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 have personally seen the change happen with these kiddos. What a phenomenal healing affect this program has on our disadvantaged youth and kids with cancer!
The Sean O'Shea Foundation exceeds all expectations by partnering with our school, SOAR Academy. Our school is located within Kearny Mesa's Juvenile Hall. The Sean O'Shea Foundation provides yoga class with an amazing yoga teacher to incarcerated, juvenile boys twice weekly, year-round. All of the boys in our unit of Juvenile Hall are experiencing PTSD symptoms and they have extreme stress responses including anger, suicidal behaviors, cutting behaviors, withdrawal, and many other symptoms of trauma. Our unit is actually called the Trauma Response Unit or TRU. Yoga is one of the only ways the students can calm down and reduce their stress. The Sean O'Shea Foundation (SOSF) is unique in that they provide a teacher that can adapt to our unique, and challenging, environment. There are days when the intercom rings twenty times during class. There are days when students are resistant. Yet, Marie, our teacher, that is provided by SOSF, persists and she is flexible to our students' exceptional needs. By serving the hundreds of students that move through our unit each year, SOSF, is affecting change in the lives of incarcerated juveniles that are often underserved and undervalued in our society. SOSF makes a lasting impact on our San Diego community because students will always be able to take the yoga and mindfulness skills that they learn in school with them as they exit our program. Thank you SOSF.
The SOF program has helped bring peace and wellness to our 4th and 5th grade students now for the past 6 years. Many of our students often experience stressful life situations such as poverty, immigration issues, sharing small apartments with other families or others, learning how to navigate an academic curriculum that does not match their linguistic or cultural backgrounds. Our students love it! They are learning to be more in tune with their breathing, be in the moment, practice mindfulness, and learn how to eat healthy. We are so grateful to have them work with a group of our students each year! The staff are so dedicated to this practice and to service--we are so appreciative of their dedication!
There is nothing like the benefits of yoga in helping "at risk" students experience the magic of a meditative practice that affects their mind, body and soul. Recent research show the great need for reflection is in enhancing learning and in addressing brain trauma as a result of a destructive past. Our students are labeled "at risk" because of being in a probationary or expelled status or are either a pregnant or parenting teen. The one hour yoga practice combined with nutrition classes is absolutely our weekly treat! Thank you Gloria for your vision to make this possible. And, thank you to all of you who have contributed with your support and donations to unfold Sean O' Shea Foundation's vision and legacy of love -Dr. Caroline Fernandez
In a world filled with stress, anxiety, pressure and challenges children are growing confused, stressed and uncertain of who they are, what they want and where they are going.
Kids need to center and balance their life. They need a moment to STOP, think, breathe and care for themselves. Self-love, self-care, self-value are things that we forget and replace with the necessity to please others.
The Sean O'Shea Foundation provides children with the opportunity to make a much necessary STOP in their day. To break away from the pressure and gift themselves with a safe space to think.
The Sean O'Shea foundation offer classes that allow kids to carve one hour of their day to breath, meditate, think, and re-evaluate. It promotes friendship and values such as respect, honor, self-love, harmony and gratitude among others. I admire what they do because without SOSF some of these kids would not have the opportunity to sit on a yoga mat and practice this beautiful discipline.
The best part of this is that the children attending the SOSF classes are more likely to pass on that love, that gratitude and respect they learn to others. How amazing it would be that we could reach more children, teach more and more of them to love and respect others and themselves. That is exactly what our children need... Love and respect. Let's give them the opportunity to receive it and give it back.
Let's support the Sean O'Shea Foundation!
I have been a volunteer with the SOSF "Yoga for Kids with Cancer Program" since the fall of 2011. We have worked at Rady's Children's Hospital's Hematology/Oncology wing, with countless kids, their siblings and parents. The gratitude and smiles we get, even in the midst of extremely challenging situations for these families, are instant proof that we are making a positive difference. We have kids that are there for many weeks clamoring to do yoga, to moo and mieow, or simply to take some slow breaths and fall asleep even as they start the session feeling cranky or anxious. Kids from ages 3 to 18 learn and benefit from yoga and breathing techniques, which they also use during their procedures and care.
I have volunteered and served on the Board for two years. I have also been a staff teacher and CALM Kids teacher for the Foundation. Teaching mindfulness and breathing tequniques to children is a valuable tool. The majority of our young clients are over stressed. Our programs are designed to offer them peace and optimism. Whether Sean O'Shea Foundation teachers spend 15 minutes with them or an hour with them, the students learn coping skills to deal with stress. Our curriculum is well thought out and developed by school teachers, yoga teachers, nutritionists and psycologists. We strive to offer only the best programs to the schools and hospitals we serve- always adapting to their specific needs.
The Sean O Shea Foundation works with under privileged children teaching them about nutrition, mindfulness and body awareness. Studies show that yoga breath work consistently lowers stress levels in adults and children. The strategies taught by dedicated SOS Foundation teachers help their students improves their physical and emotional health.
This is such a great opportunity to share the benefits of yogas many positive aspects! From nutrition, promotion of mindfulness, to self confidence!
I've seen this organization grow from the beginning, and the wonders I've seen and experienced are mind blowing!!
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!!!
I have been involved with the Sean O'Shea Foundation since 2008, first as a volunteer, then as an instructor, and now as our Youth Program Coordinator.
I have seen our programs evolve from a 6-week intro to yoga to a menu that includes: year-long mat yoga and nutrition, incorporated into the school day; after-school mat yoga; yoga for kids with cancer and eating disorders at Rady Children's Hospital; yoga for youth in detention; and most recently, CALM Kids (Chair-based Activities for Learning Mindfulness) whose goal is to make classroom mindfulness practices sustainable by teaching both teachers and students simple principles of breathing, stretching and focused awareness.
Our programs target under-resourced schools and at-risk youth - demographics that would have a hard time affording traditional yoga or mindfulness programs. We have been able to do this thanks to generous donors, our community of "SOSF Ambassador" yoga studios, dedicated teachers who have a passion for bringing the physical, mental and emotional benefits of dynamic mindfulness practice to youth, and, not least, Gloria O'Shea, who created this foundation to continue the work of our namesake, Sean O'Shea. His spirit continues to inform our belief that all children can benefit from mindfulness as they learn and grow, so they can believe in and realize 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.