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, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, 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 Director of Fundraising for five years and currently serves as the Director of Development. Since 2001, he has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to a diverse population including underserved 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 men's basketball team. He graduated with a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 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.
Andres Gonzalez is one of the Co-Founders of the Holistic Life Foundation. For eighteen 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 is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, maintains a B.S. in Marketing from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.
Jessica Wilson is the Executive Director of the Holistic Life Foundation. She is a Project Management Professional who specializes in helping organizations to develop and implement strategic goals, craft targeted communications, and achieve sustainable operational success. Jessica obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Emory University. As a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Jessica loves to use her passion for wellness to invest back into her community.
F. Cassie 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.
Kris Green is our Office manager and a yoga and mindfulness instructor, and has been working with the Holistic Life Foundation for 3 years. Born and raised in Baltimore, she has enjoyed working professionally with children and young adults in the community for the past 22 years. An amateur genealogist and avid hugger, she makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated. She is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Jamar Peete is the Manager of Executive Support. He has been a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation and was one of the original members involved in the Holistic Life Foundation’s Holistic Me after school program. He is currently a Mindful Moment Program Specialist at Liberty Elementary School. Jamar has traveled nationally and international, leading residency’s and conducting speaking engagements with HLF’s vision. Born and raised in West Baltimore, Jamar attended Limestone College in South Carolina after graduating from Walbrook High School. Receiving several accolades, he was honored First team All- American & Senior Captain of the 2014 National Lacrosse Championship team. He graduated with a BS in Business Administration and Sports Management and later obtained his Health Coaching certification with the Institute for Integrative Heath.
Ross Robinson is the Manager of Training, Program Implementation, and Quality at Holistic Life Foundation. He conducts on going staff training, workshops, and evaluates Holistic Life Foundation programming. Ross is certified in trauma-informed yoga through TCTSY's program. Traveling nationally, Ross leads residencies and conducts speaking engagements on HLF's mission. He is also a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Ross started off his mindfulness journey with the Holistic Life Foundation 13 years ago as a volunteer while in High School. After graduation he attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as an English major and Marketing minor. 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. He felt unfulfilled while working in sales, consulting, and marketing. This led him to go back to his roots working full time with the Holistic Life Foundation. In this present journey with HLF has brought back the complete feeling of self purpose within him while he serves his community. Ross is on path for continued growth with Holistic Life Foundation, while beginning to implement his own community programs.
Aaron Reichel is a Baltimore native who is passionate about empowering individuals and communities in his hometown. Aaron received his Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland - Baltimore and has spent the majority of his professional career providing community-based mental health services all over the city. Over the years, he developed his own mindfulness practice and began to infuse mindfulness approaches into his therapeutic work. Aaron has long admired the work of HLF and joined the Holistic family in 2019 to lead our Holistic Roots program for middle and high school students. Aaron is committed to creating engaging programming and comprehensive supports to nurture the health and wellbeing of young people in our program. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys cooking, running, graphic design and listening to music of all kinds.
Phoebe Haupt is our Regional Director, South Florida Office.
Her expertise lies at the intersection of wellness service delivery and mindful community development. She began her career in community development as a bridge builder, seeking to build relationships between diverse communities. To her work she brings a passionate commitment to working with her colleagues to bring our world closer to fulfilling the dream of equality. She began studying and practicing Asset- Based Community Development in 2001. In her career in this field, she has found that many well-intentioned leaders and service-providers do not collaborate with the community as they design their programs for those “in-need.” Far too often, either in theory and/or practice, these providers fail to truly value & benefit from the wisdom and real life experience of local people on the ground. Her unique approach to mindful community development requires the local community to play a key role in designing, facilitating and agreeing to all work and collaboration that will take place in their community.
Elijah Anderson is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation and was one of the initial participants in the Holistic Me program. He is a teacher, mentor, and successful coach who wants to give back to the community where he is from.
Loraine Arikat is a yoga instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation. She is a daughter of immigrants from Kerala, India. Loraine takes pride in all the homes that have shaped her: Ohio, Iowa, Chicago, Washington, and now Baltimore. Through yoga, she found a home in herself and hopes to share this with youth.
Devin Branch was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and graduated from Renaissance Academy High School in 2016. He is an aspiring model, dancer, and choreographer who has held his own dance classes to give youth the opportunity to express themselves through the love of dance. Devin was part of our recent Workforce Development Program and is excited to bring mindfulness, his positive energy, and his familiarity of living in Baltimore to the youth.
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 Holistic Life Foundations 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 the Holistic Life Foundation. Ra’mon’s other main interest is permaculture and environmental conservation. He recently attended a residential permaculture study course with the help of the Holistic Life Foundation, and is currently seeking to complete his bachelor’s degree in the field.
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. He 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 hip hop artist currently signed to M.A.M Records (Motivated Artist Making Records). He hopes to inspire people as he works to advance his career.
Dimaun Coleman is a Yoga Instructor for the Holistic Life Foundation. He was born and raised in east Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Baltimore City College High School in the year 2016, and has been a member of the HLF family every since summer of 2016. He has musical experience with every percussion instrument, and has spread the teachings of yoga and percussion to multiple different sites in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mel Freeman is a yoga teacher with the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. He initially began his yoga career by attending a couples yoga night with his wife, Carol, where most of the other men in the room were there to keep their wives happy as well. The night ended with some acro-yoga with his wife holding him in the air. After a few more classes his wife decided to take him on a yoga retreat which is where he began to truly understand the amazing healing and transformation that accompanied a regular yoga practice. As life progresses we encounter highs and lows and sometimes we don't know how to manage the lows but fortunately, Yoga, helped him battle depression due to a cancer scare and a very stressful job. Once he began practicing yoga regularly, he started to hear about the journeys of other Yogis and began to consider becoming a yogi himself.
Candace Glover is a yoga teacher with the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. Drawn to the mission of promoting positive community and holistic knowledge, this Washingtonian native relocated from the DC area to work for HLF. With a 200-accredited hour certification as a RYT and a passion for all things yoga, she flexes her yogic muscles every day by empowering others through versatile mindfulness practices while stimulating the hearts and minds of Baltimore's youth. This former flight attendant uses her worldly influence and desire for mixing things up to engage students as they explore the 8 limbs of yoga. Candace seeks to provide an authentic outlook on the holistic approach by leading by example. Candace studied human services and general studies at Stevenson University.
Jamaal Hawkins joined HLF in 2017. As a Baltimore native, Jamaal uses his knowledge as a former youth football couch and the familiarity of being in his old stomping grounds as a characteristic to empower the youth of his hometown. Through yoga and mindfulness, Jamaal has learned the value of self-care and the gift of being present in the moment. This addage has increased benefit in allowing Jamaal to truly give back to the city that raised him while insuring that all of the adolescents he encounters see the beauty in existing in the present. Jamaal is happiest when spending time with his family. Before all is said and done, he hopes to be able to visit every major Sports Hall of Fame Center and crossing it off his bucket list.
Visharad Moktan serves as a Yoga Instructor with the Holistic Life Foundation. He was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and raised in Nepal, Brunei, and England. He and his family moved from Nepal and settled in Baltimore, MD in early 2005. Yoga and meditation has always been a big part of his family’s culture. He vividly remembers— as a very young boy, his grandfather and uncle teaching him how to meditate. In 2015, after experiencing chronic back pain, he went back to his roots and began practicing yoga and became an avid meditator because of anxiety. Yoga and mindfulness has become a part of his lifestyle and the practice has made profound changes in many areas of his life especially with mindset. He has graduated from Towson University with a B.S in Health Education and Promotion with a specialization in community health. He loves to share his passion for health and well-being, yoga and mindfulness to uplift and inspire individuals of all ages. He aims to help others achieve the empowering and life-changing experiences that can be gained through yoga and mindfulness as he did.
Veronica Smith is 28 years old and has been working with HLF for 5+ years but she has had yoga around her whole life. Her dad would wake her up first thing in the morning and do a bunch of different exercises and she was always intrigued by what he was doing? When she joined HLF it was a different direction of what she was used too, but it opened her mind to a world of beautiful things & people. She is currently at Fort Worthington Elementary with our mindful moment program. She also teaches yoga at our after school program for grades K-5.
Sara Buth Waire is a Yoga Teacher with Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. She was born in Thailand and raised in Upstate NY. Her family fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and settled in the US as Refugees in the early 1980s. Meditation was always a big part of her family’s culture and everyday life. Sara found a regular yoga practice after many years of chronic back pain as an adult and hasn’t looked back. She began teaching Yoga in 2018 after receiving her RYT-200Hr in Ashtanga based yoga. Sara teaches yoga in the community to help share the healing, calming, and empowering benefits of yoga.