Being focused and present in life can be difficult, especially for kids. Nicole Cardoza witnessed this firsthand when she began volunteering as a yoga teacher in her local schools. After seeing the positive impact yoga had on her students, she brought in elements from her background in tech, and thus, Yoga Foster and its mission to “make wellness elementary” was born. Through easy-to-follow virtual programs, Yoga Foster trains teachers and school districts to embody and empower children (and educators alike) with the lifelong wisdom, tools, and practices of meditation and yoga.
Over the past five years, nearly 2500 teachers in 500 schools across the United States have incorporated the trainings of Yoga Foster into their daily curriculum to have a direct positive impact in their student body wellness. Within Yoga Foster’s community, 86% of teachers reported improvements in students’ mental health and even greater numbers reported improvements in their student’s academic performance.
Yoga Foster is one of the organizations helping to create stories of success that propel the mindful classroom movement. Around the world, meditation sessions are replacing detention time, self-reflection is being encouraged rather than punishments inflicted, and topics like self-awareness, calm communication, and self-care are becoming more normal.
As more schools across America continue to cut funding for physical education and classes that promote healthy expression, Yoga Foster provides a chance for kids K-8 to practice conscious movement, while teaching them to relax and be present in an open state that nurtures the bedrock of life-long learning and emotional management. Put simply, these programs help create environments for children to channel their energy and thrive.
Yoga Foster relies on fundraisers, small donations of money and gently used mats. A $20 donation is all it takes to provide one student with an entire school year’s worth of yoga and meditation. Programs are offered at $10 per teacher per month while 90% of the costs are covered by the Yoga Foster community.
To engage as many children as possible, teachers can apply for grant applications that offer full scholarships for training, lesson plans, mentorships, and subscriptions to yoga and mindfulness tools. This training empowers teachers to guide their students in the development of a sustainable and multi-functional practice.
Whether you’re a teacher that wants to equip students with strength and self-awareness or just a conscious individual or organization looking to benefit our future generations, Yoga Foster provides not just an opportunity to give, but to empower. The lives of our children and in turn, all of us can be brighter when peace and mindfulness is achieved.