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Monday, May 11, 2015

Gifting yoga. Organization awards next-generation scholarships

Courtesy Trella Dolgin
Exams. College costs. The job market. Oh my!

The demands facing today's teens and young adults have motivated one yogi and middle-school science teacher to take action.

“The amount of pressures on high school students especially are huge – more so than ever before. And this generation will soon be running our country,” says Trella Dolgin, founder of YogisHeart. The Ridgewood, New Jersey-based organization awards year-long yoga scholarships to applicants ages 15-25.
When Dolgin launched the initiative in 2012, “It was just pure...
karma for me. My goal was to create a community-based movement that could change the life of one individual. Through the process, the ripple carries in to the community as well,” she says.
Each month, Dolgin, and volunteers consisting of her husband, fellow yoga teachers and a few corporate-type friends meet to review applications and select a new scholarship recipient. The group then arranges a year’s worth of free, unlimited yoga classes at a yoga studio of the winning student’s choosing. Scholarship winners must attend at least two classes per week.
“We check references and interview applicants by phone. Often their essays are heart-wrenching. Some suffer chronic depression or have suffered an injury. Others live with single mothers and can’t afford to attend a studio. It’s hard to choose. Everyone’s story is so important,” says Dolgin.
“We have a ten-year goal of...

having a scholarship recipient in every state,” she says.

To this end, “We do a lot of fundraising throughout the year. Our Vinyasa-philanthropy events include yoga classes with cocktails and food. We’ve held Tupperware and fondue-themed parties. Upwards of two hundred people attend our larger affairs, like our Superbowl pre-game party,” says Dolgin.
YogisHeart Scholarship Recipients. Courtesy Trella Dolgin
To date, the group has awarded twenty-five scholarships from New York state to Florida and the positive, goodwill effort is making a difference.
“Yoga changes a life when it’s consistent. One recipient was struggling through nursing school, but just passed her exam. She had previously failed it and attributes her success to yoga,” says Dolgin.
Looking towards the future, “The feedback from studio owners is really wonderful. Scholarship students are feeling calmer, self-empowerment is growing and they’re developing an ability to face life differently,” says Dolgin.











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