Organizations that Change You for the Better

This article does not express the views of City Year, The Collective STL, or Yoga Pipeline. My views are my own!

This morning I taught 30 5th graders yoga as part of a program with Your Words STL and I got a little bit of a taste of how the work I’ve been supporting through City Year fits with the mission of The Collective STL and Yoga Pipeline in terms of advancing youth development and black wellness.

When I was younger, I did not see myself as a “joiner”. My team sport was theater; in track I threw javelin and discus.

I joined a co-ed frat in college and started seeing how directing my energy to advancing a group’s wellbeing felt more meaningful, especially when I struggled with depression and had a hard time seeing purpose in my own existence alone.

I served two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA starting in 2009 and have been working with City Year since 2011. It is hard for me to remember the big meaning of “service to a cause greater than self” in the day to day work, but when I’m pulled back and looking at the significance of what it means for an organization to persevere for 30 years running largely on values as fuel, it’s astonishing and humbling. Letting yourself join a collective, or a collaborative, or any other group where you’re are really helping to advance the cause not for yourself but because there is a higher order need is a karma yoga practice, in my view. There’s surrender to something greater, where you show up because it is right, or needed, or because you have enjoyed that privilege and now it’s time to share.

I am abundantly privileged in my education. My mom went to Stanford and is a professor now; I went to Phillips Exeter on nearly full scholarship while she was doing her PhD and then went to Dartmouth for my undergrad. Last year I finished my master’s through George Washington University. I cannot imagine withholding any kind of knowledge or learning I have gained – it feels imperative for me to share what I can as broadly as possible because these amazing experiences were built on the backs of slaves, and displaced and massacred native communities in order to claim something for themselves, to further perpetuate their own objectives.

Thank you to all the groups, organizations and teams I’ve been a part of that make me a stronger person every day. 🙏🏽