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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Sean O'Shea Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: 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

Results: The Foundation has offered these programs to thousands of children and hundreds of school teachers in the past and not one child has had to pay for these programs thanks to the friends & supporters of the Sean O’Shea Foundation. Programs: Yoga and nutrition for pregnant teens. Yoga for teen mom and babies Yoga and nutrtion for the Juvenile Court schools Partnering with Rady Children's Hospital (Yoga 4 Kids With Cancer and the Medical Behavior Unit) partnering with over 100 schools and organizations in San Diego and now reaching out to Los Angeles.

Target demographics: Low-income, at risk youth between the ages of 9-18 living in San Diego County and now serving Los Angeles County.

Direct beneficiaries per year: We serve approximately 1500 children and train hundreds of school teachers each year hoping to increase these numbers with fundraising and grants.

Programs: ~CALM Kids training for school teachers ~YEAR ROUND YOGA PROGRAM: This school-based program starts in the fall and includes our signature curriculum taught by our certified yoga teachers. After the initial seven weeks, a school representative is trained by the foundation to teach the weekly yoga practice for the rest of the school year. ~THE SEAN O’SHEA FOUNDATION MENTOR PROGRAM: The foundation can provide an experienced yoga mentor to all participating schools needing assistance or advice while instructing the program. ~YEAR ROUND YOGA & NUTRITION PROGRAM: This program contains all of the above and also includes a student body assembly on nutrition. Nutrition curriculum guides are provided to teachers who want to offer a weekly 15 minute nutrition lesson in their classroom. Z~CURRICULUM ORIENTATION/TRAINING: We offer an orientation and mini training for all volunteers, contracted yoga teachers and school representatives. Information covered includes: our seven-week curriculum, basic tips for working with at-risk youth, nutrition education, and foundation policies. Training is held twice a year.

Community Stories

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Natasha P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Jen D.1

Board Member

Rating: 5


The Sean O’Shea Foundation perfectly aligns with our mission at Zen Soul Balance - to empower youth through yoga, nutrition, and optimistic teachings that help to develop life skills. It is an honor to join forces and serve the community with this organization – enabling youth to take responsibility for their life, develop respect for themselves and others, and have confidence in their own potential. SOSF is making a positive impact on the world and we are grateful for the partnership!

Merce

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation deserves 5 stars! It exceeds all of our expectations. The Foundation continues to grow and create programs to help the youth in our community. The CALM chair program is one of the newer ones...and when we advertise on social media it is amazing how many responses we get back by educators, sports teams etc with how interested they are and want more information. The youth today are met with such pressure and anxiety in school and home. The Sean O'Shea Foundation is an amazing resource to allow the kids to relax, stretch the body, and balance their thoughts...it allows their hearts, mind and body to be calm and take a breathe. It gives them strength to move onto the next endeavor. I highly recommend checking out the Sean O'Shea Foundation website and especially the videos on the website.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the most beneficial organizations around. Teaching kindness, patience, nutrition, mindfulness...and so much more. The Sean O'Shea Foundation makes a difference in the lives of of youth today. The art to breathe through anxiety or frustration and be able to relax the mind at such a young age.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member and volunteer yoga teacher for the Sean O'Shea Foundation, I have seen the huge positive impact this organization has on at-risk youth in our community. I've seen first hand, increases in empathy and compassion, developing habits of pausing and reflecting before reacting to stress and negative situations and a deep understanding of how the nutritional choices kids make impact their short and long term health.

Rebecca101

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation is so valuable to at-risk youth and children with cancer. I have volunteered in classrooms and, in the hospital, for their program "yoga for kids with cancer". This foundation provides teachings of mindfulness, nutrition and health (physically and mentally), to children and their families. SOSF is making a difference in our community and the lives of the many children and families that are able to access it. I am so thankful to be a part of this fabulous nonprofit.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This foundation is amazing. I have taught for them in the classroom and at Rady's Children's Hospital. I have seen first hand the value in teaching yoga and nutrition. It effects and changes the lives of students, young children with cancer and their families. The skills that children learn through this program are priceless. They learn how to be mindful, thoughtful and peaceful while also learning how to incorporate a yoga practice in their lives. I am so lucky to be part of a foundation, which has such high expectations and goals, with the intention to teach children valuable life skills that they can practice and continue learn.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

The work that our organization does is so important for our community! With all the stress & pressures kids have to face today, the gift of mindfulness is priceless! Proud to be a part of such a beautiful organization.

Miho G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer yoga teacher for the Sean O'Shea Foundation for almost 10 years. I have taught kids yoga to at-risk students at various elementary and middle schools. I also taught yoga at a juvenile court school for several years. Through yoga, young students are able to learn life skills to cope with stress and anxiety which are prevalent in today's school environment. Through many years of teaching, I have seen positive changes in children. When they relax their body and calm their mind, they are able to get in touch with true inner self and realize they are simply awesome!! Thus, their self-esteem and confidence increase and they are better able to face challenges in their lives. I am looking forward to many more years contributing to the Sean O'Shea foundation.

sjmerch

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that is dedicated to helping children through schools and teaching teachers techniques in mindfulness which they can practice with students. When I first learned how the foundation was helping children in underprivileged communities, my first thought was I wish I had this when I was growing up. Also, that these practices will benefit all of our children. The nutrition and mindful practices go hand in hand to healthier happier children. Please support this foundation and make a difference in our community and the lives of the many children that have access to it.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation is one of those rare non-profits which benefits the children it was intended to serve beyond the financial contributions that it receives. This is possible because the men and women who serve give of themselves in a selfless way that exemplifies the person the foundation was created to memorialize. Sean O'shea was a kind, compassionate and giving person who lived with his heart and was a brilliant connector and communicator. Although there are many great causes, the Sean O'Shea Foundation brings something to children that they all need - A opportunity to learn self-worth and self-respect through mindfulness and nutrition education. I highly recommended other who want to be part of something bigger than themselves and a trusted community organization, to support the Sean O'Shea Foundation.

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Liz F.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked with SOSF board members and educators to develop and teach SOSF's CALM Kids program. I so appreciate everyone's unwavering commitment to making a mindfulness practice accessible to those kids who need it most. We work with school teachers, helping them get comfortable with talking about and teaching mindfulness through breathing, stretching and centering practices. I've been teaching a six-week CALM Kids class in a North County school that serves a low-income demographic. Teachers have shared that their classroom is more manageable, and the kids tell me each time how calm and peaceful they feel after our 15 minute practice. This week, before spring break, the kindergartners gave me a big group hug! Making mindfulness a habit is a simple, effective way to increase connection, participation, self-worth and performance. The Sean O'Shea Foundation is a grass roots, hands-on non-profit that is making a long-term difference in the lives of kids, schools and communities it touches!

Previous Stories

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.

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ArynBZZ

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so proud of our organization: The Sean O'Shea Foundation. As both a board member and a Foundation teacher, I know how hard we work in the community to share our mindfulness programs with kids. Our CALM Kids program is designed to support classroom teachers in giving a "mindful break" to their students. We encourage breathing and gentle seated exercises to help students calm their bodies and reset their attention so they can be better learners. Further, we have teachers at Rady's Children's Hospital teaching yoga to children who have cancer and working with youth in the Behavioral Unit, plus teachers working at a San Diego juvenile hall. The responses we receive from our students, their parents and their teachers inspire us to continue our work. We encourage students to be confident, respectful, healthy and responsible for their life actions.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

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Finian O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

With all the maddness going around these days, its great to see an organization like this focus on young youth. Their ability to concentrate on focus, mindfulness, physical and mental health, as well as healthy eating practices are all powerful tools that need to be reinforced in todays society!

Please look for yourself!!

Previous Stories

Advisor

Rating: 5

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!!

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been pleased to work very closely with The Sean O Shea Foundation for the past 7 years. These passionate yogis provide free yoga sessions for children undergoing chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants at our local children's hospital. I am continually awed at the skill and compassion of The Sean o Shea volunteers. This valuable service benefits the children and their families by easing their anxiety and pain, increasing energy and improving sleep and overall quality of life. But mostly the program provides valuable tools for self care that will last a lifetime. Heartfelt gratitude to this remarkable foundation.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation is a phenomenal organization and the work they do is truly miraculous! I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner caring for children with cancer and their families here in San Diego. Thankfully cure rates have increased dramatically; today a child with cancer has over an 80% chance of cure! Although the treatments are highly effective they come with numerous side effects including nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain and disruption in sleep patterns. This is where the gifted Sean O Shea yoga volunteers come in. Over the last 8 years these dedicated volunteers visit our patients and their families three times per week offering private individualized yoga sessions tailored to the specific needs of the patient and family. The volunteers provide a very relaxed mindful environment enabling the families to fully benefit from the yoga practice. Families report a sense of calm and peace that lasts long after the yoga session is complete. Many of the troubling side effects of treatment are greatly alleviated. Patients consistently report less pain and anxiety along with less nausea. They report better sleep quality and overall improved quality of life. The volunteers equip the families with these tools to continue their yoga practice in between the sessions thereby empowering them in their fight against this disease. It is my deepest hope that these special patients grow up to be Yogi's for life! My heart is filled with deep gratitude for all of the special Sean O Shea volunteers who have touched our families at the most difficult part of their lives

Marie74

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The level of impact provided by the Sean O'Shea Foundation is truly beyond words. From elementary schools to hospitals to juvenile detention centers, the message of mindfulness, harmony, and self-care provided by the foundation extends far beyond even one lesson. Additionally, the CALM Kids program empowers school administration and staff to ensure these integral messages are shared in hundreds of classrooms (if not more). The work being done on behalf of the foundation is powerful, visible, and necessary in order for a society to be not just a society, but a community.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attendees yoga classes with Sean O'Shea. He was an extraordinary presence on earth who spirit continues to touch the lives of our youth through this foundation. In teaching for this organization I was moved at how valuable it was to offer this to high risk and high need children. I highly recommend any participation in helping fulfill their mission!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been a great pleasure & truly rewarding to serve the children of our future in a positive way through yoga, mindfulness, & nutrition. To witnesss their transformation through the practice is a priceless gift - they are learning how to center & take care of themselves in a more loving way. I am excited for our future when I look into their eyes & know they have received the right tools through the Sean O'Shea Foundation to get through the rollercoaster that is life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!
Ana

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.