Something I love about my college friends – they all have an assured view of who they are as people. They are strong women that are succeeding and making a difference in the world, and they won’t take a inch less than what they have fought to be in this life. I couldn’t think of a better image of that description than my friend, Chelsea. She is rooted in the amazing woman that she has become, and she has carved out a piece of the world that fits her perfectly. She doesn’t conform to what she’s been told she has to do – proven by switching her major towards the end of college and finding a need in a community, then creating a direct answer to that need. Chelsea founded her own non-profit after relocating to New Orleans shortly after graduation. To say that I am proud of her is an incredible understatement – I look up to her.
Project Peaceful Warriors is filling New Orleans schools with positive words, thoughts, and activity in a space that can be anything but. When Chelsea saw elementary school children struggling with trauma in their lives that led to anger, depression, and displaced feelings, she knew that those kinds of thoughts didn’t belong in minds that young. So in 2013, she formed this incredible non-profit focused on bringing Trauma Informed Yoga and Mindfulness to students and educators. On top of integrating yoga into school curriculum, Project Peaceful Warriors is also providing tools to educators that decrease classroom distractions and bullying, and increase focus, engagement, peer relationships, and academic performance. Now this program has grown to serving over 800 students in 10 schools with 7 community programs, and over 20 classes a week.
Chelsea is a pure example of taking a true passion, in her case yoga, and turning it into something that helps others and impacts the lives of those around her. Chelsea has been practicing yoga for as long as I can remember, from busting out headstands at the College of Charleston, to training internationally. There is no doubt that she is passionate about her work, and that shines through as she meets with principals from across the New Orleans area, and speaks with their many supporters like Lululemon and Kind Snacks.
She has created something greater than herself that will without a doubt continue to flourish and grow. But the best part of this non-profit testimonial is hearing directly from some of her students:
“I love meditation because after you understand everything on earth better than ever and know why you’re alive.” – Peaceful Warrior, Sixth Grade
“I have Superpowers in my breath to help make good choices and be kind.”
– Peaceful Warrior, Third Grade
“I learned that patience and being focused is not only important in yoga, but in life as well.”
-Peaceful Warrior, Seventh Grade