“Nurturing the leader in every girl” is the powerful promise of Foundation for Girls (FFG), a local, youth-led social venture that aims to change the life trajectory for at-risk and vulnerable youth.
Dedicated volunteer Everette Oxrider leads by example.
What started as a Service Learning Project quickly turned into a one of a kind experience for Everette who is now a Youth Ambassador and Visual Meditation and Yoga instructor for FFG. Everette is a perfect example of how volunteering can not only enrich the lives of those touched by an organization, but also the volunteers themselves.
Everette’s story is a true testimony to the rewards of volunteering and her experience is best put in her own words as she described her first day sitting down with the young girls at FFG: “The girls’ vibrant enthusiasm and eagerness to soak up every bit of the present moment reinforce what yoga is truly all about. Similar to any new teacher, bubbling with excitement to share all of this newfound knowledge, it took some serious willpower to bite my tongue and refrain from dumping everything I’d learned on these pre-teens all at once. As we sat in a circle during our first session, legs folded in lotus pose, knees touching, hands clasped together, exchanging our “internal weather-forecasts” for the day, I suddenly realized, “this is yoga.” It was that simple. I recalled back to the definition of yoga which is derived from the root word ‘yuj’ in sanskrit, meaning union. The connection, the conversation, the friendship; this was yoga.”
Just as Everette had influence over the young girls, she described the way in which the girls brought to light a revelation for her in return: “Our sessions weren’t about how many poses we could learn in a day; in fact, for the first handful of sessions, tree pose seemed to be the only pose anyone was interested in learning. It was undoubtedly a humbling experience for me to realize that the growth, both for the girls and for me, stemmed from cultivating strong roots by revisiting the basics.”
Founder and CEO of Foundation for Girls, Shreya Mantha, says Everette “has always brought infectious energy with her,” adding that she is also “extremely culturally aware and sensitive” and “can strike a dialogue with any of the refugee or homeless youth.” Mantha also speaks about Everette’s versatility as a volunteer by saying “with equal ease, she can calm a crowd, and she is very flexible both figuratively and literally in going from yoga to visual meditation to supporting a digital literacy class.”
Mantha says “Everette volunteers her time with a smile, is fun to be around, and is now part of the FFG family.”
***(Fun fact: Everette found the volunteer opportunity with Foundation for Girls through SHARE Charlotte’s website. Let that inspire you, go forth and DO GOOD.)