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Holistic Life Foundation

SAVE NOVEMBER 2 and 3 for the 16 hour “Yoga and Mindfulness for Youth Training” in New York City at Three Jewels. Details to follow.

The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence based programs and curriculum to improve community well-being.

FOUNDERS

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Ali Smith

Ali Smith co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation in 2001, where he currently serves as Executive Director. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park, receiving a BS in Environmental Science and Policy with a Biodiversity specialization.  He has over 15 years of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations. Through his work at the Holistic Life Foundation he has helped develop and pilot yoga and mindfulness programs at public and private schools, drug treatment centers, juvenile detention centers, mental crisis facilities, and retreat centers, nationally and internationally.  Ali has authored a series of children’s books, and co-authored several yoga and mindfulness based curriculum’s, as well as developed numerous workshops and training’s. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications.

Atman Smith

Atman Smith is a Co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, where he served as Director of Youth Programming for ten years Director of Fundraising for five years and currently serves as the Director of Development. Since 2001, he has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to a diverse population including underserved and high-risk youth in Baltimore City Public Schools, drug treatment centers, wellness centers, and colleges. A native of Baltimore, Atman attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he was a letter award winner for the University’s men's basketball team. He graduated with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications.

Andres Gonzalez

Andres Gonzalez has been the Co-Founder and Marketing Director for the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. in Baltimore, MD since 2001.  For sixteen years, Andres has taught yoga to diverse populations throughout the world, including Baltimore City Public School students, drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, wellness centers, colleges, private schools and other various venues throughout the nation and throughout the world. He has partnered with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and the Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a Stress and Relaxation Study and is a published author in the Journal of Children’s Services. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications.  He is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, maintains a B.S. in Marketing from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College

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Program Overview

It has always been the belief of the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF) that the best solutions to community problems are home grown. Many underserved, disenfranchised youth have a desire to support and uplift their communities, but when faced with a lack of skills, resources, and opportunities, are left feeling frustrated, hopeless, and helpless.  

In Baltimore, the Holistic Life Foundation has been able to provide training, support, and opportunity to this population to make individual and systemic change in communities and schools. HLF has an extensive history in Baltimore empowering, training, and employing over fifty, 18 to 24-year-old youth and providing them with the chance to bring mindfulness to a myriad of demographics.

Offerings

16 Hour Yoga and Mindfulness for Youth Training

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(Scope: 16 hours)
Through a combination of practice, lectures, discussions, and exercises, participants learn yoga, breathing and centering exercises, mindfulness practices, and meditations. Participants learn youth engagement principles, teaching philosophies, and strategies for working with “problem” or “hard-to-reach” youth, while exploring methods to make the whole approach practical and, most of all, fun.

This training will show participants how to teach yoga and mindfulness to all demographics of youth including those labeled as high-risk and hard-to-reach youth. Gaining a deeper understanding of the needs of youth from diverse environments and learning new yoga and mindfulness skills to help fulfill these needs are the primary goals of this training.
Audience: all ages.

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Satellite Initiative

It has always been the belief of the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF) that the best solutions to community problems are home grown. Many underserved, disenfranchised youth have a desire to support and uplift their communities, but when faced with a lack of skills, resources, and opportunities, are left feeling frustrated, hopeless, and helpless.  

In Baltimore, the Holistic Life Foundation has been able to provide training, support, and opportunity to this population to make individual and systemic change in communities and schools. HLF has an extensive history in Baltimore empowering, training, and employing over fifty, 18 to 24-year-old youth and providing them with the chance to bring mindfulness to a myriad of demographics.

In 2014 HLF facilitated a small pilot expansion of this program in Charlottesville, Virginia, training sixteen, 18 to 24-year-old young people to facilitate mindfulness at the Charlottesville Boys and Girls Club and in their communities. In its first year of programming, the mindfulness program received many accolades including winning the award for Outstanding Health and Life Skills Program for Virginia/DC Boys and Girls Clubs. Mindfulness is still being facilitated at the club and has served over 7,500 youth.

Learning from that initial pilot in Charlottesville and developing best practices in leadership development and training in Baltimore HLF is now launching its HLF Mindful Leaders Satellite initiative.  HLF will select cities for this initiative where they can identify strong community partners. In conjunction with partners in selected cities, HLF will identify fifteen youth to train to become Mindful Leaders. HLF’s co-founders will provide 80 hours of yoga and mindfulness training to the Mindful Leaders cohort. HLF senior staff will spend one year living in that city facilitating mindfulness and yoga programs in schools and in the community, while providing mentorship to the Mindful Leaders. The Mindful Leaders will receive training from HLF’s co-founders, serve in apprenticeship role to HLF senior staff, and visit Baltimore to see programs in action. HLF’s success in teaching mindfulness and yoga practices across the globe is due to the professionalism, skill level, and authenticity their instructors embody through having a personal practice. One of the requirements for Mindful Leaders is to practice daily with the HLF senior staff, to develop the authenticity and skill to be a highly effective pillar of change in the community through the use of mindfulness and yoga.  The Mindful Leaders will be paid for their time attending trainings so that it can be a priority and focus.

In each city selected for the HLF Mindful Leaders Satellite initiative, HLF will also identify a Program Coordinator. This person will be responsible for coordinating all logistics around the Mindful Leaders teaching in schools and in the community. They will be responsible for developing relationships with schools and community organizations, to set up mindfulness programs for the Mindful Leaders to facilitate. The first 6 months of the Mindful Leaders wages will be covered through the program, this will give the Program Coordinator the opportunity to obtain contracts for them to facilitate programs. This will provide long term financial sustainability for the initiative covering the Mindful Leaders’ wages and other administrative costs associated with the initiative.

Mindful Alternative to Suspension Room Training

(Scope: 20 hours, curriculum support, bi-monthly follow-up for mentoring and assessment)
Description: Based on the Holistic Life Foundation's Mindful Moment program that went viral for "turning detention to meditation". Participants learn to set-up and implement the Mindful Alternative to Suspension Rooms where students in crisis can come for 15 to 20 minutes to receive individual assistance with emotional self-regulation through mindfulness techniques. They also learn what supplies to  purchase, how to construct the room, the documenting and referral process, mindfulness practices to use with the students, teaching the practices in a trauma informed manor, and how to set up a Mindful Ambassador program. Participants also receive all support and reporting documents. 

Learn more at https://hlfinc.org.

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