"By starting with today's youth, together we can change the world."
BEAM Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of kids & youth in Calgary, Alberta. Our mission is to provide accessible and affordable wellness programs to children and youth who are sick, recovering, have special needs, or who come from low-income backgrounds.
HOW: An Innovative Approach
With the help of local organizations, we connect with children and youth in our community who would benefit from free yoga and mindfulness programs in Calgary. Many of the young people that we work with are those who experience barriers to other wellness programs and opportunities (e.g., due to financial or mobility considerations).
BEAM Foundation carefully tailors all of its programming to participants’ special needs and life circumstances and strives to empower youth to reach their highest potential.
Since 2012, the members of the BEAM Foundation Board of Directors have collectively helped to provide over 800 hours of free yoga for children with disabilities in schools, non-profit organizations, and healthcare centres. To build on these individual projects, our Directors have come together to launch the BEAM Foundation as a new collaborative initiative.
BEAM Foundation is taking an innovative upstream approach to health through yoga by starting with today’s youth. Through our accessible programs, we aim to foster sustainable skill development and health-promoting strategies for youth: We provide a supportive environment for learning and help youth develop healthy coping mechanisms involving breath, meditation, mindfulness, and movement.
WHY: Yoga, Mindfulness, & Leadership
We want to have a positive and lasting impact on our generation and the generations to come by planting seeds of growth. We hope to inspire kids to become strong, self-aware, and community-oriented. Our programs are designed to get kids and teens moving and connecting, while equipping them with valuable lessons and skills.
We work with pediatricians, nurses, psychologists, aides, and behavioural therapists (in addition to our wonderful team of yoga instructors and volunteers). In collaboration with these professionals, we have created programs that are designed to engage and empower children and teens of all ages and abilities.
There are many illnesses and health challenges that are preventable and/or modifiable to some degree through changes in lifestyle (such as anxiety, depression, obesity, and heart-related illnesses). By bringing yoga and mindfulness programs to youth who may otherwise not have access, we are working to make mental health-promoting programming more accessible in our communities.
We strive to be a part of helping every child and teen feel as healthy as possible - physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.
THE PROGRAMMING: Beyond the Mat
The programs that we offer through BEAM Foundation are carefully designed to suit each group that we work with. Depending on the group's needs, our focus may be on teaching healthy coping mechanisms through breathing and meditation, developing physical strength and motor skills by practicing physical asanas, or by giving kids a positive, non-competitive environment to relax and connect with others.
We also have a Yoga Mat Recycling Program through which studios or individuals can donate old or new unwanted yoga mats. We pick up these mats, clean them, and give them to the kids we work with once they have completed a yoga program through the BEAM Foundation. This encourages our students to continue their skill development and practice on and off the mat!