Go Give Yoga


Why Appalachia?

The world is a vast place, with many different people, many in need. But right here, in the southeast of the United States, lies a beautiful, often overlooked region – Appalachia -- where the people describe themselves as forgotten. One of the most beautiful regions harbors the poorest counties in our country. People come from around the world to rock climb, yet for residents the statistics speak of bleak outcomes rather than climbing to the highest heights. A recent Centers for Disease Control study on Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) showed grim futures for children who are exposed to trauma, substance abuse, abject poverty and environmental health risks. Some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and children born with special health care needs (24%) reside here. Approximately 80% of folks are on food stamps. Drug abuse is rampant. Apathy reigns. In Lee County schools, there is a "backpack program" in which children identified as high risk are discretely called to the school office and given a backpack of supplies to avoid starvation on the weekend. I got to see first-hand the "hollers"-small isolated miniature valleys,  and the living conditions in which poverty breeds depression , obesity,  and apathy.
How can we expect children to learn, grow, and find a better way unless we change this? There has to be hope for the future for these beautiful and proud people. Go Give Yoga has recently started a pilot program in Appalachia to bring the gifts of education and empowerment by training adults to offer yoga to schools, churches, and community centers. With much work, labor, logistics, and love Deborah Pennington of Red River Gorge Yoga, key community leaders and Maureen Heil put together the first GGY Appalachia Teacher Training Program. Ten people came together in great excitement for the future. Several are already reaching out into their communities! The goal is to double the amount of trainees, enabling even more children to access yoga. Change is possible for the future with hope for today.

July 2014

Go Give Yoga's Maureen Heil, delivers the first  children's yoga teacher training - a dream come true!

Last year when I first visited Appalachia, I was taken by the sheer, raw beauty of the rocks, mountains, and the people. Folks travel from around the globe to climb the rocks of the Red River Gorge and make no connection to the people that live there. The folks of Appalachia are a resilient and yet forgotten population. I met Deborah Pennington a local yoga teacher last year - she is such an asset to her community - and we talked; about the land, the people, and the challenges they face. We dared to dream about bringing yoga to the children of the area. We NEVER imagined it would happen….but it has! Without her none of this would of happened, and I thank her for her tireless efforts!!

After a year of scheming, long hours, and logistical planning between Board member Maureen Heil and Appalachian partner Deborah Pennington and the help of so many in the area, 10 adults traveled up to 80 miles to partake in children’s yoga teacher training.Space was donated, magic happened. The idea of offering the training for free, and in return  that participants will bring the gift of yoga and teach free classes to children in need in their communities is already coming to fruition;  several trainees have already taught their first class!
GGY Appalachia is looking forward to next year!

March 2015

Exciting  news! Go Give Yoga Appalachia Coordinator Maureen Heil,  is returning to facilitate another  training to bring mindfulness and yoga to community leaders & mentors that work with children. She will be accompanied by two volunteers-Shannon Somogyi & Christine Kub, both of who have extensive backgrounds in working with children and all three are chomping at the bit. Their trip is scheduled for July 12th-19th. Deborah Pennington, a leader and community strongpost is supporting this effort on the ground and coordinating logistics, and Joan Hall of Studio 8 in Huntingdon WV is hosting our team. Thank you for helping us to bring the joys of education & empowerment to children that otherwise might not have the experience. 

If you are interested in helping this project grow so that yoga can continue to reach those at risk in this beautiful yet vastly underserved region of our country, please consider visiting our volunteer page & making a donation for Appalachia!"

Please click on the thumbnail photo's below to see the full images. 



Stepping Stone Magazine - Donated 100 copies of the magazine
Scenic Cabin Rentals and Daniel Boone Trading Post
Congleton Hardware & the PEP Coalition
Cliffview Resort
Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals
Studio 33 

gogiveyoga_appalachaian_vision_statement gogiveyoga_appalachaian_vision_statement (454 KB)

Cumberland Mountain Outreach  

CMO is a faith based, non-profit, organization for children at risk in impoverished counties in the Appalachian Region. Bruce and Cindy Feller founded CMO in 2000 as a Kid’s Day Camp and a work camp to help low-income families meet basic home repair needs. In 2002 CMO became a recognized year-round mission station that supports low-income families by providing food, clothing, household items, home repairs, Kid’s Day Camp, and holiday gifts.

CMO is located two hours southeast of Lexington, KY, in the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest, just 20 miles south of the Natural Bridge State Park and the Red River Gorge, where poverty flourishes in natural beauty.   Read more…. Outreach www.cumberlandmountainoutreach.org     CMOKY.org

Go Give Yoga awarded a scholarship to Cindy Feller, to attend a YogaKids training session. She started an afterschool program in the Lee County School System in the Fall 2012.

Volunteer Go Give Yoga Donate Go Give Yoga About Go Give Yoga Projects Go Give Yoga Join Go Give Yoga Shop Go Give Yoga