For some, the attraction is found in the sun-drenched beaches. For others, it’s the hypnotic flow and rhythmic sounds of the music. But for Subhadra Bowman, her homeland of Jamaica signifies the place she began a soulful expression of life and a deep-rooted sense of strength, fortitude and stability. She’s a woman devoted to giving back to the country that awakened her commitment to grow beyond the defined.
“Jamaicans simply don’t know the word no,” Subhadra says. “It’s about staying power—a stick-to-it-ness. My early years in Jamaica taught me there’s nothing that I can’t accomplish. Sometimes that means moving beyond normal expectations to reach within to a place where new answers can be found, where we can find a fresh and different application.”
Subhadra—whose name symbolizes the divine mother past, present and future—is most definitely a woman who walks a “where there’s a will there’s a way” philosophy; and it’s this path that fuels her passion to return to Jamaica and launch the next phase of her dedication: to positively impact the lives of youth. Well-known for the “yoga for kids” movement she helped to implement throughout the Los Angeles school system, her Your Kids Organization has inspired and empowered children through the art and philosophy of yoga since 1997. Through this organization, Subhadra heads up the building of Bowman Annex in Jamaica, a child-care center and performing arts school.
“We are placed here to make a difference. With every contribution, we truly are creating change in the world.”
For Subhadra, it’s a contribution that takes form as a vision to provide the children of Jamaica new opportunities. This includes creating a facility—slated to be unveiled in the summer of 2008—that will house after school programs including yoga and dance, a computer learning center and child-care for children 18 months to five years of age.
Her focus is equally pointed to another program dear to her heart, the YKO Student International Exchange Program. This program is dedicated to giving young adults a head start in intercultural communication by encouraging an exploration and understanding of people around world. SIEP allows at-risk high school juniors and seniors from Los Angeles to travel to other countries for a four-week educational study program. The first of this program launches in August 2007.
“The program is unique in the sense that it blends different tools to help youth become responsible adults,” Subhadra says. “It includes a study of cultural diversity, peer mediation and teamwork skill-building, study of nutrition and yoga, plus financial planning and dress-to-succeed workshops.”
Students are selected by teachers based on their commitment to success and growth. To qualify for SIEP, these students have overcome obstacles and have already worked to change adversity into opportunity.
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