We Believe that...
• Health and well‐being are the cornerstones of empowered living and the effective pursuit of happiness.
• Mind/body practices promote health and well-being and prevent practitioners from being trapped behind barriers such as toxic stress, disabilities, the challenges of aging, and traumatic experiences.
• Individual well-being is the building block of healthy, vibrant families and communities.
• True empowerment requires direct transmission of knowledge and practices, providing the opportunity for self‐selection and ownership of the tools best suited to each individual.
Increasing health and wellness in all communities by:
• Expanding access to high‐quality, mindfulness‐based yoga instruction.
• Expanding awareness of the benefits and value of mindfulness‐based yoga practices.
• Creating a diverse and highly‐qualified yoga teacher pool to provide yoga instruction that is specialized, accessible and culturally relevant to ALL.
Yoga4Change was founded in 2014 by Meriden native, Chaucey Perreault, MS, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT500) and her husband David Radcliffe. During its first two years, Yoga4Change (Y4C) operated under the fiscal umbrella of Meriden’s Women and Families Center (WFC). During that time, the Y4C Director and Board were able to focus attention primarily on the development of program service design, mission, vision and core beliefs. Y4C also benefited from the WFC’s fiscal expertise, learning valuable lessons in nonprofit management and fiscal responsibility that have been incorporated into program operations. In July of 2016, Yoga4Change received its 501c3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service and transitioned to independent operation.
The mission of Y4C is to empower individuals facing barriers to life success through the health and wellness benefits of mindfulness-based yoga. We offer a non-religious, mind/body practices that have been demonstrated to: aid recovery from trauma (PTSD) and addiction, aid in the management of chronic mental health conditions, produce improvements in self regulation abilities, and increase overall wellness, including balance, strength, and flexibility.
During the 2015-16 fiscal year, Y4C served over 730 students in Central CT. Our student body includes at-risk youth (ages 3 - 18), individuals in recovery from addiction (adults and adolescents), individuals with chronic mental health conditions, and low-income senior citizens.
The average Y4C adult saw gains of 23 percentage points on the Measure of Current Status Scale (MOCS), which measures resiliency by demonstrating gains in self awareness, the ability to relax, and coping confidence.
The average Y4C senior saw gains of 19% on the Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale.
62% increase in proprioception (balance, strength, flexibility)
We utilize evidence-based curriculums:
We utilize research-validated assessment tools:
“There’s a documented higher incidence of trauma among low-income communities,” Chaucey says. “There’s the trauma most of us think of in the form of traumatic experiences, but there’s also the low-level trauma of living in impoverished communities with the daily struggles of keeping a roof over the family’s head and worrying about neighborhood crime. And we have to acknowledge the cumulative, daily trauma of being treated poorly by the systems you seek help from simply because of the color of your skin, your socioeconomic status, or the language you speak. This more insidious trauma affects our sense of trust in others and the way we interact. It’s important for teachers to be aware of this and incorporate trauma sensitive and culturally sensitive strategies into their instruction.”
For Chaucey, “Yoga was about finding trust in myself. I had a successful career and family for decades, but I often felt like I was putting on a front. My inner world didn’t match my outer world, and it left me unable to trust myself and my own intuition.” She first came to Kripalu in 2011, at a low point in her life: She’d recently lost her job as a special education teacher, a member of her family, and her marriage had collapsed. This series of unfortunate events triggered her unresolved PTSD. “I was definitely in ‘pick up the pieces’ mode when I found Kripalu,” she says. “I came for an R&R Retreat and wandered into a workshop on grief and loss, and the teacher led the group in yoga nidra. I thought, this is yoga.” Within a year, she was enrolled in Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training. “I realized how important yoga was for me, and I knew teaching would keep it front and center in my life,” she says.
Chaucey founded Yoga4Change in 2013, offering classes for low-income families in her home. Parents did yoga in the living room, while free childcare was provided in the family room. Soon parents began asking for yoga for the children as well. “It became clear very quickly that we were going to need more space,” she says. She found an established nonprofit, Meriden’s Women and Families Center, to partner with her fledgling organization, and began offering expanded programming. In its first year, Yoga 4 Change served 420 people; this spring, it served nearly that number each week. Chaucey and her staff of five teachers offer classes and one-on-one sessions for students ranging in age from 3 to 93 at partner-agency locations throughout Connecticut.
Measure 1:Utilizing the validated assessment tool, the Measure of Current Status Scale (MOCS), 80% of adult participants will realize gains in at least 4 of the following skills:
· Awareness of tension· Ability to reduce tension· Ability to re-examine thoughts to form fuller perspective· Ability to anticipate stress triggers· Ability to choose best coping response for hard situations· Ability to find emotional balance during negative times· Overall sense that they have the ability to overcome life challenges
Measure 2:Yoga4Change program objectives come directly from National Physical Education Standards and CT Early Learning and Development Standards. Objectives will be measured quantified via observation by instructor at the start and finish of each 8-week session.· 60% will demonstrate increased proprioception by mastering age-appropriate yoga postures requiring balance, strength & flexibility· 80% will demonstrate their ability to work cooperatively and compassionately with others as demonstrated through sustained partner and group yoga activities· 80% will demonstrate the ability to practice strategies for dealing with stress, such as deep breathing, guided visualization and aerobic exercise · 80% will demonstrate the ability to sustain focus as by the ability to remain calm and within prescribed boundaries over a 5-minute period
Measure 3:80% of seniors will realize gains on the Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale 60% of seniors will realize gains in stress management skills utilizing the MOCS Scale:· Awareness of tension· Ability to reduce tension· Ability to re-examine thoughts to form fuller perspective· Ability to anticipate stress triggers· Ability to choose best coping response for hard situations· Ability to find emotional balance during negative times· Overall sense that they have the ability to overcome life challenges
o Resilience, including the development of a positive and empowering relationship with the body by developing self-acceptance and the ability to make personal choices best suited to self.
- Mental and emotional empowerment, learning and practicing mind/body strategies to:
o Recognize and redirect negative thoughts and behavior patterns.
o Recognize and manage the effects of stress.
o Increased strength, flexibility and balance for Seniors seeking to remain independent.
Adults are assessed using a Retrospective Post-then-pre model. This research-validated method asks participants to assess their progress at the close of programming, comparing their abilities on key measures post program with their abilities at outset. This method ensures participants have the requisite knowledge and vocabulary base to answer questions accurately (avoiding potential response shift bias). Assessment tools include:
· All adults utilize the Measure of Current Status (MOCS) Scale
· Low income seniors utilize the Measure of Current Status (MOCS) Scale and the Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC Balance).
· Youth are assessed using an instructor-administered observational survey that includes mindfulness-specific tasks as well as standards taken from the CT Early Learning Development Standards and the National Physical Education Standards for self regulation and social/emotional learning.
During the 2015-16 fiscal year, Y4C served over 730 students in Central CT. Students include preschool programs, elementary students' Extended Day programs, special needs students, individuals in recovery from addiction (adults and adolescents), individuals with chronic mental health conditions, and low-income senior citizens.
Through our first two years of experience, we have fine-tuned program design to maximize impact for varied special populations (seniors, preschool, trauma survivors, etc) and expanded funding partnerships and service agency partnerships to ensure a diversified funding stream . We continue to fine-tune fiscal/operational procedures and have put systems in place to track expenditures (purchases, oversite, and instruction) by grant fund, by region, by instructor, and by population served. Every hour taught can be accounted for to ensure grant funding is utilized as promised.
We’ve also trained our very first Y4C student-turned-teacher, Mike Bennett. A Meriden resident, veteran, and all-around active citizen in our town, Mike has been assisting/ teaching youth and senior classes in Meriden. He will complete his Kripalu Yoga in the Schools and Silver Age Yoga certifications this summer.
In 2016, our efforts were recognized by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, as well as the Kripalu Center for Health and Wellness – the largest yoga and wellness center in North America.
Our Board of Directors is made up of 7 volunteers that guide implementation of our Mission and Vision. The volunteer expertise on our Board includes: Accounting, Psychology, Research, Special Education and Curriculum, Public Administration, Human Services, Public Relations, Nonprofit development, and of course, yoga.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
During its first 2 years of operation, Yoga4Change operated under the fiscal umbrella of its sponsor the Women and Families Center. All audits and tax filings were conducted by the Women and Families Center. Yoga 4Change will undergo its own independent Audit at the close of the current fiscal year. A 990 tax filing will follow.
From 2014 until early May 2016, Yoga4Change operated under the 501c3 of the Women and Families Center. The 990s and audits contained in this profile are those for the Women and Families Center. The previous three years of financial information in the profile is specific to Yoga4Change.
A healthy community is a rich community. When we enjoy good health, when we engage in wellness activities – and when we support people living with disease or disabilities -- there are profound physical and psychological benefits. Simply put, we are all stronger and happier. To support the health and wellness initiatives in your community is to put good health within reach of all.
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