This month Street Yoga’s featured Portland Partner Site is Albertina Kerr.  Street Yoga provides two yoga and mindfulness classes each week for children and youth at the Albertina Kerr Sub-acute facility.  As an organization, Albertina Kerr has strengthened Oregon families and communities since 1907. Today, Kerr provides programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges – empowering them to live richer lives.

At times children and families may temporarily require additional intensive mental health services in a safe and secure setting when a child is experiencing an urgent mental health crisis. The Crisis Psychiatric Care (Sub-acute) program is able to offer children a short term residential placement and 24-hour access to mental health professionals. Children receive a psychiatric assessment by a psychiatrist, individual and family therapy with a Master level clinician, and a physical health exam.

The program’s secure facility has three units, each with six beds. The program serves children ages six to 18. Children participate in therapeutic and recreational activities, including Street Yoga Classes,  led by qualified mental health associates throughout the day to assist children in identifying alternate ways of handling the intense emotions that led to the need for intensive services. There are two to three staff per unit at all times as well as 24-hour nursing staff. The facility has a gym, two family meeting rooms and a fenced outside recreation area.

The goals of the program are to stabilize children in crisis, provide effective mental health treatment and ultimately return the child to their home or a less intense level of care. The program also works to ensure that caregivers will be able to provide adequate supervision and monitoring, as well as an appropriate and safe environment to meet the child’s ongoing needs.

At Street Yoga, our mission is to build capacity in youth to overcome trauma and to create meaningful, healthy lives through yoga and mindfulness.  As such, our partnership with Albertina Kerr facilities is a beautiful match and enables us to reach out to children and youth that might not otherwise have access to yoga and mindfulness as healing and resilience-building pathways.  Because the ages of the participants in our classes at Albertina Kerr can vary from 6 to 18 years of age, our gifted volunteers incorporate a variety of different approaches and activities into our classes, including yoga games, art, poetry, storytelling, guided meditations, and other engaging routes to explore mindfulness and yoga in new and inclusive ways.

For more information about Albertina Kerr’s services for children and adults, please visit AlbertinaKerr.org or call 503-239-8101.