Students at Madison La Follette High School have been fighting with each other, and Sabrina Madison wanted to take a proactive approach to stop it.
But Madison, founder of the Progress Center for Black Women, couldn't find resources in the community to help African-American girls in high school and middle school address trauma and anxiety or help them “manage their own anger and their own frustrations.”
She decided to create her own resource, and is collecting yoga mats and organizing free yoga classes this spring to give local African-American teens an avenue to self-care.
Plenty of enthusiasts sing the self-care praises of yoga, and there are plenty of studios around town where you can try it out. Research shows the practice can even be helpful for anxiety and depression, but yoga can come with barriers like class pricing and the lack of inclusive spaces. An African-American teen in Madison might walk into a studio where no one looks like them.
For her classes, which will start in April, Madison connected with African-American yoga instructors. She hopes the classes will allow girls of color to network with each other and build a community among themselves.
Madison said her pet peeve is programming for kids that doesn’t come with the necessary tools to participate or forces participants to borrow second-hand materials. So far, the community has donated about 120 mats out of the target 200.
Girls who take the class will also benefit from donated hygiene kits, to prevent them from avoiding class because they lack deodorant or menstrual products.
“I want to give them more reasons to say yes, than ‘I’m not going to do this,’” Madison said.
Madison is still collecting mats and hygiene supplies, which can be dropped off on the second floor of the Urban League of Greater Madison at 2222 S. Park St. or the second floor of Adorable at 123 E. Main St., during business hours.
The yoga initiative is just one program on Madison’s busy schedule. Coming up: in May, her annual Black Women’s Leadership Conference, a summer Black Business Expo and a skills bootcamp for entrepreneurs in August.