Tina LeMar from Sheltered Yoga was kind enough to talk with MysticMag and enlighten us on the incredible work that this non-profit performs in the heart of their community. We find out more.
What is Sheltered Yoga’s primary focus?
Sheltered Yoga is a non-profit that uses yoga and meditation, amongst other things, to help the kids and adults that we work with to expect love and to feel love for themselves, to reach their goals in life and moving forward, to live a physically, emotionally and mentally healthier life.
How do you decide which establishments to work with?
We work with children and adults that are in group homes, shelters, transitional housing facilities and day/evening programs. We work with the highest levels of trauma in individuals. One of our most common occurrences is a parent or guardian drugging their kids dinner, and when under the influence, put them out to prostitute all night, collect their money, put them to bed and then wake them up to go to school the next day. And so it goes on. Often this results in these kids, at a later stage, wanting to keep their own money, so they end up on the streets.
Often the kids are in this prostitution circle for a few years before the police or social services realize they are in trouble, or the court recognizes their absenteeism at school. Other issues that we deal with, and perhaps worse, is when the biological parent, sibling or grandparent is raping the child. This is actually quite common, however hard that is to believe.
In terms of growth, how has your non-profit flourished?
We are very nuanced and specific about the children and the adults we work with. They usually hear about us by word of mouth, from another facility we work with, from an interview, seminar or essay that I have done or written, or through the State.
Our curriculum is evidence-based and trauma-informed and brings together numerous psychology modalities and techniques. We scaled up, essentially, through word of mouth and general need. We had about 40 teachers and 30 locations and then Covid hit and everything shut down. For about a year and a half we did many virtual classes for the children, as they desperately needed an outlet. The second half of Covid was even more difficult, as the children were all getting sick with Covid and were unable to meet online.
Currently, we have a lot of interest and we are back to growing the amount of people we serve. We also work with juvenile prisons across NJ and Delaware.
What can we do to help your mission?
Being aware of Sheltered Yoga’s mission and knowing that we are willing to work with anyone across our country and around the globe is a great start. We train people in our curriculum and trauma informed yoga and meditation. We do this work all day, every day. We are a non-profit that goes into the most dangerous facilities with high-risk and high-behavioral issues.
Our specialized trauma-informed evidence-based lessons are adapted specifically for this high level of care and can be used for any level.
My personal crusade is to get people to understand how much children and adults are suffering. In the States, most donations are given to religious organizations, and animal related charities (which I think is wonderful) but less and less focus is given to people.
I think this may be because America, to some degree, has given up on people. A lot of our work is with teens, and I have seen incredible transformation throughout our journey. These teens transform into amazing young adults that learn how to feel love and be able to appreciate it and give it back. Making people aware of this is instrumental to the growth of our organization, and to the betterment of this sometimes cruel world.
Want to find out more about Sheltered Yoga, visit https://shelteredyoga.org/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/ShelteredYoga/