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“When the pandemic hit, many of Goodwill Industries’ participants lost the ability to practice yoga with a skilled instructor. Through Hands to Heart Center’s online yoga sessions, we were able to reconnect many of our clients (both at home and inside the classroom) with meaningful, relaxing yoga sessions. Through their virtual, gentle chair yoga classes, HTHC was able to provide much-needed physical activity and purpose to many individuals of different ages and abilities. We are proud to have a community partner through Hands to Heart Center!” 

-Amanda, CBDS Instructor, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries

“When our school was thrust into emergency remote learning, we turned to Hands to Heart Center to help us maintain our sense of community. Through our online yoga classes, our students have learned to take deep breaths, focus their energy on the positive things in their lives and find ways to socially connect although we are physically apart. HTHC, thank you for your partnership! My young students look forward to our weekly sessions!”

-Christine, Principal, JFK Elementary School

“Our families truly enjoy Hands to Heart Center classes! The teachers are kind, understanding, and have created a space for our families to engage in a social activity that is both regulating and fun, even amongst a pandemic. Our parents, some of whom have been parenting kiddos with trauma and hyperactivity challenges, report feeling relaxed and refreshed. At the beginning of each class multiple children are able to identify how they feel when they do yoga and how they have taken their new yoga skills to their day-to-day routines. We look forward to our upcoming Hands to Heart Center classes!”

-Hannah, LCSW, Adoption Journeys

“Victory House is an all-male/male identifying recovery house and HTHC has been running a bi-weekly group for our clients for a few months now. Some of our staff were cynical that our clients would not be interested in yoga, but we have had several clients that have consistently participated, always looking forward to the next group. Clients have commented on how much of a workout it can actually be and how relaxed they feel afterwards!”

-Laura, Program Director, Victory House

To say that 2020 has been a difficult, trying and unprecedented year in this country would be an understatement. We have had to adapt, pivot, get creative, dig deep, and draw upon our wells of resourcefulness in new and often challenging ways. And while there have been many stumbles along the way, we have also shown grit, compassion, and empathy in the face of great adversity. We have shown that if we work together, we can accomplish extraordinary things.

2020 for HTHC has been no different. Faced with the growing pandemic this past spring, we shut down our in-person yoga classes like so many other yoga studios and organizations. When things began to slowly open up at the beginning of the summer, we made the very difficult decision to continue to hold-off on all in-person programming until further notice. We recognized that HTHC had a responsibility to “play it safe” as many (if not, most!) of our yoga students are people of color and individuals living in poverty and those populations have been affected more severely by the virus. 

We also realized that the same communities being so adversely affected by COVID-19, are also communities that need access to the healing benefits of yoga. So HTHC adapted, pivoted, got creative, dug deep, and drew upon our wells of resourcefulness to move as many of our previously in-person yoga classes into the virtual space! While the world seemingly changed overnight, HTHC’s mission remains to share the healing benefits of yoga with those who don’t have access to this transformative resource. Here at HTHC we firmly believe that health and wellness is a right of life rather than a luxury, and we continue to work to make that a reality EVERY DAY though our (now virtual) programs.

When the pandemic began, HTHC almost immediately began offering public yoga and meditation classes on HTHC’s YouTube  channel in partnership with the Boston Public Library, and more recently we’ve been providing yoga classes through Zoom for our community partners, in the attempt to reach as many communities as possible. We currently offer customized Zoom yoga for the Roxbury Mosque community, Goodwill Industries, Victory House, Adoption Journeys, and several Boston Public Schools.

In addition to our offerings for the public and our partners, we also have turned our attention to providing virtual supports and resources to our Community Yoga Teachers, who have been instrumental in helping us move our yoga offerings online. We recently started a monthly Zoom “Hangout” for our CYTs where they can come together (while we’re all apart!), as well as offering trainings and workshops that lend themselves to being taught virtually. 

In the face of the success we have had moving our classes into the virtual “studio”, HTHC also fully recognizes there are barriers to online access – the “digital divide” is so apparent to us as we continue to work with our communities to overcome the challenges presented by limited technology resources. However, we have no choice but to use these digital tools in the best way possible to connect as best we can, until it is safe for all of us to be physically together again.

Since the start of the pandemic, HTHC has provided well over 100 free and accessible virtual yoga classes to vulnerable communities who need yoga the most but have the least access to it. Will you help us continue to serve Greater Boston’s most underserved communities suffering from the effects of poverty and trauma, and now a global pandemic? 

Your contribution is critical in helping HTHC fulfill its mission of bringing yoga to the people, transforming yoga for social justice and equity. We have no idea what 2021 has in store but we know that HTHC will have to remain focused, adaptive, creative, and nimble to continue to respond to the ever changing immediate needs of the communities we serve, as well as the long-term impacts on individual and community health and wellbeing as a consequences of this pandemic.

What your gift can do:

  • $1000- Provides 20 virtual trauma sensitive yoga classes to women living in a domestic violence shelter
  • $500- Provides  10 virtual youth yoga classes at a high-poverty Boston Public School
  • $250- Provides a monthly virtual Family Yoga class in a low-income community 
  • $100- Provides 2 slots in a Virtual Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training for our Community Yoga Teachers
  • $50- Provides donated yoga mats for one HTHC Community Partner

This year, we have secured a $2,500 matching-gift challenge from HTHC’s Steering Committee, doubling the impact of your donation!

We need your help to continue the important work we do: increasing access to the healing benefits of yoga for those who have the least access to it, like our yoga students at Victory House, Adoption Journeys, and JFK Elementary! Will you help us continue fighting for social justice through the transformative power of yoga? We simply cannot do this without you!

Sincerely,

Susan Lovett

Hands to Heart Center Director & Founder

PS- To make your donation go even further, check to see if your employer has a matching gift program!