PRISON YOGA PROJECT
Shakera here and I need a huge favor! April 2016 I started a non-profit organization that serves incarcerated and at-risk women in the Dallas, TX area. Our mission at Partnerships for Health, Wellness & Prosperity is to reduce the rate of recidivism, poverty and preventable illnesses among at risk women.
I currently visit the female inmates at the Dallas County Jail on Tuesday and on Friday and lead two classes per day in fitness routines that combine Yoga, Pilates and other cardiovascular exercises. Before each class participants and myself have a discussion about the weeks objectives. For example, identifying the participants’ dreams and goals. Each student is instructed to begin the process of planning for their future, writing their goals down and a strategic plan on how they intend on achieving their goals.
At the end of each class participants are lead through a relaxing meditation. Usually, there is a specific area that they focus on (i.e. mantra, positive thought, goals). Meditation lasts for 10 minutes and is followed by a group prayer for the pod. The purpose my program is to help our participants cultivate a positive mindset, a spirit of positivity, developing hope for their future, healing emotional wounds, reclaiming their strength (mental & physical) and for me, letting them know they matter.
My goal is to not only expand my classes and provide full time support but also to enhance my skills as a mind body teacher in prison and in jail. As you might image, the women I work with deal with a different set of challenges.
Nearly 7 in 10 women in state prisons have experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past and 69 percent reported that the assault occurred before the age of 18. Approximately 7 in 10 women under correctional sanction have minor children. With their primary care taker behind bars that leaves more than 1.3 million children without one very vital person in their lives. In addition to those very difficult obstacles, they have to battle mental illness, detoxing from drugs/alcohol and the daunting task of one day being released from custody.
What many people do not realize is that after serving their time in jail/prison many women go home with thousands of dollars in debt owed to the state, court fees, staying clean, trying to find housing, getting their children back, and steering clear of illegal activities. Many women have felony convictions and other charges that make finding employment difficult. My job is to help them develop the coping skills to keep them from recidivating and ending up behind bars again.
With that said, my goal is to not only expand my time at the jail/prison as a full time wellness educator. It is also my goal to be the best instructor so that I can make a greater impact.
I have applied for a partial scholarship for Prison Yoga Teacher training through the Prison Yoga Project. If I am awarded this scholarship it will cover half of the $345.00, however, the remaining $172.50 plus the cost of my flight and hotel stay will be left to my organization to pay. As you can imagine, as a newly established non-profit organization, resources are scarce. And we depend on financial donations from concerned citizens like you.
You can take action now and donate through my Crowd Raz Fundraising page! I would be so grateful for any amount you decide to donate. And if you cannot donate I would greatly appreciate it if you could forward this email to your family and friends.
Best in health & beauty <3