Refugees to Receive Yoga Classes to Help with Mental Health and Community Integration

by | Jan 3, 2024 | Best of the Web, News Analysis, Commentary and Opinion

Yoga to Heal Refugees: Lutheran Services Carolinas’ New Pilot Initiative

While many will embrace lifestyle changes like fitness and diet this new year, refugees and immigrants face a deeper transformation: healing and rebuilding lives in a new country. WPDE News (Myrtle Beach) reports that Lutheran Services Carolinas, a faith-based nonprofit, is introducing a unique yoga-based program to aid individuals in vulnerable immigrant communities.

Jodie Shulster, the resettlement director at Lutheran Services Carolinas in Myrtle Beach, emphasizes the emotional trauma refugees and immigrants face. “They’ve suffered a lot of loss, as one can imagine. So when they come here, there’s a lot of healing they need to do… ,” she says. The organization’s new initiative, in partnership with Yoga Alliance, aims to integrate yoga into mental health services for these individuals.

Mental health benefits from Yoga, such as anxiety reduction and mood improvement, are well-documented. In reference to the yoga-for-refugees program, Shulster further explains,

“We want them [refugees] to thrive. We want them to connect and heal. And Yoga is a great accompaniment to that. It is a great resource in our toolbox for mental and physical health.”

Lutheran Services Carolinas aims to strengthen connections between the yoga community and these new residents. The pilot, starting in Myrtle Beach, is currently reaching out to local yoga studios to collaborate. Shulster explains,

“We’re designing the program and identifying yoga studios… to help our new Americans.”

Watch WPDE’s video and read their full report here.

(Below) Jodie Shulster, director of resettlement at Lutheran Services Carolinas, Myrtle Beach, discusses the new pilot Yoga program for inbound refugees. Watch report here.

Lutheran Services Carolinas Jodie Shulster Refugee Resettlement Director

Who is Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC)?

Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC) is an organization headquartered in Salisbury, North Carolina. It operates under the registered name of LSA Management, Inc., and encompasses several affiliates like Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas and Lutheran Home Wilmington Property, Inc. As a non-profit entity, LSC provides faith-based support to children, families, the elderly, and refugees and immigrants.

The organization’s ‘New Americans Program’ epitomizes its commitment to assisting refugees. This program, in collaboration with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and various local faith-based groups, focuses on welcoming refugees into the U.S. It extends help in the areas of securing housing, accessing public benefits, enrolling in schools, and planning for self-sufficiency. This program is actively engaged in several North Carolina cities including Asheville, Raleigh, and Salisbury, and extends its reach in South Carolina cities like Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach.

LSC’s presence in Wilmington, North Carolina is noteworthy, featuring three facilities with one located at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Sixth Street.

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