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 and Outreach Director
Jillene’s background is rich in strategy, advocacy and engagement, stemming from an exceptionally meaningful career in Federal Government. Complementing her professional success is a contemplative tapestry of yoga, mindfulness, and philanthropic contribution. Together, they bring a balance of competence and compassion that will help Street Yoga expand its ability to impact the lives of vulnerable and traumatized youth.
Jillene’s background in yoga started in India more than ten years ago when she was certified as a Yoga Siromani at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Neyyar Dam. Steeped in Advaita Vedanta, she is a Jnana Yoga practioner whose knowledge and background have been expanded through continued training in Non-Violent Communications, Global Negotiation, Mindful Leadership, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Yoga for Healing.
Believing that being of service to others is the greatest possible gift we give ourselves, Jillene’s philanthropic work has taken her from board member, to client adviser, to yoga sutra editor and beyond.
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
Besides her occupational interest in marketing, Veronica has always been an active part of the community and for as long as she can remember has had a passion for children/youth. She was a scholarship recipient for her services as a volunteer tutor for ESL kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Kirkland and currently fills her spare time teaching Spanish at an after-school program at Pathfinder Elementary and teaching youth Snowboarding at The Summit in Snoqualmie.
Veronica found her love for yoga for its true encouragement to live authentically. She believes in the power of positivity and in the benefits of the practice. To be able to share her new found passion she pursued a certification as a children’s yoga teacher. She believes in Street Yoga’s mission and is honored to be a part of it, as she finds that her position merges the best of both worlds.
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.
Jessica Gershwin began her professional career working as a teacher at an elementary school in East Harlem. While teaching, she was inspired to start an after-school yoga program in response to the high degree of stress and exhaustion that her students were experiencing. In 2011, Jessica earned her children’s yoga teaching certificate and also completed the Street Yoga Training in New York City. It was during this inspiring training that Jessica’s passion for teaching yoga to underserved communities was ignited.
Over the past 5 years, Jessica has worked to bring yoga, mindfulness, and self-care practices to children, youth, and adults who have experienced trauma in Denver, Colorado. She currently serves as a Bilingual Child and Family Therapist at the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, where she provides trauma therapy to children and teens and offers yoga groups for children, teens, and caregivers.
Jessica received a Master’s in Education and a Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in childhood trauma from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She also completed professional training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a somatically-based treatment approach designed to encouraged the release of trauma from the body. Jessica has taught yoga to children and youth in diverse settings, including public, private, and alternative schools, shelters, community centers, and outpatient mental health clinics. Jessica strives to fill her yoga classes with joy, authenticity, and and open heart so that each individual – child, teen, or adult – can experience a sense of unconditional belonging, empowerment, and self-discovery.