Welcome to Hilliary Black, MSW, our new Program Director! She’s amazing and brings exciting skills to Street Yoga…and best of all, she’s been a volunteer teacher for the past two years. Here’s her story:
As I moved from Colorado to Oregon a few years ago I was experiencing new places, people, and emotions everywhere I looked. Finding Street Yoga was one of the things that helped me begin to feel connected to my community and to have a sense of something familiar in my life. Although Street Yoga was new to me, sharing the gift of yoga with youth was not and I felt at home when I found a group of people with the same passions as I had. I signed up for the first Street Yoga training I could and worked to find a class to begin teaching.
I have been teaching at Seneca House since October of 2011 and it has been an amazing learning and growing opportunity for me and hopefully for the girls that have participated in my classes. My biggest area of growth has come from recognizing the challenges in the lives of my students and coming to class with understanding, compassion, and creativity when they aren’t interested in yoga class that day.
In the past, I’ve mostly taught classes that were truly voluntary with no program reward attached, so although my classes were small, they encompassed students who chose to be there. In the last two years, I have continued to try and become more creative and always trying to learn fun and age appropriate ways to engage the girls who may have many more priorities that day than participating in yoga class. I always try to include my students in shaping what happens in class each week, empowering them to make yoga their own. It’s been an amazing journey of transformation that I look forward to continuing and to furthering my growth as a yoga teacher and a social worker.
I was working for a vocational program for individuals with developmental disabilities prior to being hired as the Street Yoga Program Director. Although my clients were amazing and I was proud of the services we provided, the job was not fulfilling my personal and professional goals. I yearned to return to combining my social work career with my passion for mindfulness and yoga; to work for an organization that had a more narrow focus; and to work for a cause knowing that I was supporting the type of changes I want to see in the world. I feel so blessed that this opportunity presented itself at the same time I decided to move on in my career. I am excited about all of the learning and growing ahead of me and about continuing to spread the gift of yoga to those who can benefit so much from it’s gifts.