RICHELLE HARRELL, MPA, BA
Street Yoga combines two of Richelle’s passions: youth and yoga. She is avid about empowering our youth to succeed in their lives. Richelle worked for several years as a Counselor and Case Manager for youth with behavioral, psychological and substance abuse problems, helping them to improve their educational outcomes. She taught youth overseas in South Korea and Kuwait for several years and at Rainier Beach High School Brain Camp program here in Seattle. Richelle also created a leadership program for low-income youth to empower them within their own community to improve the social and economic well being of Camden, N.J. residents.
Richelle worked at Sound Generations where she was a Master Trainer in Stanford University’s Living Well with Chronic Conditions program and managed several other programs in the Health and Wellness department throughout King County. She also managed the Dress for Success program at the YWCA. In addition, she has over 10 years’ experience managing programs for low-income and homeless people living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness and substance abuse issues.
Yoga has been an interest of Richelle’s since her teens. As an adult, she deepened her practice, while visiting India for two months and living at Swami Satchidananda’s ashram/Yogaville for almost a year. Today, with over 13 years of a committed yogic practice, Richelle is a 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher, certified by the Integral Yoga Institute. The reason she became a yoga teacher is that she personally was healed through yoga.
Richelle is excited for the opportunity to offer yoga to support youth in their growth and healing.
Training Program Manager
Madhulika Desai comes to Street Yoga with over 16 years of experience in program management, organizational leadership and team building within both the nonprofit and corporate spaces. She is passionate about yoga, meditation and community service, and is excited to join an organization that lets her combine all three!
Before joining Street Yoga, Madhulika served as the San Diego branch program manager for the Art of Living, one of the world’s largest mindfulness-based nonprofits. There, she spent a decade leading the planning and development of programs from wellness workshops and meditation retreats to fundraisers and teacher trainings – including three years managing training programs at the national level. Madhulika also served as a regional director for the World Alliance for Youth Empowerment (WAYE) in India, where she coordinated life-skills trainings (which emphasized yoga and wellness) for more than 1,000 youth.
Madhulika was first introduced to the wisdom of yoga and meditation in India through Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living Foundation, at the age of 19. Since then, yoga and meditation have been an important part of her daily routine – and she has delighted in sharing her practice with the community as a teacher for more than 12 years!
Marketing and Events Coordinator
Melanie Eng is a Seattle-based creative writer, digital marketer and proud University of Washington alum who brings deep experience in cause-driven communications to the Street Yoga team – along with a lifelong passion for yoga, mindfulness and other healing arts.
Before joining Street Yoga, Melanie worked on a wide variety of non-profit advocacy campaigns as a strategic communications executive at creative agency GMMB. Specializing in global health, she worked closely with clients like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on campaigns to advance infant & young child nutrition in the developing world, protect the health and safety of Washington teens and preserve the environment nation-wide. Melanie also spent her college years and six months after graduation as a journalist covering a ‘social justice’ news beat – first, for local outlets including the Seattle Times, then as a post-war development reporter in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is passionate about harnessing her skills in writing, strategy and social media to help transform communities and fight for the greater social good.
Melanie has maintained a dedicated Vinyasa practice for more than a decade, and is always looking for ways to deepen her understanding of yogic spiritual philosophy. Her love for yoga is rooted in its unique ability to unite the mind, body and spirit, and encourage engaging fully with the present moment. As she embraces yoga as a major source of peace, joy and healing in her own life, she is excited to help bring its transformative benefits to youth in need with Street Yoga.
Mark Lilly is a mindfulness and communication trainer who has taught workshops all over North America to widely diverse audiences including physicians, nurses, social workers, police officers, therapists, mental health workers and countless others. Mark is the founder of Street Yoga, an internationally recognized non-profit which provides yoga and mindfulness classes to at-risk populations in Portland and Seattle.
Mark has extensive expertise in community- as well as hospital-based mindfulness practices, and is initiating Mindful Communication workshops for physicians, along with similar trainings for nurses and social workers. In addition to ongoing work with Street Yoga, he has developed the practice of Body-Mind Rehab Therapy, which he currently offers to pediatric inpatients recovering from significant illness or injury, at Portland’s Emanuel Hospital. He is also co-creator of the Mindful Parents & Caregiver program which serves social workers and their client families with practical, everyday mindfulness.
Mark has developed many specialized mindfulness curricula in addition to the core and advanced Street Yoga trainings, including specialized work for young people recovering from sexual abuse, and workshops for adults moving through entrenched traumas or grappling with high-intensity communication situations.
For Mark, yoga is an everyday survival skill, a practice he has shared with thousands of youth through Street Yoga. He still lives with the tremors of traumas past and realizes the delicate line between suffering and awakening. His teaching emphasizes cultivation of the best within each of us by using the authentic stories and experiences that illuminate our being and drive our teaching to places of deep truthfulness.
Through it all, he brings a lightness and love to his teaching that is rooted in humility, grace and joy.
Katie Okun joined Street Yoga in 2004 as a volunteer teacher while also working professionally with teens in a local runaway shelter. She has taught yoga in a diverse array of settings including drop-in centers for homeless youth, chemical dependency treatment programs, residential facilities for undocumented youth, afterschool programs, and crisis shelters. Katie co-created the original Street Yoga teacher training in 2005, and since then, she has trained hundreds of volunteer yoga teachers in cities across the nation, providing her students with a rich and challenging learning environment. Katie has also been closely involved with Street Yoga’s transition to Seattle and served on Street Yoga’s local advisory board from 2008-2015.
As a Street Yoga trainer, Katie draws on nearly a decade of direct professional social work experience with runaway, homeless, and foster care youth. Her background in social work has provided a strong foundation for understanding the challenges facing her students and the skills for “meeting them where they are.” After many years in the social work field, Katie is now transitioning to focus on anatomy and is completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Washington.
Katie has over a decade of experience teaching yoga to children, teens, and adults. She completed her 200-hour training in the ashtanga and Iyengar traditions in 2004 at Yoga Source with Sandra Pleasants and Jennifer Elliott. She has also taught at numerous conferences and workshops, including the Omega Institute’s Being Yoga Conference, the National Health Care for the Homeless Conference, and the Northwest Yoga Conference.
Katie infuses her teaching with a calm, grounded, real-world approach to combining mindfulness and youth work. With her gentle and light-hearted approach, Katie strives to develop knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm in all her students.
IVY KATZ, LPC, E-RYT
Ivy first found Street Yoga in 2011 shortly after moving to Portland. She was immediately moved by their mission and knew she wanted to be involved. She completed her training in March 2011, and has been a teacher with us ever since.
Ivy has worked in the mental health field since 2007 including wilderness therapy, residential treatment and outpatient counseling clinics. Her experience and teaching as a trainer draws from years of experience working with a variety of populations and ranges of concerns and presenting issues. Some of this includes homelessness and runaway youth, trauma recovery, intergenerational trauma, substance abuse/recovery, sexual and physical abuse, grief and loss, truancy, anxiety, depression, and family of origin issues. She also has experience developing trauma sensitive curriculum for an outdoor based therapy program she helped create. Along with her experience in mental health, Ivy draws from over ten years of a personal yoga practice and is a certified yoga teacher.