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Meet Shakur

Shakur is an active and valued member of our community. He is a part of our Yoga Teacher Training at State Correctional Institute - Phoenix, where he is exploring how yoga and mindfulness can create joy and ease in his life and others.

He’s also invovled with four other orgnaizations that seek to build bridges that overcome the walls of prisons. He’s a true believer in the importance of support, whether it is through engaging youth, to preparing peers for the reentry process, to coordinating volunteers with the community within.

Here’s what Shakur had to share with us -

This is Shakur’s favorite motto. Words that he lives by and embodies. His loyalty to his community is felt and his desire to positively support makes an impact.

This is Shakur’s favorite motto. Words that he lives by and embodies. His loyalty to his community is felt and his desire to positively support makes an impact.

What groups/organizations are you involved with?

  • NAACP - Phoenix brach.

  • Real Street Talk - talking to at-risk youth about how to change their understanding concerning the culture of street crime. The ideology is to direct their behavior towards positive outcomes - with a focus on entrepreneurial success.

  • People Advancing Reintegration (PAR) - to reduce recidivism through (PHX) pre-eminent systematic reintegration process. Our innovative course is designed and led by qualified incarcerated citizens and dedicated volunteers. We advance our graduates successful re-entry into society by providing reliable community support as a standard PAR practice.

  • Resident Volunteer Corps (WFG) - our mission is to formalize and professionalize the volunteer effort. Our ethos is to work for good by engaging with others in concerning, helpful, respectful and genuine ways.

What inspires you?

Learning at least one thing each day to make me happy and others around me happy. Sometimes just a smile can make a difference in our lives.

What do you hope to inspire in others?

To look at each day as an experience of joy and happiness, and share these same feelings of joviality with others.

What would you like to share with the larger community?

That we survive through each others social cooperation of communal understanding of responsibilities, values, and morality.

What would you like to share with the younger folks?

History is a reflection of events that help us understand were we are now, and realization of our path leading into the future.

How has community shown up for you?

Given me a strong sense of values and moral principles to guide me through the course of life. No matter what path I chose to take - those were my choices - but the principles instilled in me from my community are ingrained for life.

How have you shown up for your community?

By not wavering in their principles in guiding each generation with the same values and moral as they gave me.

What, if anything, has YTT added to your sense of community?

It would be more appropriate to say; we work in a communal gathering to share experiences of comfort and ease from an ancient practice to help those achieve a sense of purpose of joy within the practice of spiritual, mindfulness and physical therapy.

Learn more about our Yoga Teacher Training on StartSomeGood. If you feel connected, or compelled, to support the individuals as they become certified yoga teachers, please make a pledge! A ripple effect of transformation happens when we realize were all connected and can share in healing.

VISIT OUR CROWDFUNDING PAGE ON STARTSOMEGOOD. HELP US RAISE $10,000 TO COVER THE BAREBONES COST OF YTT.

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Meet Stan Rosenthal

Stan Rosenthal is a part of our 200 - hour Yoga Teacher Training at State Correctional Institute - Phoenix. In addition, Stan is involved with many other organizations including: Lifers, Inc., National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, LACEO, Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI), Decarcerate PA, Inside/Out, Mural Arts, and the Jewish Congregation.

Stan wanted to share and connect with you all, our community, in order to help build a bridge that transcends separation between people who are incarcerated and those on the outside. Here is what Stan had so say -

What inspires you?

Identifying a need and trying to strategize ways to meet that need.

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What would you like to share with the larger community?

Different messages from different communities.

What would you like to share with younger folks?

It is easier to do the right thing while young. Don’t use drugs while your brain is developing. There are natural ways to expand your mind, drugs only inhibit thought & creativity.

How has community shown up for you?

No US citizen navigates life without community involvement. More often than not, if I participate & contribute to a community, they are supporters of my efforts. For example, the Jewish community (that I am a part of) has been volunteering since the days of Eastern Penitentiary (when it was being used actively to incarcerate individuals).

How have you shown up for your community?

I have held office in our Jewish community of and on for 31 years. I have always filled the void when no one volunteered for a task or position. I maintain contact & involvement with the men inside and the volunteers outside.

What if anything has YTT added to your sense of community?

Now that I am forced to be free of administrative tasks I am thankful to be free at the perfect time to participate in the training. I am extremely fortunate to be able to be proactive & learn yoga w/my yoga family: Bri, Colleen, Jim, Frank & Mike.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

I’m too free spirited to be guided by a favorite quote or motto. Life is fluid and my favorite quotes/mottos change according to what is happening in my life at that time.

Learn more about our Yoga Teacher Training on StartSomeGood. If you feel connected, or compelled, to support the individuals as they become certified yoga teachers, please make a pledge! A ripple effect of transformation happens when we realize were all connected and can share in healing.

VISIT OUR CROWDFUNDING PAGE ON STARTSOMEGOOD. Help us raise $10,000 to cover the barebones cost of YTT.

Thank you for supporting people who are incarcerated as they learn tools and techniques that can help them transform their lives but also their communities as well! Together, we can all make a difference.


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Meet Hasaan

Hasaan is two months into his Yoga Teacher Certification while he is incarcerated at State Correctional Institute - Phoenix in Pennsylvania. He’s one of the 25 men who are a part of our third 200-hour Yoga Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training offered in correctional institutions.

As part of our March Justice Month campaign to bring awareness, create connection and build community, Hasaan wanted to shared his own personal manifesto with you all. Hasaan’s been incarcerated since he was 23 and is serving a life sentence without parole. He views his time spent in the justice system as one of redemption — one in which he is actively pursuing positive, transformational experiences.

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Here’s what he wrote -

Lewis Hassan Stern is the fifth born of seven children raised by his mother and stepfather. They both promoted a close knit family structure. He began pre-grade schooling at E.M. Stanton School in South Philadelphia, in the early 1970s. He dropped out of South Philadelphia High School in the 10th grade. His mother was a home body while his stepfather was the primary financial source for their family. His stepfather was a hard worker and an entrepreneur. He once owned a produce truck, a used furniture store, worked for the Philadelphia Housing Authority and he was a neighborhood numbers writer (Street Lottery).

The numbers game was never looked at as a crime in his neighborhood — it provided an avenue for hope for the economically deprived. By the age of 14, Hasaan had thoroughly learned the numbers game from his parents. Unbeknownst to them, he started a nickel and dime numbers book with those on his Philadelphia Tribune paper route.

In 1978, he was shot and robbed by some guys in the neighborhood. He had to wear a colostomy bag for almost two years before he recovered. Despite a promise that he made to himself that he was not going to return to the numbers game, a few years later he returned.

On May 16, 1987 approximately at 3:00 A.M. it was like deja vu he was accosted in gun-point robbery by three individuals in South Philadelphia. Overwhelmed by fear, he pulled his own weapon and shot one of the armed men to death. He surrendered to the authorities shortly after the incident. At trial he pleaded guilty by reason of self-defense. Unfortunately, he was convicted of 1st degree murder by a jury.

Upon arriving at Graterford in 1988 he was immature and believed that the world existed only through his limited perception. This all changed in 1997. His mother once asked him what was his political party affiliation. He could not answer the question because he lacked the knowledge to properly define the difference between political parties. It was at this point that he realized he lacked a world-view. His mother and his fellow peers convinced him that he should step forward and earn his G.E.D.

Between 1995-1998 he took the G.E.D. test 4 times and failed at each conjuncture. He became discouraged and contemplated many times abandoning the whole idea of obtaining a G.E.D. Nonetheless, despite feeling overwhelmed and dispirited he continued down what he considers to be an arduous road.

Here are Hasaan’s Accomplishments and Acknowledgments

  • 1992 - 1995: Plumbing/Steam-pipe fitting at SCI-Western

  • 1995: LIFER’S Membership (current)

  • 1998 : Obtained G.E.D.

  • 1999: Musical Achievements: Music Transposition/Bass Guitar

  • 1999 - 2003: Pennsylvania Runathon Coordinator at SCI - Grat.

  • 2000: Accepted into Villanova University/Part Time Studies

  • 2001: Certificates in Sports Nutrition (37.7 hours), Essentials in Strength (37.7 hours) and Exercise & Arthritis (37.7 hours)

  • 2003: Completed PADOC Citizenship Program

  • 2005: Certificate: Temple University Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (12 weeks)

  • 2006: Member Villanova Alumni Association/SCI-Graterford

  • 2013: Certificate: PADOC Violence Prevention Program

  • 2016: Bachelor of Arts & Science Degree from Villanova University (17 year achievement)

  • 2018: Yoga Instructor Certification (in progress) - 200 hour/Transformation Yoga Project

  • 2018: NAACP Membership

  • 2018: Villanova University Alumni Blk Rep./Graterford Chapter

  • 2018: Certificate: Alternatives to Violence Project

  • 2018: Certificate- Advanced Alternative to Violence Project

  • 2019: Certificate - Alternative to Violence Project Facilitator

“I pray that my story of Redemption can encourage those who feel the world upon their backs and believe they are confined to surfing the waves of their past. Every individual can have a positive and rightful place in this world, it is up to us to sift through the good versus bad. Once we find that positive grounding we will know instinctively that this is our movement to shine and to move forward.” - Hasaan

Learn more about our Yoga Teacher Training on StartSomeGood. If you feel connected, or compelled, to support the individuals as they become certified yoga teachers, please make a pledge! A ripple effect of transformation happens when we realize were all connected and can share in healing.

VISIT OUR CROWDFUNDING PAGE ON STARTSOMEGOOD. 

Thank you for connecting and making our community stronger! - the TYP team

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Meet 3GP

3GP is one of 25 individuals training to become a Certified Yoga Instructor at State Correctional Institute - Phoenix with us.

We are grateful to have 3GP as a community member of our third 200-hour Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) at a Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute. 3GP wanted to contribute to our effort to connect, in order to build a bridge between those inside and those outside, and took some time to answer questions for us.

Here’s what 3GP had to say:

According to 3GP, this motto is “simple, yet complex.” 3GP says, “ In short its basically stating to be aware and mindful of that, that IS. Not that, that was, nor that that will be but that, that IS. That , that is, is this very moment, the present. This present moment is the shaping of .”

According to 3GP, this motto is “simple, yet complex.” 3GP says, “In short its basically stating to be aware and mindful of that, that IS. Not that, that was, nor that that will be but that, that IS. That , that is, is this very moment, the present. This present moment is the shaping of .”

How has community shown up for you?

Well I can only speak upon this spiritually, where the spiritual world came to me. I’ve come to know and embrace the law of synchronicity. Books on meditation and yoga keep coming to me and being given to me from the most unlikely sources, whom most often stated they’ve never read it but felt it was for me.

How have you shown up for your community?

Unfortunately yet very fortunately I was placed in solitary confinement for a couple years where I truly started this inner journey and transformation. Now I have been given the opportunity to learn the essential skills to train and instruct others! I truly believe that my choosing and progressing upon this path aids the community as a whole on all levels. I feel by harnessing the ability to adequately instruct others I am answering the call to better serve the people that I am blessed to come in contact with.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by tenacity. By those that challenge and overcome the odds before them to become better beings for themselves as well as for mankind as a whole. I am inspired by the tenaciousness of the yogis and ancients for pushing the illusion of limitations. It is my hope and wish to inspire others to a health conscious way of life, to challenge the boundaries of limitation illusions to love and compassion towards all sentient beings.

To my sisters and brothers of the world, strive for love and compassion. All are redeemable. No matter one’s past failures, shortcomings, or mistakes. One can always rise above them and change their state of being, elevating their consciousness to create beneficial waves in this world that ripples through the universe. One’s errors should not totally dnin them. Ones recognizing their errors or overcoming them, elevating their consciousness and the world around them should. It is our duty to strive to improve daily, to be better today than we was yesterday.

What would you like to share with younger folks?

I would like to share with the young folk that you are never alone. No matter how dark and lonely things may seem to be getting or seem to be. You are not alone. No matter how hard a situation may be you are not alone. Know that all that is set before you, you are able to transcend. There is nothing that you cannot achieve. You are stronger and more powerful than you may realize at this present moment. You are not alone in this for we are there with you always. You are ot the only one for we have walked in these same shoes once upon a time and still do. For we are you. You are not alone.

If you will permit, allow me to share with you something I wrote in one of my personally dark moments, Its called “ancestry”:

What happens to the love of family through any and all situations,afflictions, and adversities…. Eternal comradity, forged within the blood (spirit) of ancestry!?

What is family… that it can’t hear it’s own blood (spirit) screaming out from the darkness of longing and despair… the terror of one’s soul being devoured, filled with sleepless nightmares.

Left in a state of desolation, decaying away the sense of you, you as i … she and he… we as one… family! Never shall i forsake the blood (spirit) of Ancestry.

To all who have read this we are one family, ancestors descended from the Divine MotherFater. We are one though meditation and yogic practices. You will see this, feel this, know this, discovering and realizing a wonder of things. As well as receive the guidance and aid you need and seek to succeed in your life’s journey.


Learn more about our Yoga Teacher Training on StartSomeGood. If you feel connected, or compelled, to support the individuals as they become certified yoga teachers, please make a pledge! A ripple effect of transformation happens when we realize were all connected and can share in healing.



Visit Our Crowdfunding Page on StartSomeGood.


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