2019 has been a year full of memorable moments as we put our mission into action. We asked our team members to reflect on what made this past year so special.

I am so grateful that we have donors whose generosity has enabled us to continue our program for the youth at Lima Detention Center in Delaware County for the third year in a row. This is only possible because of DONORS, as the facility does not have funds to cover our programming.  During 2018, Lima admitted 504 youth between the ages of 10 and 18, for various length stays. Our wonderful TYP instructor was able to offer trauma sensitive yoga to these youth during what is clearly an exceptionally turbulent time in their lives.
– Kate Ferris, Executive Director

My mission moment of 2019 was our contribution to the Recovery 360 Conference in July where we led two Yoga for Recovery classes, as well as exhibited. We received many wonderful comments about the yoga practice, as it was an opportunity for conference attendees to try out trauma-sensitive practices first-hand. Overall, it was a great experience to be able to extend this educational opportunity to recovery professionals and share how integral yoga and mindfulness can be to the work they do.
– Mike Huggins, Founder Board of Directors

A big mission moment was when we came together as a team to articulate our values and shared vision; the experience of reflecting, dreaming, and co-creating was so special to me. It meant so much to dig deep into ourselves and feel into the shared foundation that brings us to this work, and I feel stronger knowing that that shared foundation is holding us up and supporting us as we navigate the challenges of this work.
– Katy Kopnitsky, Youth Facilitator and Grant Writer

The communities and connections that we are able to build with our instructor team within the State Correctional Institutions will always be the most powerful and impactful thing for me. It has changed my life and inspires me to strive to be a better person each day. I carry our instructors with me and the community that we have built together. Together we are shaping the world, one circle at a time!
– Brianne Murphy, Director of Justice & Reentry Services

In 2019 we hosted our second youth training and welcomed many different professionals into a shared experience of learning, reflecting and affirming our responsibilities to young folks in our community. It was really enjoyable to be together with people who have different expertise, experience, frameworks, training, and to feel that wide web being applied to the shared goal of supporting young people to be their fullest selves.

YTT was a highlight of the year, and in particular to see the arc that the group took over the year – they began in January 2019 and the group really brought together so many skill sets and many trainees were already deeply involved in community work that aligns with ours, then they completed their training over the summer, graduates are now teaching, many are supporting the JAC, and all of them are gifts to our community. I feel so fortunate to have crossed paths with the folks in that training group. I have learned so much from them and have formed friendships that I know will continue to enrich my life in the years to come.
– Katy Kopnitsky

The year 2019 was filled with continued growth and further connection with our inside community members. It was a true honor to share space and co-facilitate our most recent 200 Hour Yoga Instructor Training at SCI Phoenix. The transition from the nearly 90 year old Graterford to the new maximum security prison at Phoenix was traumatic for many. Our training was an opportunity for connection, humanity, education and dialogue that impacted me more than I can describe in words. Our training continues to evolve as it reflects the input and brilliance of our inside participants.

Another highlight was Matt’s homecoming. Sharing a phone call, a coffee or a practice with Matt is a true gift. Attending the first class Matt taught outside was powerful; Matt graduated from our first Yoga Teacher Training at State-Correctional Institute – Graterford and had been teaching inside for years. My hope for 2020 is that we see more folks coming home and sharing their gifts with the world.
– Colleen DeVirgiliis, Director of Training

The past year has been amazing. I am having the best time with wonderful people. Thank you to all who’ve been along side me on this unbelievable journey as we continue into the new year.
– Matt Engler

A mission moment for me personally from this year has me reflecting back on the continuous support that comes from our team. The mission states to serve individuals who are impacted – and the more we work together as a team, the more one person says to another “you got this, I know you do”, the more a team member offers “hey, let’s brainstorm on it to get the ideas flowing”, the more we collaborate, the more individuals we are able to reach – thus a greater impact. This carries over to our instructor team as well. They support one another and cover for each other which helps the organization as a whole move forward and reach individuals on the daily. I’m continuously touched by collaboration in service. It’s an honor to witness and be a part of it.
– Nicole Breen, Director of Recovery & Behavioral Health Services

Diving deep into a research project to understand the effects, if any, of our yoga teacher training at State Correctional Institute – Phoenix on the participants, co-faciltators and facilitators wellness- including physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects of their wellbeing. It has been truly incredible to learn from the folks who participated. As we look towards the new year, their contributions will help us to evolve our programming and create greater connection. We’re also working towards reimagining a research & evaluation methodology that is more inclusive and considers wider implications through our Justice Advisory Committee (JAC). The JAC is group of people who are incarcerated and people from the community who provide support and stewardship as we imagine a healed world without prisons.
– Anna Henderer, Strategic Project Manager

We’ve been making huge improvements in our behind-the-scenes processes – everything from redesigning our logo to releasing an app that our instructors can use. We’re building a strong infrastructure that can help us grow and provide easy tools to everyone from our participants, to our instructors to the world. 
– Amanda Weisel, Operations Manager

Connecting with major local partners to expand and share our mission with new communities shows how much support comes through collaboration. We hosted the Philadelphia Union’s second Yoga Day at the Union, where we welcomed members of the Greater Philadelphia area at Talen Energy Stadium for a beautiful outdoor yoga session on the field. The Philadelphia Eagles also recognized TYP as a 2019 Community Red Zone partner, where we shared our mission with the thousands of fans that filled Lincoln Financial FIeld. The continual support from our major sports teams and organizations helps connect our programs within the areas that surround our programs and we are glad to call home.
– Connor Fogel, Project Assistant