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Freedom on the Inside (FOTI)

Freedom on the Inside (FOTI) is a partnership with the Learning Center at Red Willow. We provide weekly yoga classes to inmates in the Missoula County Jail. There is one men's class per week and two women's classes per week. Currently, this program is entirely staffed by volunteers but we are trying to move it in a direction that makes it more sustainable. To that end, we hope that you will help us by supporting this wonderful program.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to share the gifts of yoga with incarcerated individuals. We provide functional yoga instruction to students who are in the Missoula County Jail. Functional yoga focuses on basic movements that release tension, provide pain relief, and, most importantly, connect students to their breath.

FOTI recognizes that incarcerated individuals are members of a traumatized population and that they may not have been previously exposed to self-regulating tools like connecting to one's breath. We hope that yoga empowers our students to connect to their inner resources. And we hope that yoga helps our incarcerated students shed their shame and hold their heads high with dignity. Yoga teaches us that we have options—and options are empowering.

We are working on fundraising to meet our ogranization's needs and to provide better services. Our immediate needs are for more yoga blocks, printing resource brochures for students when they are released from jail, and for trauma-informed teacher training so that we can provide classes that best serve the unique needs of our students.

Our long-term vision is to use the jail program as an introduction to yoga and extend the program so that when students are released, they can continue yoga classes in the community and use yoga as a resource to help them rebuild their lives. It is our vision that yoga would be a compliment to other rehabilitative and mental health programsn that might be well-suited for the individual students' needs. We hope to collaborate with community organizatons that currently offer yoga or to bring yoga classes into community facilities that work with people after they are released from jail.

What We Do:

Freedom on the Inside is a group of 15 yoga teachers who volunteer their time to teach in the jail. They have attended the jail's volunteer training, created an orientation program to help teachers, and study how to best serve their students. FOTI teachers are scheduled weekly to lead the programs we currently offer in the jail.

How You Can Help:

You can help by making a contribution to our program and by liking our page on Facebook.

How Your Contributions Will Be Used:

Our immediate fundraising goal of $5,000 will allow us to host a trauma-informed teacher training for our teachers right here in Missoula. We are working with Yoga Behind Bars, Seattle's jail yoga program, to arrange this training.

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