The UCLA Volunteer Center Fellows are proud to award Yoga for Flexible Futures with the Winter 2015 Mongelli Award for Excellence and Civic Engagement.
Founded in 2010 by four undergraduate students, Yoga for Flexible Futures aims to teach students with low socioeconomic status about yoga, health and nutrition. Each week, they aspire to get kids excited about transitioning towards healthier and more active lifestyles. Though the club has worked with a variety of organizations, YFF’s main service site is the UCLA Community School in Koreatown, where they hold lessons for 2nd to 5th graders every Monday afternoon from 2-5pm.
Each lesson revolves around a theme, which ranges from Superheroes to National Parks and everything in between. The theme guides the introduction and health intention for the week, a reminder to the students about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and having a positive attitude in all areas of their lives. This is followed by an immersive yoga class, which is often a storyline of poses relating to the theme. The breathing and yoga techniques are accompanied by explanations of how these skills can be utilized outside of the program in the students’ everyday lives. Finally, each yoga seminar ends with a few minutes of silent meditation followed by a healthy snack and a related nutrition lesson.
YFF currently has 22 members from varying backgrounds who alternate attending the site each week, working with a group of 20 elementary school students. Some members did not have any yoga experience before joining the club, while others started their yoga practice at an early age. Three members are even Yoga Alliance certified instructors, and a handful of members attended a childrens yoga teacher training program through Miniyogis. Within their organization, members enjoy sharing their views on healthy lifestyles, conscious living, and the benefits of yoga and meditation for coping with stress.
YFF President Alexandra Onea explains that her favorite part of being involved in the organization is seeing the kids become more responsive to ideas of health and mindfulness over time as they learn more each week. YFF inspires her because it helps to connect different parts of the Los Angeles community. Onea believes that UCLA students too easily forget about about the huge and diverse community that they are a part of here in LA. Through YFF’s collaboration with the UCLA Community School, the group links two worlds in a way that is tremendously beneficial for both parties involved.
For their commitment to mentoring and wellness, the UCLA Volunteer Center Fellows have chosen Yoga for Flexible Futures as one of the recipients of the Winter 2014 Mongelli Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement.
Yoga for Flexible Futures will be recruiting in the near future for both leadership and membership positions. An informational training session will be taking place in the beginning of Spring Quarter. For more information about Yoga for Flexible Futures and a link to their membership application, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YogaforFlexibleFutures or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.