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Ali Smith co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation in 2001, where he currently serves as Executive Director. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, College Park, receiving a BS in Environmental Science and Policy with a Biodiversity specialization. He has over 15 years of experience teaching yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations. Through his work at the Holistic Life Foundation he has helped develop and pilot yoga and mindfulness programs at public and private schools, drug treatment centers, juvenile detention centers, mental crisis facilities, and retreat centers, nationally and internationally. Ali has authored a series of children’s books, and co-authored several yoga and mindfulness based curriculum’s, as well as developed numerous workshops and training’s. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News as well as Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, and many other publications.
Atman Smith is a Co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, where he served as Director of Youth Programming for ten years and currently serves as the Director of Fundraising. Atman is also Co-Founder and Co-CEO of For the people Entertainment. For the past eleven years, Atman has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to a diverse population including undeserved and high-risk youth in Baltimore City Public Schools, drug treatment centers, wellness centers, and colleges. A native of Baltimore, Atman attended the University of Maryland, College Park where he was a letter award winner for the University’s basketball team. He graduated with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Andres Gonzalez has been the Co-Founder and Marketing Director for the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. in Baltimore, MD since 2001. For sixteen years, Andres has taught yoga to diverse populations throughout the world, including Baltimore City Public School students, drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, wellness centers, colleges, private schools and other various venues throughout the nation and throughout the world. He has partnered with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and the Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a Stress and Relaxation Study and is a published author in the Journal of Children’s Services. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications. He maintains a B.S. in Marketing from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.
Fredine C. Sifford-Smith is currently the Director of Programs at the Holistic Life Foundation. Cassie, was educated in Baltimore Maryland, where she earned a degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University and a Masters in Education from Coppin State University. She has 30 years of professional experience in developing, implementing, sustaining, and evaluating prevention and intervention programs for youths. For over 14 years coordinated and strategically facilitated the implementation and the sustainability of social emotional competency program PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) in the Baltimore City Public Schools.
Rachel Voss – (RYT-200) supports the operations and administration of Holistic Life Foundation. Prior to joining HLF, Rachel spent ten years at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) in Washington, DC. During her time at MBA, Rachel served as a Policy Analyst in the Government Affairs department and eventually transitioned to a Program Manager in MBA’s Education department. She also managed conferences within MBA’s Meetings department. Rachel completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Spiritual Essence Yoga (Upper Marlboro, MD) in 2013 and began immediately teaching classes upon receiving her certification. In February 2015, she decided to take a leap of faith and left the corporate world to pursue Yoga teaching full-time. Having always had a desire to do community-based work, Rachel was led to HLF and joined the team in July 2015. Originally (and proudly) from New Jersey, Rachel received her B.A. in Criminal Justice from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and her Master’s in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC. Rachel is a Mommy to a beautiful son and a self-proclaimed writer. She is excited to see where the future will take her.
Kirk Philips is a site coordinator with Holistic Life Foundation for both Robert Coleman Elementary and Patterson High's Mindful Moment Programs. He began his work in mindfulness with HLF as a volunteer 6 years ago. Since then he has received a Mindfulness Fundamentals Certificate with Mindful Schools Organization. He went on to study curriculum training as well as complete the Mindful Schools first ever Year -Long Teacher Training Course. This training lead to a two year stint with Johns Hopkins University on a research study called Project D-Stress, the results were published in 2016. The study took place in some of the most diverse and underserved areas of the city, serving primarily high risk youths. Everything came full circle when Kirk took a full time position right back where it all began, returning to Holistic Life. Kirk holds a B.S. in Finance from Towson University, and obtained a Series 7 License to sell securities. He has also been a lifelong performing musician.
Adam Candelaria is the Site Coordinator for the Holistic Me after school program at Robert W. Coleman Elementary where he and his staff mentor and support over 150 students from underserved communities, teaching them mindfulness and coping techniques to deal with stress and trauma. He also coordinates with partners to bring in enrichments to cultivate skills and interests within students. Adam has been with Holistic Life foundation since October 2015 where he first started as an art teacher. He taught students, Pre-K through 5th grade how to screen print graphic t-shirts and the importance of doing what you love to make a living. Adam also freelances as a graphic designer and has produces graphic t-shirts, bumper stickers, and more for the Holistic Life Foundation. Since starting with HLF, Adam has also embraced what it means to be mindful, and the yoga practice. Through the reciprocal teaching model that HLF uses, Adam now teaches yoga and mindfulness too.
Larry Jackson is a freelance cinematographer in his early 20’s who was born, raised and continues to live in West Baltimore. Often referred to as a cinematographer-prodigy by his peers, mentors and colleagues, his first experience with filmmaking was in the 5th grade with the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF), an after school program. There the founders, his only support system at the time, gave Larry a video camera and a safe place to practice filming. Larry later interned at the Mayor’s Office of Cable and Communications during his senior year of high school. Soon after, Dr. Andres Alonso, the former CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, hired Larry as a paid intern to work as a videographer and editor at the Education Channel. Some of Larry’s recent and current clients include: Governor’s Campaign for Re-election; Democratic Governor’s Association; Ted Talks; Discovery Channel; 12 O’Clock Boys feature documentary; Mario Armstrong CNBC (shown on CNN website); Indiegogo (shown on Huffington Post); Reggie Wells (Oprah’s long time make-up artist); and Raw Honey Films the company producing the Wings Documentary. Larry began filming for the Wings Documentary six years ago when he was studying Filmmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art MICA). Larry has also taught video skills to young boys and girls in Sonja Sohn’s ReWired for Change, a non-profit located in East Baltimore. Currently, Larry is a mentor with the Holistic Life Foundation, teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to youth, adults and the elderly facing inner city challenges.
Kent Tindal is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation, as well as a freelance actor. He currently works full time as a Mindful Moments Program Specialist at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School. Kent was first exposed to mindfulness, yoga and the work of HLF while in high school, through his friend Jamar Peete (a mentee of Ali, Atman and Andy). Since he has attended several training retreats with HLF and has delved deeper into contemplative practices. Kent also draws on his experience working with Baltimore City Parks and Recreations Department as a youth activities coordinator, leading drama and acting classes for K-12 students. In the future Kent hopes to further his acting career in film, television and Broadway.
Jazmine Blackwell is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation, as a well as a freelance model and model coach. She currently works full time as a Mindful Moment Program Specialist at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School. Born and raised in West Baltimore, Jazmine was first exposed to contemplative practice by her father. Throughout her late teens and early twenties, she maintained a personal yoga and mindfulness practice as a means of centering herself in daily life. Jazmine attended her first official training as a yoga instructor in 2014, through HLF’s Yoga and Urban Youth retreat at the Omega Institute. Outside of her work with HLF, Jazmine uses mindfulness as a tool coaching aspiring models, and is especially interested in using contemplative practice to enrich the lives of young women.
Ramon Brown is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation and currently works full time as a Mindful Moment Program Specialist at Robert W. Coleman Elementary School. Ra’mon first met Ali, Atman and Andy as a second grade student in 2002. Since, he has developed a deep personal relationship with the organization, as well as a personal yoga practice that has allowed him to navigate the many challenges of growing up in West Baltimore. He has participated in the HLF mentoring program as both a mentor and mentee, taught yoga to the Digital Harbor High School track team, and has attended several yoga teacher development retreats with HLF. Ra’mon’s other main interest is permaculture and environmental conservation. He recently attended a residential permaculture study course with the help of HLF, and is currently seeking to complete his bachelor’s degree in the field.
Jamar Peete is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation and was one of the original members involved in HLF’s after school program. He is currently a Mindful Moment Program Specialist at Patterson High School He was born and raised in West Baltimore and attended Limestone College in SC after attending Walbrook High School. He was a First team All- American & Senior Captain of the 2014 National Lacrosse Championship team. He graduated with a BS in Business Administration and Sports Management.
Terrance Blizzard is in training to become a yoga instructor and is currently working at Holistic Me After School Program at Robert W.Coleman Elementary School and worked the Holistic Me Summer Program at Robert W. Coleman. Terrence graduated from W.E.B Dubois High School in 2004 and completed Computer Literacy At BCCC in 2005. Terrence was born and raised in East Baltimore and is very active in the community and loves to give back to those in need and be a inspiration to youth. He is also an inspiring dedicated hip hop artist currently signed to M.A.M Records (Motivated Artist Making Records). He plans to further his music career as far as possible and at the same time be a inspiration to the whole entire world.
Jerron Wallace is a yoga instructor and mindfulness consultant for the holistic life foundation. He is currently working full time as a holistic me after school program located on site at Lillie May Carroll Jackson charter school Elementary school. He also conducts site visits at City Springs Elementary/Middle School where he teaches the students mindfulness practices in order to assist the children in their everyday scholastic lives. Jerron graduated from Walbrook senor high school in 2009, after that he attended Frostburg State University in western Maryland were he joined the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. He was also an event planner at the university, helping to create lasting events for the student body and staff alike. Jerron was born and raised in west Baltimore and has an affinity for helping others. He hopes that his time with the holistic life is as beneficial for the students that he visits as well as for himself.
Steven Carson is a yoga instructor, teaching young people in Baltimore City schools to manage their level of stress in healthy, productive, and positive ways. He has conducted structured yoga and meditation classes for pre-K through 12th grade. Last year Steven worked in Baltimore Community Middle/High School, City Springs Elementary/Middle, Coleman Elementary, and Dallas F. Nichols Elementary. While Steven predominantly works with high-risk youth from low-income neighborhoods, he also has experience teaching yoga to children that have special needs and impaired cognitive abilities. He incorporates mindfulness into other creative activities with youth, including gardening and playing chess. His personal experiences have taught him patience and empathy when working in Baltimore City public schools. Steven has started several small businesses in the Baltimore Area and graduated from the University of Baltimore in 2014 with Bachelors in Business and Psychology. His present and future lies in education, community development, environmentalism, and social justice. He is enhancing his experience in teaching yoga and hopes to eventually develop mindfulness curriculum. In the upcoming year he will greatly expand his own understanding of Mindfulness and deepen his study of Hindi and Sanskrit. He intends to bring back what he learns in India, a country rich in mindfulness history and culture, to further build on HLF’s curriculum here in Baltimore.
Ross Robinson is a yoga and mindfulness coach at Holistic Life Foundation. Ross currently works primarily at Patterson high school and Kids Safe Zone community center. He started off his mindfulness journey with Holistic 13 years ago volunteering while he attended high school. He then attended college at UMES university majoring in English and minored in marketing. After college he ventured off into the sales industry. Wanting more of a challenge he took on the job of becoming a brand consultant for Vium brand and marketing group. Feeling a void in his life he decided to go back to his roots and work full time with Holistic Life Foundation. Working with Holistic has brought back the complete feeling of self purpose within him while he serves his community. He wants to continue to just grow with Holistic Life Foundation while in the future implementing his own community programs.
Kwame Bey is a staff member of the Mindful Moment Program at Robert W. Coleman. The arts in general have been an anchor throughout his development and guided him to receive a degree in Theatre from Morgan State University. For 5+ years he was Technical Director and Production Designer for The Arena Players, and was also the Technical Director for The Negro Ensemble Company. He was the first Production Manager/designer to put any kind of set on the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall stage. One aspect of my directing career is an ability to work with new playwrights to help them mold their visions which he continues to do with the youth at Coleman. In business, he was a partner in a scenic production company and is Currently President and CEO of JAG Productions Inc. He also is an educator recently teaching Business, Finance and Accounting in Baltimore City Public Schools.
Anthony "Akewi" Barnes is a Yoga and Mindfulness instructor for the Holistic Life Foundation. As a Baltimore native his life experiences, skills, and personality allow him to really connect with his clients. He is a professional, young, activist and poet that never foresaw yoga in his future, but now, everyday mentors youth ages 5 to 17. Since working for the Holistic Life Foundation he has tapped into a side of himself that makes him feel relevant. "Everyday I work to become greater. I teach my students that they are not simply the future, but the now."