Our Young Yogis teacher J Woods has landed a full-time job at the Little Gym in Glenview doing what he loves most — working as a yoga teacher with kids!
“Working with kids has always been my passion because preserving a child’s creativity and encouraging their thoughts and ideas matter to me,” J said. “I wanted to expand and learn of new ways to work with the kids and help them build while trying to build myself too. Most people go to work just go get a pay check, but I actually love what I do every day. I love giving the kids something to look forward to. I believe working with kids you should always encourage them and inspire them to be their best.”
We remember when he just started getting involved in I Grow Chicago three years ago, discovering his love of yoga and working with children. In 2017, we were able to send J to a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Kenya with Africa Yoga Project. The following year, we sent him to Virginia to study children’s yoga through Radiant Child Yoga. He has also participated in trauma yoga trainings with the Baptiste Foundation at the Peace House. Throughout the past three years, he has been involved at points with every single one of our children’s programs – Life After School, Summer of Hope, and Young Yogis. Through our partner Spikeball, he worked in schools and at community centers teaching children his own mix of yoga and Spikeball, further nurturing his teaching skills.
He has shown up, even when things were difficult. There were times that were especially difficult, and he persevered. We have seen him develop incredible strength and resilience. J is hustling for himself, for the children, and for our future. Now, after three years of hard work, of falling down and getting back up again, we are so proud to share that J is teaching yoga to children full time and making a living doing it. And, because he loves his community so much, he has built his schedule so he can continue to teach preschool children at the Mitzi Freidheim Center with our Young Yogis program and in our monthly rotation of community yoga teachers at Kusanya Yoga. He dreams of opening his own dance yoga studio one day, and we cannot wait until the day he does. 
J, we love you. We are so proud of you. We are honored to be a small part of your journey. We know that 2020 is your year and that you are up to big things.