SAN FRANCISCO -- The Healing WELL remains an oasis in the eye of a storm afflicting the Tenderloin, a neighborhood struggling through a state of emergency.
Founded in 2015, the nonprofit provides a wellness oasis for marginalized community members. The organization believes that access to yoga sessions, art classes, and healing programs isn't a luxury, but a human right.
"San Francisco is littered with things like yoga studios and day spas, but nothing in the Tenderloin," said Darren Main, board member at The Healing Well.
Main added, "I think one of the challenges we face when we look at marginalized populations is the need is so great on a basic human level like food, shelter, that we easily overlook those secondary needs that are just as important. Things that build our self-esteem."
The Healing WELL's holistic sessions are designed to address the body, mind, and spirit through movement, mindfulness practices, creative expression, social support, and more.
"Anyone can walk in, regardless of where they are, what they're carrying. We don't care what your age is, or your immigration status, or whether or not you have HIV, whatever it is, we just welcome people as they are," explained The Healing WELL Director Kathy Curran.
Powered by compassion and acceptance, the holistic programs offer unique opportunities for community members to overcome traumas and positively change their lives.
"I was in my addiction for 33 years. I went to The Healing WELL, and participated in the 12 Steps for Healing program," explained program graduate Carol Howard Walker. "I'm grateful to be almost four years in recovery. I love Carol today, you know, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face."
The organization's work supports their core belief: when people are mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually able to cope with the challenges of their everyday lives, and there are sufficient resources to address long-standing community needs, individuals can step forward towards their dreams.