While living in Providence I saw huge disparities between what children were being offered in the side of town that I lived in ( over by Brown University where the funding for schools was better, the streets and parks well maintained, and the crime was less) and the other side of town.
The kids from “the other side of town” had less opportunity to play outside safely, engage in sports, and have educational opportunities outside of school. Fortunately, a non-profit organization called the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC) was started to offer kids just that: a safe place to play, exercise, learn, and have fun!
Through this incredible organization, the parks in the more neglected part of Providence began to turn around. Instead of being places where drug deals went down, now kids were biking, playing ultimate frisbee, and attending “Earth Day” events to learn about protecting their waterways.
Workking in conjunction with the WRWC, I started a program called Blossoming Buddhas to offer free yoga classes to the kids at Riverside Park. This multi-cultural, dynamic class celebrated natural wonder and creative self-expression through breathing practices, meditation, and yoga.
The program gave children a way of being in tune with their bodies and exploring their breath while simultaneously increasing flexibility, strength and balance. Children learn cooperation and trust through partner yoga and increase body awareness through yoga play. For 2 seasons I had so much fun working with these kids (and their parents). Though I have since left Providence, a yoga program still runs there every summer through WRWC.
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