Kula for Karma, a 501(c)3 providing mindfulness-based mental health care to people experiencing trauma, addiction, and mental health issues, is innovating in response to the national mental health emergency precipitated by the pandemic.
Founder Geri Topfer, a pioneer of teaching life-changing mindfulness skills to people in crisis, is retiring, tapping Jenni Crumpton-Ross as President and CEO.
“Jenni’s experience in social justice strategy and nonprofit leadership, and her training in mindfulness, trauma and mental health, perfectly position her to lead Kula,” Topfer said.
“The traditional system is strained, and the dire state of mental health requires accessible, equitable, affordable, effective mental health options, especially for underserved and at-risk people,” explained Crumpton-Ross.
“Kula’s mission is to make mental health a human right. We do so by teaching marginalized, under-resourced people how trauma impacts their bodies and behaviors, while giving them the skills to change their trajectory with proven practices. We believe every human deserves the space and tools to understand and manage their mental health.”
Kula’s programs pick up where therapy leaves off, directly addressing the effects of trauma in the body via a combination of awareness, movement and breath with a mind-body-spirit approach. They teach children, teens, and adults how to identify triggers and stress responses, calm the nervous system, balance emotions, cultivate clarity and focus for improved decision-making, and create new neural pathways to establish healthy, supportive patterns.
Kula recently opened new programs with Doe Fund in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx, to benefit the formerly incarcerated, and housing and food insecure. Students struggling in schools post-pandemic and communities traumatized by gun violence are priorities.
In 2024, new programs will specifically address the unique traumas of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. “Histories of oppression and discrimination create ancestral and familial trauma passed along generations and social locations. Mindfulness-based mental health offers healing modalities shown to guide us out of fight or flight survival mode and change the expression of DNA to empower and heal,” she said.