Our story

How did we get here?

In 2015 Roots2Rise founder, Tim Wagner was asked to teach yoga to men at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, a Philadelphia County jail that holds men awaiting trial. In 2016, Tim taught 80 classes to the men at CFCF. After one of his classes, an inmate approached him and asked, “Why are you here?” Tim started to answer, but was interrupted by the man who clarified, “I mean, why was this practice not available before I ended up here?  I needed you out there.” From that moment, Roots2Rise made an intentional shift to move away from in-facility programming to focus on community access and community service in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Roots2Rise has since partnered with schools, shelters, community centers, hospitals, businesses, service organizations, libraries, and parks and recreational facilities across the Philadelphia region to offer yoga and mindfulness to anyone who wants to come to a class.

In 2017 Roots2Rise facilitated over 900 classes to 7,200 participants.

Aside from the many physical benefits (I’m stronger, more flexible, sleep better, etc.) The very concepts of breathing and mindfulness have had the most impact. I think of how so many bad things in my community could be avoided if people thought before they acted.
— Andre Coles, student.
For our kids with serious social and emotional stressors, Roots2Rise gave them a set of tools to handle the emotions they had. We saw kids who were getting expelled, sending staff members to the hospital, learn how to use rock pose and get grounded. We saw teenage girls who didn’t know how to quiet their minds fall in love with guided meditation. Kids would stop me in the hall and ask when they could do yoga. Roots2Rise is not just yoga - it’s opening up a new world of possibilities.
— Kate Ryan, Martin Luther Silver Springs School Administrator

 why serve, why us?

Roots2Rise serves Philadelphia and the surrounding area. 

We believe in service. We work to meet every student, every person where they are with empathy, compassion and love. 

Our teachers have worked in correctional facilities, shelters, libraries, community centers, hospitals, schools, businesses, service organizations and city facilities. We believe in partnership and the creation of long term relationships that foster and cultivate community. 

Yoga has been beneficial to me in so many ways. It teaches patience, endurance, and strengthens the mind, body, and soul. I had no idea before I tried it. I thought it was for somebody else. I never thought it was for me. Yoga does so much. It strengthens the mind, not just the body but the soul. It takes you to a place you might not be able to go if it wasn’t for yoga.
— Anthony Wright, Student