Do you have a preferred activity for your personal self-care? Maybe it’s yoga, golf, sewing, or running. No matter which, there is no denying there is peacefulness those activities bring us; an awareness of the present moment; a time to reset, refocus, and simply enjoy life. These activities that used to be known as past times and luxuries, have now become vital for our mental health. Amidst the chaos and pace of our world today, self-care is an outlet for our mind and body to feel joy, rest, and growth. Something we ALL deserve.
Over my years in the fitness and wellness industry, I’ve witnessed first- hand the population we have been able to provide to the most. Simply put, those who can afford it, and those who have exposure to such activities. Although important for EVERY BODY, unfortunately, it’s not available to EVERYONE. This inspired me to start The Mat Project (TMP) three years ago—a local Cleveland nonprofit organization for at risk and/or undeserved women and youth, most of whom have experienced trauma in their lives.
WHAT DO WE DO? It’s pretty simple. We show up directly to our students who may not have the opportunity to experience the proper tools for their health and well-being. We show up with yoga mats, but it’s more than just the physical practice of yoga. We provide a safe space to experience self-empowerment, an opportunity to build confidence, and finally, the option for educational and career opportunities through our yoga teacher training scholarship program. We journal, we talk, we breathe, we move our body, we take care of ourselves. By fostering a positive out- look that extends beyond the mat, we encourage our students to practice social good within and around our community. Some of our students have the opportunity to become in- structors. To me, this is such a blessing. I truly believe our students can teach our community with even greater love and understanding than TMP can. In my opinion, this is a full circle toward a better future.
WHO ARE OUR STUDENTS? We currently host sessions within the Cuyahoga Juvenile Correctional Facility. We’ve had past students who are at risk or involved in human trafficking. We also teach in some of our underserved schools, as well as outreach programs within our lo- cal community. Especially now, TMP feels determined to continue our mission in the Cleveland area. The need to provide such free services to our underserved community has become a demand, and we are proud of our community for making it so!
HERE’S THE FUN PART! How can you help? Check out our website that includes our upcoming events! We have fundraisers including spinning, yoga, and more over the next few months. It’s simple: sign up, show up, take care of yourself, and by doing so, you are taking care of our community who that can use the same type of support.
We are proud supporters of building up our Cleveland community through yoga, mindfulness, and the general health of all of our recipients. When our community comes together through our fundraisers to practice peace, change happens, and for the better. To learn more or to register for our upcoming wellness events, check out our website at www.thematproject.org. For questions or to support our efforts, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone deserves a safe space to grow. Be well.