To empower youth through yoga, nutrition and optimistic teachings that help to develop life skills that can enable youth to take responsibility for their life, develop respect for themselves and others, and have confidence in their own potential.
ABOUT THE SEAN O’SHEA FOUNDATION
The Sean O’Shea Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was created after the fatal car accident of the young Ashtanga yoga teacher and studio owner, Sean O’Shea. Sean’s family and friends wanted to continue Sean’s vision to bring yoga to the youth of his community, especially at-risk children ages 8-18.
The Sean O’Shea Foundation programs are designed to empower youth with a yoga and nutrition curriculum focusing on providing memorable lessons and activities aimed at enriching young lives and providing invaluable instructors who will be a positive role model.
Sean was an outstanding example of excellence, patience, and discipline. We can all benefit from his joy for life and need for personal growth. These benefits are timeless and are in the form of a healthy, balanced perspective. In this age of extreme complexity, severe economic challenges, and with society’s overemphasis on competition and peer-pressure, Sean’s teachings are a welcome antidote that all young people should have for their overall health, growth and well being. Sean’s teachings are a shining example of how simplicity, harmony, and cooperation are still values that should be nurtured and developed in every young person.
The SOS Foundation offers several menu programs including our signature seven week program, semester program, and year round program. The foundation brings our programs to public, private and charter schools, rehab centers, juvenile court appointed schools, pregnant teen programs, and hospitals. Our newest program is the “Yoga 4 Kids With Cancer”.
The Foundation has offered programs to thousands of at-risk children and not one child has had to pay for the program due to friends and supporters of the SOS foundation.
The Sean O’Shea Foundation’s goal is to develop a positive effect on the youth in San Diego County by teaching skills of balance, flexibility, harmony, strength, and calmness. Our instructors are optimistic and inspiring teachers that encourage health, happiness, and the importance of service to others, while affirming a strong sense of belief in themselves. We encourage the participants to partake in community service within their school and their community; by doing so we develop an optimistic philosophy of life and advance the well being of humankind and community life. The Sean O’Shea Foundation programs provide an important service for the community that will have a lasting effect for many years to come.
WHO WAS SEAN O’SHEA?
A compassionate, optimistic and inspiring teacher
Sean was born in December of 1974. His talent for doing well and his thirst for knowledge were apparent at an early age. In kindergarten he was tested and immediately moved into a first/second grade combination class, he was only four years old. In his years of schooling that followed, he was always scoring off the charts and rated in the top 2% in the nation with the state and national testing.
By the time he had graduated from high school Sean was already showing his born leadership qualities. Sean graduated in 1992 as the ASB President, Homecoming King, All CIF Scholar, District Scholar and Golden Boys State Recipient.
Sean was an advocate for social justice and equal rights. He believed everyone, no matter their circumstances or race, should have the right to a good education…including college. While attending Palomar College, Sean was President of Mecha and helped to organize the largest rally in Southern California against Proposition 187. Sean was featured in many newspaper articles including the article “Latinos Gain Momentum in Education” from the North County Times in the Summer of 1994.
After graduating from Palomar in 1996, Sean followed his dream and traveled to many South American countries learning more about his ancestors and heritage. He was the great grandson of Pamfila Gillardo and Teodoro Diaz and the grandson of Socorro Diaz and Enrique Montano. Sean’s parents are Liam and Gloria O’Shea and his two siblings are Mercedes and Finian O’Shea.
Sean later applied for Berkeley in 1998 and graduated in 2000. While at Berkeley, Sean was involved in many projects for social justice and attended many rallies and protests as the photographer for the Berkeley paper.
Once again, after Sean graduated from Berkeley, he followed his dream and left to travel all over the world but especially England and Ireland to locate his fathers’ family. Sean was like a sponge, always absorbing as much knowledge and information about people, their cultures, and traditions.
For the next few years Sean would teach yoga to adults and youth. Sean wanted to use yoga as a tool to teach students the rich philosophy of yoga’s physical postures and positive character building. Sean believed that this philosophy could teach the students to be calm in the midst of action and the ability to have a quiet mind in the midst of turmoil. Sean was one of the first yoga teachers to teach youth within the school districts. He enjoyed teaching youth, especially youth considered to be at-risk. Sean was an inspiration to so many young people as well as adults.
Sean had studied and practiced yoga for over 15 years and had a strong belief about the benefits of yoga. Sean’s yoga teacher was Tim Miller of the Ashtanga Yoga Center whom he practiced under since he was 17 years old.
In March of 2005, Sean opened his own business; a yoga studio in La Jolla. Sean named the yoga studio “Four Seasons” and used a simple branch for his logo; the branch was an ancient representation of nourishment.
Sean had the incredible ability to be a humanitarian, environmentalist, and Good Samaritan. Sean would often volunteer his time to teach yoga to youth all over San Diego County while running his own studio.
In December of 2006, just two days after his birthday, Sean departed from this world due to a fatal car accident.
The O’Shea family received thousands of letters, emails and cards from Sean’s friends, students and family from all over the world. The San Luis Rey Center in Oceanside was filled for Seans’ memorial service and the Elks Club was packed well beyond its limit for Sean’s farewell celebration. Sean was greatly loved. So many people were touched by Sean’s beautiful example and it was that love we all had for Sean that helped to create The Sean O’Shea Foundation.
Today, we honor Sean’s good life by continuing his vision of teaching the youth in our communities yoga, nutrition, respect for earth, respect for themselves and others, and to have confidence in their own potential.
BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR YOUTH
Yoga benefits for youth include enhancing the self-confidence and gentle introduction to self discipline. Yoga improves health which in turn, increases vitality, enthusiasm and appreciation for life. Yoga practice increases young people’s awareness and their ability to look within, to think independently and trust themselves. In addition, Yoga can help improve a child’s ability to focus, concentrate and listen as well as develop flexibility, strength and the joy to learn. Yoga provides effective stress management through positive thought patterns and relaxation techniques. Yoga for youth helps develop the ability to be calm in the midst of action and the ability to have a quiet mind in the midst of turmoil.
CHILDREN AT RISK
San Diego is slightly ahead of the state and nation in K-12 academic performance, but has increased in dropout rates and low academic scores in low-income, disadvantaged communities (San Diego Foundation). A study reported by the San Diego Foundation indicates that the most effective tool for improving student learning and academic achievement is greater parental involvement in their child’s education. Unfortunately, children who are considered at-risk may not have the support they need from home, neighborhood or community, which is developing a greater and at times impossible task for educators to accomplish their goals for teaching students or fostering partnerships with student and parents. According to the National Commission on Children, “Often these students lack the rudiments of basic health care and quality education. Almost always, they lack hope, they lack dreams, and they lack a vision of what their lives can become and the support and guidance to make it a reality”.
According to a study completed by the Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative, the implementation of yoga programs in schools, targeting children, produce many positive outcomes and statistically significant findings…these included that yoga class participation helped students improve their attitude towards themselves, improve students’ behavior and physical health, as well as helped students perform better in school academically.
Yoga reduces re-incarceration rate among inmates -
Evidence to support yoga as a rehabilitative tool was found in a 2008 study that “followed 190 inmates who attended yoga, meditation and philosophy classes, accompanied by a vegetarian meal. Those who attended four or more classes had a re-incarceration rate of 8.5 percent compared to a statewide re-incarceration rate as high as 41 percent.” To find more about this article…go to
A new study reports that yoga can reduce the stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment experienced by childhood cancer patients and their parents. The findings were published in the September/October 2010 edition of Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, published by the http://www.news-medical.net/news/20101011/Yoga-decreases-anxiety-in-childhood-cancer-patients-and-their-parents.aspx Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON).