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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 nearly 2000 children in the past two years and not one child has had to pay for these programs thanks to the friends & supporters of the Sean O’Shea Foundation...New program for 2010 & 2011: 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 Healthy coaches program partnering with over 45 schools 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 per year and hoping to increase these numbers with fundraising and grants.

Programs: 1). SIGNATURE SEVEN WEEK YOGA AND NUTRITION PROGRAM: Our signature seven-week program is offered at the school once a week for one hour before, during or after school. The curriculum includes basic yoga poses as well as nutrition and eco-awareness concepts. Mats, blocks, straps, and supplies are supplied by the foundation. 2). 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. 3). 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. NUTRITION ASSEMBLIES: Our nutrition educators present a 30-45 minute nutrition lesson which includes tips for healthier eating habits, nutritional value on calorie intake, an overview of the food groups, and the medical risks of obesity. PowerPoint and hand visuals are used. 4). 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. 5). KIDS HELPING KIDS YOGA: This weekly donation-only yoga class is offered for young people ages 12-17. The class is held every Tuesday from 4-5pm at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Carlsbad.

Community Stories

104 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.

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!

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

sjmerch

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation exemplifies a nonprofit dedicated to the cause of helping children breakdown barriers in there lives and strive for their best potential. The Foundation uses yoga, nutrition education and mindfulness practices which can effectively be taught to groups of children in a cost-efficient class setting and have the big impact that so many of us have experienced in our own lives. This education is life-changing for many children and the foundation goes to the schools that need it the most. I have personally seen the passion and dedication that the members of this foundation have put forth, to make this a hugely successful endeavor and a wonderful testimony to the good life Sean O'Shea lived.

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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.

ArynBZZ

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Finian O.

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!!

Previous Stories

Advisor

Rating: 5

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!!!

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Liz F.

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.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

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Slfenske

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea foundation is a great non-profit ...teaching our future generations to be more mindful!! I am behind their intention 100%!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I feel so honored to aid in continuing Sean O'Shea's vision of empowering at-risk youth to their full potential. I crossed paths with the Sean O'Shea foundation when I meet Gloria O'Shea when we were taking our yoga teacher training program together. The past 3 years I have been able to watch this non-profit grow and blossom. We are always evolving; currently we started a Nutrition committee which I am co-chair. We are updating our nutrition and yoga programs yearly with new perspectives and wisdom. I work as a yoga teacher and Clinical Registered Dietitian and am so grateful to also be a part of SOSF because they are changing the lives of the children. Mindfulness and proper nutrition is priceless knowledge. Prevention is key and to help educate children and reduce their risk of nutrition related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease is so rewarding!! Way to go SOSF!!

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HeatherGraff

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean O'Shea Foundation empowers youth through nutrition, yoga and mindfulness practices, giving youth important tools needed to self-regulate and manage their feelings constructively. Benefits include calmer classrooms and better grades.

It is a privilege and an honor to serve on the BOD of the Sean O'Shea Foundation.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

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Merce

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.

Previous Stories

Former staff

Rating: 5

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!

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Susan541

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member and volunteer with the Sean O'Shea Foundation for 3 years. I've had the privilege of seeing first hand how the yoga, mindfulness and nutrition programs the Foundation provides for at-risk youth and the highly engaged teachers and volunteers have an incredible positive impact on the population they serve. 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.

Aryn R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.”

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