Yoga Behind Bars (YBB) is proud to announce the selection of Julian Saucier as the organization’s new executive director.
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen to serve as the next executive director of Yoga Behind Bars. From the day that I was introduced to this organization I fell in love with the impactful work that it does. I know we are making a difference in people’s lives who are far too often discarded by a broken system,” Julian said.
Julian comes to YBB from RI International of Washington State, a nonprofit mental health crisis services firm empowering individuals in recovery, where he spent eight years as a peer counselor and support services manager. Throughout most of his tenure at RI, Julian also served on YBB’s board of directors including most recently as board chair. Previously, Julian worked in information technology for America West Airlines, Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Chicago Public Schools and the New York State Department of Health. He also owned and operated two small businesses in Arizona.
In addition to his rich business and nonprofit experience, the board is pleased to share that the organization will, for the first time in its history, be led by someone who reflects the students we serve, and who has been personally impacted by yoga as an incarcerated person. Julian learned yoga while incarcerated for several years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and says practicing yoga personally changed his life.
“When I started practicing yoga, it was the first time I started realizing I’m still part of humanity, I’m still breathing the same air. I could focus on the future. Instead of negativity, it allowed me to see all that was positive and I believe everyone deserves to feel that way. Everyone deserves to feel valued,” he said.
YBB credits this successful match to the search committee and community of volunteers who dedicated countless hours to identifying a candidate who aligns with the organization’s mission and values. The careful executive director selection process involved input not only from the board and staff, but volunteer and incarcerated teachers, as well as alumni of YBB’s programs, who participated at every level of the process.
“Through the search process for our next executive director, it became clear that Julian embodies YBB’s values of integrity, humility, social justice, excellence, and connection. Julian’s compassionate approach to management, passionate advocacy, and experience with the complexities of the criminal justice system will help guide the organization into its second decade of service to our students. The board is deeply excited for Julian’s leadership into the next chapter of this organization,” said Board Chair Dr. Erin Stuckey.
Julian would like to acknowledge YBB’s previous leaders and current staff who have been critical in laying the strong foundation for success during the first ten years of the organization’s existence.
“I look forward to working with the talented people involved in this organization to grow together and to continue supporting our students in amazing ways,” Julian said
For me, the idea of a second chance couldn’t be more real. For some impacted by the criminal legal system, they were never given a first chance, never mind a second.
While YBB is a direct service organization, we cannot sit on the sidelines of social change and criminal legal reform. We owe it to the people and communities we serve.
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