I first became acquainted with the Sean O'Shea Foundation when I received a flyer for a free chair yoga training for educators from a school nurse I worked with. The training was phenomenal, and quite exceeded my expectations. As a Licensed Mental Health Clinician working in a day treatment high school in San Diego, I learned that I could apply to have the SOSF work with the students in weekly yoga classes....for free! I jumped on the opportunity to bring a great resource to the at-risk, high-need population that I worked with. Many of the students were up against challenges such as mental illness, severe behavior issues, gang pressures, trauma, learning disabilities, teen parenting, violent neighborhoods, and chronic socioeconomic stressors. The Sean O'Shea Foundation ended up working with the students at the school for not just 7 weeks, but several years, and in the process changed a student body and the staff supervising them with their positive message of health, resilience, and taking control over one's circumstances through strength of mind and body. Through the discipline of yoga and nutrition classes, students learned skills to move through life, and in doing so also were surprised to see significant amounts of emotional and physical pain lift. They now had a skill and a hobby to feel good about and mentors that believed in them and demonstrated kind and gentle consistency in their words and actions. Through this process the students developed mental and physical strength and resilience. The staff that participated (myself included) benefited from weight loss, calmer work days, and a nice camaraderie with one another and the students participating. In addition to being a licensed marriage and family therapist, I am also a facilitator of mind-body skills groups developed by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and the SOSF message strengthened and reinforced the group curriculum I was teaching to the students, and led to a synergistic process in their journey of self-care. The story of the tragic loss of Sean O'Shea, a man of many virtues, is one the students can identify with, as the lives of many of them have been peppered with loss. They get to experience something beautiful that grew out of the O'Shea family's loss, and develop hope for their own beauty to grow out of their own losses. I can't say enough about how authentic, inspiring, effective, and professional the Sean O'Shea Foundation Non-Profit Yoga Programs are. It is a direct correlation to the staff who run them. I am proud to be serving on the board of directors of this amazing foundation.
I both teach and serve as a Board Member for the Sean O'Shea Foundation. I have seen first hand the effects our yoga programs have on children. I recently began teaching C.A.L.M. Kids- a chair based mindfulness program to three high school classes. At the start of the semester, the kids would be agitated and resist the poses and breath work. However, by the end of the semester, the kids would be happy to see me arrive and I would look out at the class and see all the kids participating.
The Sean O'Shea Foundation teaches health and wellness to children and teens. In a time filled with school cutbacks, the SOS Foundation provides at risk kids with a different kind of activity- YOGA. I have taught in the program and the students' repsonses are overwelmingly positive. Plus, there is a nutrition element that many of the kids would otherwise not be taught. The O'Shea family and friends have worked so hard the last few years to create a great curriculum.
Before chosing to be a board member, I taught a class of 3rd to 5th graders for the foundation. The transition from the first week to the last week was amazing. I had two brothers who at the beginning were talking and roughhousing yet, in the last class, their mother's jaw dropped as she saw them lying in the final relaxation pose, completely still and quiet. The Sean O'Shea Foundation programs have expanded over the last 8 years to include thousands of at risk youth, ages 5-18, in our community including the Rady’s Children’s Hospital and their mindfulness program, CALM, that teaches them to be more mindful and calm. Their track record of continued service to the community is evident from the testimonials you can find at: http://www.seanosheafoundation.org/testimonials.html
The programs are offered before, during and after school and are geared to students 5-18 yrs old. They teach during P.E., health, science, or free period. The programs are available to all types of schools - public, charter, or private – and to other organizations that work with children. Scholarships are available for schools with a high percentage of at-risk youth or in communities that are considered economically disadvantaged. The emphasis of their program is a physical yoga practice, yet they also weave nutrition information, eco-green awareness, conservation, volunteerism, and mindfulness into the classes to build character and help children recognize how their choices impact their lives and the world around them.
I began my involvement with the Sean O’Shea Foundation as a volunteer shortly after I met Gloria during my Yoga certification at Mira Costa College in 2010. She shared her passion and the story of her son, Sean O’Shea, and even from this early moment, I felt connected to Sean and his compassion for others in his yogic path helping and supporting at-risk children. Since then I taught a few classes and specifically always enjoy relating the story of the mother with her three younger children who came to the last class of a seven week free program to her school and saw her 8 and 10 year old boys in savasana, completely calm. The jaw drop by her was priceless as these boys started out poking and goofing around early in the program. Since then, I’ve been involved as a board member supporting the continued enhancement and growth of the programs with so many testimonials of how our program impacted the whole social dynamics of so many children and young adults. Our children in this program are transformed into by learning about nutrition and yoga and “The Optimist Creed” that Sean taught in his yogic path. Our mission says it all: “To empower youth through yoga, nutrition and optimistic teachings that help to develop life skills that can enable youth to take responsibility for their life, develop respect for themselves and others, and have confidence in their own potential.”
The beauty of the Sean O'Shea Foundation's programs is that mindfulness is woven into each lesson. Whether it's mat yoga, nutrition or CALM Kids in the classroom, the emphasis is on "paying attention, here and now, with kindness and curiosity so I can choose my behavior." In a yoga pose this might mean figuring out which muscles are working, noticing the physical changes before and after; and noticing any judgements that come up. With nutrition, students learn not just why it's healthy to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but also how their individual choices can have an impact on their communities and the planet. Kids start seeing the connections between what they do on the mat and what they do in the world. SOSF is helping to raise a new, mindfully aware generation.
I've been teaching SOSF's dynamic mindfulness and nutrition curriculum in schools almost since the beginning, in 2008. I have observed and participated in the organization's growth and development. SOSF has done a great job of adapting programs to meet the needs of students and schools, especially during the budget crunches of the past few years. Thanks to financial support from the community and in-kind donations, the leadership of Gloria O'Shea and a talented board, and the dedicated teachers, SOSF's programs have reached 13,000 students at zero or minimal cost. When a kid writes, "What I like about yoga is that this is the only time I'm calm," you know that the work is not just important, but essential.
The Sean O'Shea Foundation has changed my life- as a volunteer, as a teacher, and as a human being! Seeing the energetic shift in the youngsters I work with is one of the most impactful experiences I've ever witnessed. Giving kids the skill set of mindfulness, yoga, and healthy eating is something that they will carry with them over a lifetime, and I have never been so grateful to be part of a community.
The Sean O'Shea Foundation provides nutrition, mindfulness and yoga programs to at-risk youth, throughout Southern California. SOSF programs teach kids tools to apply to the stresses and challenges of everyday life.
It is a privilege to work with the Sean O'Shea Foundation.
SOSF is an organization of impact. The success of their work is trackable through data but most apparent in the children themselves. SOSF is changing lives by helping children quiet their bodies and their minds. Children who go through SOSF programs become responsible in school, their grades go up, they become healthier and they become leaders. I can't say enough good things about this organization and Gloria who works tirelessly serving SOSF kids.
The Sean O'Shea Foundation is a quality organization that I have had the honor to observe the positive effects on our youth. Students who have participated in the program have experience wealth of benefits including physical health, self control, and tactics to deal with anxiety. All these skills are important in dealing with trials associated with being child in the complex society.
Love what I've seen through the hard work and dedication of all involved with this amazing nonprofit organization!
The kids reactions and excitement has been so imperator all!!!
This foundation's very core is is dedicated to helping youth through the power of basic yoga and healthy living practices! I personally teach 6-13 year olds, and I can honestly say that the kids light up when we practice together!
Please take a look at our work! There are so many young lives we can still help impact with positive and peaceful lessons and outlook!
Every year the Foundation keeps getting better and bigger. The Sean O'Shea Foundation continues to implement new programs for all. I am amazed at the enthusiasm the kids have when participating in the Sean O'Shea yoga, nutrition, hip hop and chair yoga programs! The foundation is benefiting so many youth in so many ways!
I have experienced first hand what the Sean O'Shea Foundation does for the youth and families in our communities. Being very fortunate to have worked with the Foundation, I have had the chance to work with the youth in elementary schools and teach. It is so rewarding to see the kids excited everyday when we are about to start practice. They are excited to learn and to stretch and to move their bodies. It boosts confidence and self esteem. The kids work together and are very supportive of one another. They encourage each other and help one another. Everyday I was with the kids I experience only positive attitudes and positive relationships. Some of the most shy kids by the end of the semester had moved from the back of the class to the front and shining bright and confident. The Sean O'Shea Foundation has been doing such incredible things for our youth and continues to make a positive difference in their lives. We are blessed to have a non-profit like the Sean O'Shea Foundation in our community.