Concord Neighborhood Center
Winner of the 2019 Out-of-School Time Champion Award
Describe how your program is focusing time and resources on claiming your calm.
To begin a yoga initiative in its youth program, Concord secured funding through the Indiana Sports Corporation CHAMPS grant program. The grant allowed for the initial investment of mats, instruction, and resources that could sustain the program in perpetuity. Now that children and staff know yoga, they can continue exercises and programming independently as time allows. Nearly a year into the initiative, Concord's greatest investment is time. Yoga is built into the daily program as a series of simple, student-led exercises that immediately precedes the afternoon activities. It's like bell-work, but for the body and mind. It is regular and consistent and builds on the strengths and knowledge that youth learned in formal instruction during summer break.
Describe the impact that you notice since you have focused time on claiming your calm efforts in your program. What changes have you noticed?
Since introducing a yoga curriculum during its summer day camp, Concord youth are much more thoughtful about how they experience negative stress, unwind from a busy day and just generally approach being active. Yoga is active and engages the whole body, but in a very holistic and calming way. Our children are happier and more engaged after they have completed the exercises, and staff is starting to see that the kids themselves understand and embrace yoga's benefits.
Why is claiming your calm important enough to focus time and resources?
The yoga program has helped our youth truly claim their calm by being in better control of their emotions, responses, and general range of motion. Following an initial, minimal investment of 8 hours of expert instruction, the children can do-and they do do-exercises independently! As such, these are elementary age children who have developed a set of coping and active skills that they can carry with them throughout life and in a variety of settings. Our youth program has established a foundation for healthy, deliberate well-being and this will have far-reaching, lasting and positive outcomes for our children who otherwise may lack self-regulation.