent whatever time I had volunteering for New York Cares, a non-profit in the city that helps over 400,000 disadvantaged New Yorkers through thousands of community outreach initiatives. After a couple months, the opportunity came to be the team leader and yoga instructor for an after-school program in the LES. It took some time, but I eventually learned how to create a curriculum that all students could respond to, focusing on self-expression and individuality and crafting a yoga class around their passions. Somehow, it clicked, and by the end of the year the students were an entirely new group of people: strong, bold and inherently creative with the confidence to express it.

    So, I shared what I learned with others in the same field, and kept teaching, with only positive results. I never realized how much of an impact these efforts were making until I was contacted by NBC to be featured on their prime time show School Pride, which raised awareness about the education crisis in America by renovating schools and communities across the country. Myself and about a dozen others were individually showcased as an Educational Hero who we’re doing something creative – whether it was leading a community bike to school event, starting a music program, or teaching yoga. When my episode aired, the support was incredible, and entirely unexpected. Who knew so many people were interested in something that I held near and dear to my heart!

    I want to make it easy for others to lead the charge, and get as many free yoga classes in schools as possible so children can harness their creativity and grow with passion and spark – especially when looming budget cuts this fall will leave 47,000 children without a creative outlet. If this motivates you in any way I encourage you to join us: either by signing up to work with us at Yoga Foster or by applying your passions to support the school communities. You never know how much of a difference you can make until you try.

    Nicole
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