The life skills we hope to instill in young children through Education For Life schools are useful tools for anyone. They are of particular importance, however, for teenagers and young adults as they venture out on their own. This is especially true for those who have had a difficult upbringing, or whose parents and caregivers were unable to provide them with the support they needed as they transition into adulthood.
One such group includes young adults who are aging out of the foster care program. For many of them, at the age of 18, their caregivers are no longer legally responsible for their care. In some cases this results in these young people being left without a home and without emotional and financial support. Many of them are unable to maintain themselves and end up on the streets or in trouble with the law.
Two yoga programs that work with young adults such as these are Uprising Yoga and Yoga for Youth. Each program teaches yoga and meditation to young adults who are incarcerated. For many of them, it is their first exposure to yoga and also their first experience learning about centering themselves and developing their strength from within. (Another important program that introduces yoga and inspiration to middle school students is Uplift Teen Yoga.)
Some of these young adults find that the yoga and meditation practice, that they are only just learning for the first time, is an important experience that they would like to continue. Once they are back on the streets, or back home in their usual environment, however, the support to continue a practice of yoga and meditation does not exist.
In our research we have seen transitional homes for young adults such as these. Though well intended, they often focus on only the minimum essential skills – stabilize the living situation, write a resume, interview for a job, get a job (any job), and stay out of trouble. Life, however, demands so much more.
Seva House proposes to provide a long term program that allows these young adults the opportunity to develop a much broader group of skills so necessary for a successful future. In addition to room and board, we would endeavor to provide educational and job skill training, training in all aspects of yoga and meditation, interpersonal skill development, relationship counseling, financial education, confidence building and problem solving skills.
As a nonprofit organization, Seva House expects to include other projects as part of the fullness of its services. These may include day programs for women in need and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a food pantry, a thrift store and other services to support the local community.
A possible site for Seva House turns out to be next door to the proposed World Peace Gardens on a 22 acre parcel that years ago used to be a group house. Now called Villa Triunfo the property includes about 9 buildings and 9 bedrooms and would be suitable for development of such a project.
1. Individuals and other organizations interested in helping to develop this project.