Collection Underway for Yoga in Youth Detention Centers

GLEN MILLS, Pa. (WPVI) -- For most of the teenage boys in the yoga class at the Glen Mills School in Delaware County - this class is their first experience with yoga.

"Just being less stressful," said Gilbert Alvarado, a student from Los Angeles, Ca. "You could come from a unit with 60 kids and you come to an environment with a couple kids and it's just so peaceful."

Yoga is a new addition at the residential facility for court-adjudicated youth, thanks to a non profit called the Transformation Yoga Project.

Colleen DeVirgiliis, an instructor with the project, said, "Research backs that the tools of yoga can be incredible for your own self regulation, anger management, improving sleep."

"When you look at it as trauma sensitive and using yoga... and a lot of our young men have experienced trauma," says Dr. Randy Ireson, Executive Director of The Glen Mills School.

As the new school year begins and the program expands, the organization is collecting yoga supplies for classes in youth detention facilities throughout the area.

"Having props really helps us to deepen the yoga practice in ways they wouldn't otherwise be able to do," said Mike Huggins, Executive Director of the Transformation Yoga Project.

The props they're looking for include mats, so students don't have to practice right on the floor, yoga blocks to help support you in certain poses, and eye pillows for guided meditation at the end of class. The students say they make a big difference.

Student Tymeir Oglesby from Erie, Pa. explains, "If you have a pain in your back or something it helps ease the pain out of your back."

The hope is that yoga will stay with them, even when they leave.

"We've created hopefully a lifelong habit that can continue their healing," said Ireson.

"Some people might think, 'Oh yoga is for girls,' or whatever. But it helps you a lot," said Alvarado.

To donate new or gently used yoga mats or props, visit or email
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