30 classes for 30 years: celebrating 30 years of SAMHSA by creating community and connection

Nearly everyone – individuals, families, communities – has been affected by substance use. Two-thirds of all families will be touched. September is recognized as National Recovery Month, bringing awareness to those in recovery and the supporting substance use treatment and mental health services across the nation.

This September, TYP will partner with yoga studios and community centers with its “30 for 30” donation classes for Recovery Month’s 30th Anniversary, raising money and awareness to support its recovery programs. Thirty classes across Greater Philadelphia Area will raise money for TYP’s programs that work with more than 55 partners in a variety of recovery and behavioral health settings. The nonprofit has served more than 17,000 people in recovery.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors Recovery Month each year as a national observance to raise awareness of mental and substance use disorders, to celebrate individuals in long-term recovery, and to acknowledge the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

Both TYP and SAMHSA are part of the service community dedicated to working with those in recovery and impacted by recovery. 46.6 million adults aged 18 or older reportedly suffered from a mental illness in 2017. In that same year, 20.7 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment (SAMHSA).

The classes spread throughout the month of September, and anyone is welcome to join the donation classes at all locations. Donations are encouraged, and any amount is appreciated.

Stay tuned for the full “30 for 30” class calendar and more information about the classes. Make sure to follow our social media to keep up with classes and to learn more about Recovery Month and TYP’s recovery programs.

For more information about how you can join tYP’s “30 for 30” Partners with Recovery Month donation classes, email!



Our New Logo

Ever since we became a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization growth and change have been a constant. We have expanded both our reach, serving more and more people each year, and our programming, by offering a diverse number of trauma-sensitive, mindfulness-based services throughout the greater Philadelphia and Delaware area. As we have grown, we felt the need to change our logo to reflect our evolution. We’re extremely grateful for Juan Plaza, of Red Thinking, who took the time to listen and learn about our work and to create something that really captures our mission. We enjoyed the collaborative process thoroughly. Our TYP team members share their interpretation of our new logo’s meaning -

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Katy Kopnitsky -

“I think if I chose one thing about the evolution of our logo/representation that I’m most excited about it would be a move away from a representation that was very tied to a particular expression of the physical component of yoga toward a logo that feels more broad and open. We strive to practice and share more than just asana or physical postures, so I’m excited about a logo that feels freer, broader, and almost invokes a sense of multitudes, possibility, or expansion.”

Brianne Murphy -

“This logo represents community, a moving inward to move outward. It represents connection and support. It brings us away from the narrative that yoga is asana, and connects more deeply to the heart of this practice. Together, we are capable of dreaming bigger and better. Together, we change the world.”

Nicole Breen -

“While this may appear to be a small image to others, to me, the new TYP logo represents unification, collaboration, and peace. This new logo and evolution of our organization has been a thoughtful process bringing us all together even more strongly as a team and a family. It was truly humbling and beautiful to be a part of it. I work with kind, intelligent, and passionate people - what a gift!”

Nina Wong -

“To me this logo represents unfolding to the unlimited, radical possibilities that are within us, as individuals and in community. When I see this logo, I think not just of the brilliant unfolding of the lotus, but of what lies underneath - the depths from which we all rise, and the resilience of our roots.”

Kate Ferris -

“I love our new logo because it shows what we do. We provide opportunities for people connect to their center - awaken their inner strength and build / surround themselves with community… Our logo starts with the self - the innermost layer being a centered-person, in upward salute, firmly rooted like mountain pose, but arms overhead - to awaken their mind and energize their body. The warm rings surrounding the center show the support of community - family, friends, colleagues, and even passerbys - that is so necessary to support us and lift us up during our lifes journeys.”

Anna Henderer -

“Our new logo is much more dynamic than our previous one. Though the image of the Warrior 2 pose in our old logo showed strength and stability, it felt limiting. This new logo can be interpreted in many different ways. It is full of possibilities. Sometimes I see the subtle image of a person in extended mountain pose surrounded by layers of support; other times I see more of a lotus flower, sometimes I think of a drop in water creating ripples of change. I think it resonates with the work we do because we adapt and truly seek to meet people where they are. We provide them a chance to be in communtiy and learn accessible tools and techniques to support their wellbeing.”

Connor Fogel -

“When I see this logo, I think of TYP’s three program focuses — recovery, justice, and youth. The logo’s three lines represent growth and progress through learning and practice.”

Colleen DeVirgiliis -

“As our organization continues to evolve and grow, our new logo reflects our intention to cultivate community in the places we serve...the circle is a powerful symbol as it reflects equality, the balance found in nature, and continuity of our work...there is no beginning and no end.”

What do you see when you look at our new logo? Feel free to comment and add your voice.



Congratulations Graduates of our Training 2 Transform Justice

This past March we introduced you all to members of our third 200-hour Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) at State Correctional Institute. We’re so excited to share that on Saturday June 29th the cohort at SCI - Phoenix officially completed their training and became Certified Yoga Instructors.

Our Director of Justice and Reentry Services, Brianne Murphy, and our Director of Training, Colleen DeVirgiliis, reflected on the moving and inspiring closing celebration. Brianne and Colleen facilitated the training and along with several co-facilitators, who were previous YTT graduates.

A self-portrait by one of our YTT graduates at SCI - Phoenix.

A self-portrait by one of our YTT graduates at SCI - Phoenix.

From Bri -

Our YTT ‘19 Cohort has officially completed 200 hours. We’ve welcomed 21 new Trauma Sensitive yoga instructors to our team at SCI- Phoenix and are moved by their enthusiasm for this practice and their communities. 

We’d like begin acknowledging the loved ones of our graduates and co-facilitators. Without your love and support such commitment and dedication to this training would not have been possible. We all carry our support systems and loved ones with us at all times, and it was clear the energy and care that fueled our graduates throughout these past five months and beyond. We feel so honored to have been able to get to know them over this training and would like to extend an offer of our unending support to each of you, however it is that we can show up for you. 

* * *

In recounting the day, there are some things that are easy to find the words for. 

We set up in a circle. 

The room was cold.

Count cleared 45 minutes late. 

Control interrupted to announce half-time yard… cease all movement… law library closed…. Disturbances at best, though in reality daily reminders of the lengths we go to attempt to normalize the blatantly inhumane.

Then there are also the things that can never be described. The things that bring you to your knees in humility. That create a lump in your throat so real and profound that all of your words move through water before reaching your mouth. There are the things that fill your heart with such joy and sadness that you are broken open, wholly and completely... for as long as you can bear it. 

Our closing ceremony together was Poetry. 

It was Love. 

It was “Justice in Action.”

I could sit and recount the order of events for the day, the things that moved me, the pride we feel for our new graduates, and the blessing that it is to know them…. However these things were created in sacred circle to live on within each of us... Gifts in our lives to give us the strength to continue to uncover liberation in all corners of our worlds. 

Being a part of community within spaces designed to disrupt and discourage connection is a powerful thing. It reinforces that we are all in fact stronger together, capable of deep humanity & compassion, and only limited by other’s imaginations. It reminds us that we can dream bigger, imagine better, and co-create a world that is more just and merciful for all of us in it. It moves us to ask the hard questions, to challenge the systems that exist in order to speak into reality a world that is fundamentally different- one that leans into our humanity as our greatest strength. 

Community, like this, begs us to look deeply within, to ask ourselves to reveal our own contradictions. What harmful untruths have we accepted or internalized about our world and the people in it? What systems have we named “status quo” that destroy whole communities, families, individuals? In what ways do we contribute to their persistence? In what ways do we contribute to their inevitable fall? 

We all have two choices in this world. 

Fear or Love. 

There is nothing in this world that any of us can achieve alone. Nothing that would ever be enough. And yet Hope persists because together we are capable of All Things. The impossible becomes possible, and the whole world changes. Everyday, as we sit in sacred circle, the whole world changes. 

In honor of our graduates, their loved ones, our community of supporters, all of our teachers that have come before us, the movements, the communities, the people who have given life to and life for liberation…. I commit to hold on to these seeds of hope and freedom, and to move through the rest of my days asking, “What would Love do next?” 

Thank you all for supporting our Class of 2019 YTT Graduates at State Correctional Institute! Learn more about some of the 21 men who graduated in our previous blog posts.



State of Reentry in Philadelphia: Redefining Recidivism and Reentry

The City of Philadelphia recognizes the month of June as Reentry Awareness Month, in support of the estimated 25,000 adults that reenter into the city after being in a prison or a correctional facility each year.

Mayor Jim Kenney has explained that it is “smart and just” to provide those reentering society with the needed resources —  support in finding jobs, education, housing — to help them become contributing members of their communities:

“These are individuals who have paid their debt to society, learned from their mistakes and deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as the rest of us. When they successfully rejoin the workforce, they begin contributing to society and paying taxes and are less likely to fall back into old habits.”

Working with the mayor and other city officials, rapper and civil rights activist Meek Mill started to use his platform to speak for the thousands of his peers who aren’t as supported as he was when reentering into society. After his sentence in 2017, and release the following year, he teamed up with a group of partners in founding the REFORM Alliance, fighting to reduce the number of people affected by the criminal justice system, both in prisons as well as on parole and probation.

Of the 25,000 reentering the city communities, one out of three have been rearrested within their first year after returning to the city, according to the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition.

The 110 organizations working together in the Reentry Coalition focus on creating better environments and enacting social change for those reentering city communities. Together they created a five-year “Home for Good” goal to reduce the recidivism rate by 25%, so that by 2021, 2,000 less people would be rearrested within the first year of being released from state or county prison.

Reentry vs. Recidivism

Reentry: refers to issues related to the transition of offenders from prison to community supervision. Reentry on this site refers to persons released from State or Federal prisons or discharged from State parole, Federal parole, or Federal Supervised Release.

Recidivism: measured by criminal acts that resulted in the rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner's release.

– from The Bureau of Justice Statistics

TYP works with and has trained members working with other Reentry Coalition organizations, like the Institute for Community Justice, featuring TYP-lead classes, and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Through 200-hour yoga teacher trainings as well as work in prisons and other facilities as well as reentry programs, TYP uses trauma sensitive, mindfulness based approach to support those who are incarcerated, in reentry, in communities disproportionately affected by incarceration, and to those working within the justice system.

Artwork from the Reentry Think Tank Media Justice Fellowship, which is partnered with the Reentry Coalition. The Think Tank has an exhibit featured in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and has developed its powerful art to work as a mobile exhibit to be featured in any “church basement, city street, or community legal clinic” across the city.

Artwork from the Reentry Think Tank Media Justice Fellowship, which is partnered with the Reentry Coalition. The Think Tank has an exhibit featured in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and has developed its powerful art to work as a mobile exhibit to be featured in any “church basement, city street, or community legal clinic” across the city.

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Inquirer paired with Media Justice Fellows from the Reentry Think Tank, who are all living reentry, to share their thoughts on what it means to reenter into society.

One of the fellows, Abd’Allah Lateef, explained that government agencies use the term “reentry” to describe everything and nothing at the same time, adding that there is no standard definition other than when someone returns to society following being incarcerated:

“That definition oversimplifies the issue, reducing it to corrections-speak. Measuring reentry as simply keeping individuals out of prison ignores whether or not those who have stayed out of prison have access to prosperity or sufficient supports that allow them to live with dignity. It ignores their quality of life. We need metrics that instead recognize the fullness of our humanity and of our value. Those of us working in this community often use the term transition instead of reentry, as in transitioning into a life of dignity, meaning, and purpose.

The Reentry Think Tank partners with the Reentry Coalition to help connect the returning citizens to artists and advocates so they can impact social change within their communities. Since beginning three years ago, the Think Tank has raised more than $30,000 in fellowship programs for returning citizens, engaged thousands through their “Art and Advocacy exhibit: Changing Culture to Change Policy,” and more than 1200 Philadelphians with criminal records have co-authored a city-first Reentry Bill of Rights: A Blueprint for Keeping Us Free.

Studies have shown that support programs, services and guidance is a major factor in reentry into society and lower recidivism rates across the country.

The Prison Entrepreneurship Program helps those who are incarcerated receive an education working to receive a “mini-MBA” that includes character, leadership and business development. After  finishing the program and the participant’s release, PEP helps provide transitional housing, employment assistance, counseling and other support services. The program has more than 2,300 graduates, who have reentered their communities by launching more than 360 businesses and every graduate found employment within 90 days of their release.

Most importantly, PEP graduates only have a 7.5% recidivism rate after three years.

Another reeentry program, Hope for Prisoners, provides pre-vocational programming, job placement and mentoring for the first 18-months back in their communities. The participants’ mentors are members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which the program notes as a major strength in their success with 64% employment post-graduation and a 6% recidivism rate after 18 months.

With these support programs and organizations working together like those in the Reentry Coalition, successful reentry and lower recidivism rates are attainable to connect community members back to their homes, jobs, and families.