Mission: Bent On Learning partners with New York City schools to provide yoga as a core subject for students in grades pre-K through 12 to make moving, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques a regular part of students’ school day and learning experience. Through yoga, students learn to release stress, manage emotions and control impulses, leaving them with greater mental space for understanding new concepts, solving problems and thinking creatively. Yoga in the classroom incorporates physical health, mindfulness and academic achievement, and holistically develops physical, social and emotional intelligence in students. Our mission is to improve the overall health and learning ability of inner city youth.
Results: To date, we have implemented yoga programs in 54 schools in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; taught 22,356 students; and certified over 100 yoga and classroom teachers as children’s yoga teachers for the urban classroom environment. We currently have 50 schools on our waiting list.
Bent On Learning measures program impact using a core set of research-based SEL youth outcomes that are correlated with academic success, reduced risky behaviors, and increased thriving. An evaluation on BOL high school students during the 2015-17 school years found that 83% of students made statistically significant gains in positive youth development. While most students showed improvement in self-management and positive identity, the most dramatic change was seen in academic self-efficacy (+47 points, based on a 100-point scale). After taking weekly BOL yoga classes, students with the lowest confidence in their ability to attain academic success improved the most.
Target demographics: children release stress, calm emotions and control impulses so they are happier and more prepared for learning.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,200 students across 16 schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.
Geographic areas served: New York City public schools
I have had the joy of participating in 2 fundraising events, and attending one, for Bent On Learning. The integrity, vibrancy, and passion of everyone involved in the organization -- from teachers to volunteers to directors to donors and most of all, to students -- is an inspiration. Bent On Learning is the perfect example of truly effective grassroots change-making, in an infinitely replicable model that should be available on every school campus.
After a very motivational and informational meeting/training with Bent On Learning I began my first volunteer experience for the non-profit at school in Manhattan. Because of the guidance I received and the clear outline of our goals, I felt very comfortable with my role bringing yoga into this school. Although my students were at an age where trying new activities and listening to authority is often difficult, they were able to open up and explore their breath and bodies in space. Watching them grow from week to week was a great joy for me.