YoGirls Program

YoGirls Program

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Last Update: October 8, 2012

YoGirls Program provides a modern literature and wellness course for young minority girls to both prevent and recover from academic and socio-emotional injustices.

Stage (1) is currently underway and consists of doctoral research and free workshops: How will the literature of yoga and mindfulness encourage healthy psychological and physical development- with a focus on alleviating stereotype threat anxiety- for female minority youth in grades 7-12?

Stage (2) incorporates marketing and seminars to underprivileged school districts to recruit scholars in need.

Stage (3) involves building an intimate, safe, and accessible studio where students can be immersed into a FREE year-long course, as well as Global Student Excursions and Summer Beauty Camp.

Type: citizen sector

The Problem

Stereotype Threat Anxiety and overall poor physical and mental wellness are very real and pressing issues in the education of young minority girls today. The effects of these detriments to opportunity range from poor test scores to pregnancy and drug use. There needs to be an educational curriculum and safe after school space to not necessarily change society’s views, but to help students alter their response to victimization and their own distorted self-perceptions.

The Solution

One solution to decreasing STA in young minority girls is to immerse them in a literature of positive and progressive psychology. The yogic texts offer a similar model for growth as does Dr. Robert Kegan's Immunity to Change, thereby posing the possibility of yoga literature and philosophy for STA healing and prevention. A year-long, fully funded after school program based on this research for young minority girls will guide them in the areas of mental development, anxiety reduction, increased test scores, critical thinking, and physical fitness.


(1) Girls leave their community for 2 hours a day during the school week, thus already alleviating some anxiety associated with violent neighborhoods and learned behaviors. (2) These students take 1 hour of yoga, reaping the mental benefits of healthy cardiovascular activity as well as brain stimulation via meditation. (3) For the next hour, the girls engage in an English class that focuses on Eastern literature-- emphasizing self-authorship, non-violence, and open mindedness. (4) Lessons are aligned to state standards, so students are tracked weekly to ensure their progress in the program as well as their local school. (5) Before going home, students receive healthy snacks and discussions and/or workshops on topics ranging from body image to healthy eating.

Budget: $100,000 - $250,000


My peers are both the New York City schools as well as the yoga communities in all surrounding neighborhoods. In the field of creating a free program for minority youth there really should not be a need for competition, so I have already partnered wth alternative programs such as MyBeauty because our vision of helping an underpriviliged population is one in the same. I suspect my challenges to be presenting a technical and complicated piece of research in a way that all communities can understand, and also getting enough funding to build a safe space for these young girls to participate in an exciting and effective course.

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We need funds for school supplies, supplementary curriculum materials, technology, and marketing items so that our incoming 2013-2014 class is well prepared.

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