As adults, we're often concerned with the stress that comes with living grown-up life. We sometimes think that kids don't have a worry or care in the world. But that's not always the case.

Children have a lot to be stressed about, and when children live in poverty, that stress increases exponentially. In Detroit, 60% of the children live in poverty, causing not only stress, but health issues.

Over one-third of Detroit's children are overweight or obese. Since physical education is not a requirement in Michigan, some schools have made the difficult decision to reduce budget for gym class. Because of this, some children in Detroit schools are unable to get the physical activity they need to be healthy. That’s where Work It Out comes in.

The mission of Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out in partnership with the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan (DKWIO) is to promote optimum health in mind, body and spirit through a comprehensive yoga-based approach that reduces anxiety, prevents childhood obesity and increases self-esteem.

DKWIO uses yoga and nutrition education to teach Detroit students the skills they need to lead healthier lives. Lessons cover a wide array of topics, from physical (Energy, Healthy Heart) to social-emotional (Awareness, Gratitude).

At the conclusion of the ten-week program, the children receive their very own yoga mat, student workbook and certificate of completion. These tools allow them to continue their lessons at home. The workbooks illustrate the yoga poses in fun and colorful ways, and healthy recipes are included for the students to try with their families. There is also an “Off the Mat” portion that encourages the children to apply the lessons to their everyday lives.

Take it from one elementary school student. She enjoys Work It Out because yoga helps her feel healthier, and it’s also a way for her to connect with her family:

“Yoga helps me feel healthier. It makes me feel relaxed, joyful, and playful, usually. And it’s really fun, ‘cuz I get to teach my family everything that I know about yoga. But usually, my sisters and brothers don’t like yoga. They just play games and eat ice cream sometimes, usually. And I really don’t like that ‘cuz I wanna stay healthy every day, and eat proteins, grains, dairies and all that. We have healthy people and not healthy people, so I wanna help people get healthier.”

For #GivingTuesday, DKWIO is partnering with local yoga studios. The owners of these studios all share the belief of the transformative power of yoga. They are taking either Thanksgiving or #GivingTuesday to use the theme of gratitude in special yoga sessions. In these sessions, the teacher will lead the students through series of asanas while meditating on gratitude and thankfulness for what one has in life. The proceeds of these donated classes will go to DKWIO.

We are thankful for this community support to help with our mission! To learn more about Work It Out, visit kidsworkitout.org. To donate to DKWIO’s #GivingTuesday campaign, visit https://igg.me/at/-AXbMaUe1jI