Bidyut (BK) Bose has been honored with a Jefferson Award for his visionary leadership as executive director of the Niroga Institute, a two-year Full Circle Fund grantee. The Jefferson Awards for Public Service were co-founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and others to honor volunteerism and community outreach throughout the United States. BK's important work at Niroga has brought to light the critical need to put students first, and teach them transformational skills that enable them to be more receptive to learning.
BK left a successful career as a technology executive in Silicon Valley to launch the Niroga Institute in 2005. His goal was to create a vehicle to bring Transformative Life Skills (TLS) – including mindful movement, breathing and meditation techniques – to at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations who would not otherwise have access to these practices.
Research has shown that youth who practice TLS experience less stress and display better self-control than their peers. As a result, TLS is increasingly being viewed as a powerful vehicle for positive youth development impacting both education and mental health, and as a front-line prevention and intervention strategy for violence reduction.
Watch the CBS-5 News report on BK receiving the Jefferson Award.
Full Circle Fund's engagement with Niroga began in 2008 and provided partial funding for a pilot program with 470 students in Richmond, California. The findings were published and presented nationally and helped make the case for the effectiveness of Niroga's approach to reducing stress and building self-control in both low-achieving and high-achieving students.
In the second year, Project Co-Leads Fred Schnider and Clayton Yee continued to support Niroga's public relations, development, and marketing efforts, and helped produce a compelling seven minute video (see below) showing the human face of the work Niroga does with at-risk youth. Full Circle Fund's grant allowed the hiring of an experienced documentary filmmaker to produce, direct and shoot the video, which is now used as a key marketing tool.
Currently, Niroga teachers are reaching more than two thousand students every week in bay area public schools, alternative schools, juvenile court placements, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and other settings where the skills they teach are needed the most and can have the greatest impact.
"This award is a great recognition for BK and the Niroga Institute, and it comes at a time when we have been working to communicate their impact and strengthen their sustainability and fundraising capacity," said Project Co-Lead Fred Schnider.
As a result of his involvement with Niroga, Fred was inspired to join the organization's Board of Directors.