Sunday Karma Class Spotlight - One Voice Nashville

Shakti’s Sunday 3pm Karma class donations will benefit One Voice Nashville through the end of June. Here, OVN Founder Mary Margaret Randall shares what this nonprofit means to her, and highlights the importance of building community and supporting youth in Nashville. Learn more about One Voice Nashville HERE.

“What do you do besides teach yoga?”

I get this question a lot.

In a nutshell, I help youth tell their story. This is all through a nonprofit organization I created in 2016 called One Voice Nashville. We teach storytelling and narrative journalism skills to middle and high school students in order to build bridges and close gaps in our community.

Here’s a glimpse of a special moment at one of our sites -

Place: The Juvenile Detention Center, right beside the Titans Stadium

Student: We will call him “Jason”.

Jason was most definitely the persistent one of the group, the one that stuck with the process throughout all the moments where he would give up writing after only a minute. We would be at the beginning of a writing prompt during our group session, something like, “Write about time you said no.” Or, “Write about your favorite meal…”. And after about a minute, he would drop his pencil, lounge back in his seat and explosively and unapologetically announce to the room, “I’m DONE.” Now, something you should know about Jason is he is a person of many words. And while he doesn’t always prefer to write his words on paper, he is a talented rapper, he is very social, and more than once if you were to sit in our circle, he would say, “I just want to talk it out.” And we did a bit of that too. With a little encouragement toward Jason, whether it be a birthday card or a one-on-one, whispery conversation at his desk while the rest of the group would write, he created a lot of rich, authentic storytelling content that season. He told a story about meeting his dad when he was a teenager on the basketball court in his neighborhood. He wrote a poem about enjoying and even craving personal meditation time in jail. He wrote a final piece titled, “A Letter to My Future Self” asking if he would see himself in college some day.

Here’s the thing: It is easy to get lost in our social bubbles and get comfortable. But if I have learned anything from community work as well as practicing and teaching yoga, it is that we all need to get uncomfortable every once in a while. Otherwise, we would never learn, and that, my friends, is a tragedy.

One Voice Nashville is about sitting down with a young person and giving them space to share their story.

Will you join me?