JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local organization is up for a sizable grant from a national company. Yoga 4 Change is the only group in the area within reach of $10,000 from KIND Snacks.
Kathryn Thomas got her yoga certificate in December 2012 and started the organization. In the past year, it's had a big impact on the Jacksonville community, breathing new life into people who wouldn't normally get a second chance.
"We started a program here with the veterans who are in the HUD-VASH. These are houseless vets who are dealing with every day living situations on top of physical ailments, disabilities, PTSD," said Thomas.
Yoga 4 Change doesn't stop there. She also works with at risk youth and people in correctional facilities.
"There's one inmate in particular, he was incarcerated for six years. He said to me he was scared about getting out. He's now 22. He hasn't been dealing with Facebook, he hasn't been dealing with cell phones. And here he is coming back into society, being released into the neighborhoods and streets that we're all walking down and driving down... And he said yoga is my new drug," said Thomas.
Thomas found yoga after struggling in her own life. She was a Navy helicopter pilot until she fell during deployment and broke her ankle. She was medically separated from the Navy.
"I wasn't going to be able to run, I was putting on weight, and there was really this chaos going on around me and I lost myself in it," said Thomas.
She says once she started yoga, she found a way to focus on her health, she started losing weight and feeling better. And now she wants to give that back to members of the Jacksonville community. Thomas is up for a $10,000 grant from KIND snacks.
"$10,000 is a game changer. We've already received $10,000 from the Riverside Hospital Foundation back in October, and that has propelled our organization to allow us to start paying our teachers, to allow us to expand our organization, and to allow us to buy mats for and provide those for our facilities," said Thomas.
Another $10,000 means even more mats, more teachers, and expansion into the community.
To vote for Yoga 4 Change, click here and fill in your email: Vote: Yoga 4 Change