Our Mission

YOUTH HORIZONS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing awareness practices to youth, with an emphasis on at-risk and incarcerated teens. We offer classes which include meditation, yoga, "council" discussion groups, and free books and tapes to youth in a variety of settings. At this time we work primarily with youth involved with the juvenile justice system, and most of our classes are held in juvenile halls in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are working to bring these classes to teens in substance abuse treatment programs and continuation schools as well. There are no easy answers on how to address the challenges facing youth today, but we feel that the awareness practices we offer provide youth with invaluable resources. The youth we work with struggle with issues such as gang-related violence, substance abuse, and isolation. Without the tools to respond to the inner and outer challenges they face, these teens often react in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. Too many youth today find themselves in juvenile halls, and from there they frequently end up in our overcrowded prisons, costing not only a heavy financial burden on society but also an even greater loss of heart and spirit.

Through the promotion of awareness practices, Youth Horizons works to support youth to respond creatively to challenging life situations rather than to react in habitual and destructive patterns. These practices empower the individual to remain steady in the face of strong emotions and patterns of thought, and to understand the consequences of one's actions. Ultimately our programs can provide youth with direct access to inner calm, focus, and strength in the face of life's challenges.


Yes! After much soul-searching, we are changing our name to Youth Horizons. We wanted a name that is immediately suggestive of our mission and one which can be located easily on the internet. In one of Carlos Casteneda’s books, he describes the time of dawn and dusk as a "crack between the worlds", a unique opportunity to see into the depths of life. The time of youth provides such an opportunity. It is a time of transition, of potential and possibility, when adulthood is still in the future, when hormones transform the body and new challenges appear on the horizon.

Youth Horizons, our new name, suggests that "crack between the worlds": between past and future, between the known and the unknown, between the inner life and its outer manifestation. Just as the outer horizon extends as far as the eye can see, so we invite youth to embrace the profound resource of their own inner landscape with its vast terrain and endless vistas. Youth is a time of discovery and exploration—so why not invite youth to discover the novel possibility of learning to live consciously on the horizon of their own life as it emerges and to trust each moment to reveal itself and its lessons? For the future, like the horizon, never actually arrives. Rather, as one wise teacher said, "If we are here now we will be there then." If we can learn to embrace the very presence inherent in each moment of life, then just as with a magnificent sunset, we can appreciate that there is a treasure to be seen in each changing hue of our lives. This is a challenging lesson indeed, but in a culture almost devoid of supportive "rites of passage", it is particularly so for youth in the tender place of transformation, trying out new possibilities, unsure of who they are as they emerge into their world. Sometimes, like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis of childhood, the transformation happens with much effort, struggle, and instinctual groping. It is not a time for us to turn away from youth, but rather to support them to embrace their own journey of discovery.

This is the aim of Youth Horizons: to offer youth a safe place to become aware of what is taking place in their lives and to share that experience with their peers. Please join us in providing youth with a safe place to grow awake.

Staff Profiles

Andrew Getz, Co-Director/Instructor— Andrew is a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse and long-term practitioner of mindfulness meditation. He is an experienced teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and has taught MBSR in numerous healthcare and community settings to adults, teens, and healthcare providers. Andrew is also a seasoned health educator, most recently working with HIV positive clients struggling with chemical dependency issues. Andrew brings a depth of understanding from 25 years of intensive mindfulness meditation training to the education process and enjoys blending his experience of traditional and complimentary approaches to medicine into his work with at-risk youth.

Jonathan Weinstock, Meditation/Yoga/Council Instructor— Originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jonathan has been living in San Francisco since 1997. He is a credentialed teacher who has taught preschool through high school-age children and youth, as well as adults. For the past 6 years, he has studied and practiced mindfulness meditation and related disciplines. Jonathan enjoys working with youth, and has done so in a number of different capacities: job counselor for high school-age students, coach of youth sports teams, camp counselor, and assistant coordinator of an after-school homework and tutoring center. He has also taught a meditation and journal-writing class for adult inmates of the San Francisco County Jail.

Rich Raffals, Meditation/Yoga/Council Instructor — A Leadership, Relationship & Transition/Life Coach and Re-evaluation Counselor for adults and teens, Rich has traveled in 20+ countries and lived abroad.  He's studied diverse forms of yoga, meditation, healing, and community with various teachers, shamans and cultures in various parts of the U.S., India, and the Palawan and Amazonian rainforests.  In 1998, he founded the Bay Area Wisdom Circle, an open, free, and ongoing spiritual community based on the same model Youth Horizons uses for the "Council" portion of their programs.  Rich is a volunteer facilitator for Challenge Day's purely experiential programs that inspire, support and challenge middle- and high- school students to take leadership — in creating a culture where every student feels safe, loved and celebrated.  He also serves on the board of the School for Independent Learners, which gives individualized educational support to youths for whom mainstream education falls short.  A practicing member of the Insight Meditation Community, led by Gil Fronsdal, Rich has also completed the silent, 10-day Vipassana Meditation Retreat taught by S.N. Goenka 3 times, and studied Human/Universal Energy yoga with healer Viet Ngyuen.  He wrote the first draft of a book on a new model for leadership, personal evolution and social change called, "The Bigger Game."  Rich holds a BS in Computer Engineering, an AA in Spanish, has completed the full curriculum at The Coaches Training Institute, and lives in Palo Alto with his cat, Cinder.

Theresa Koke, Administrative Coordinator— Theresa is a licensed counselor with a varied background in nonprofit administration, as well as in direct services. As an administrator she has served as a program director and acting executive director of a domestic violence/rape crisis center, and has worked for several other agencies as a researcher and consultant. In addition, as a Marriage and Family Therapist for the past 13 years, she has a private counseling practice. Theresa has practiced mindfulness meditation for 17 years, and has taught meditation and stress reduction classes in a variety of settings. She has also worked as a wilderness trip leader and Vision Quest guide with both youth and adults.

Martha Mahony, Co-Director— Martha holds a Masters degree in non-profit administration from the University of San Francisco. She has a background in fundraising, organizational development and strategic planning, program design, and public relations. Martha has a love of yoga and teaches public classes in San Francisco. She also works as a volunteer yoga instructor at Life Learning Academy and as a mentor at Francisco Middle School in San Francisco. She has a deep commitment to serving Youth Horizons’ target population.

James Fox— James is a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor with over 15 years of intensive study and advanced practice in various disciplines including Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Viniyoga. He teaches Hatha Yoga and mindfulness practices to the public in West Marin and to juvenile boys-at-risk at both Full Circle, a residential rehabilitation facility, and at Marin County Juvenile Hall. He is also a certified anti-violence facilitator through the Men’s Program of MAWS (Marin Abused Women’s Services).

Eman Fallah, Instructor— (profile pending)

Trishna Harvath, Instructor— (profile pending)

Advisory Board

Guy Armstrong—Guy is a mediation teacher and, as a member of both the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Teachers’ Council and Board of Directors, was instrumental in the creation of a residential retreat center at Spirit Rock. Formerly, he worked for Microsoft Corporation.

James Baraz—As a long-time teacher of meditation, James was one of the co-founders of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors there. A major focus for James has been the Spirit Rock Family Program, which introduces children and youth to meditation, and also includes teen classes and retreats, as well as a rites of passage program. James also has a successful business and is the parent of a high-school age son, as well as a former high school teacher.

Joan Halifax—Joan is a medical anthropologist, deep ecologist, and meditation teacher, who has long been at the forefront of cultural and spiritual exploration. A former Rockefeller fellow, she lectures and teaches worldwide. She directs the Upaya Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which includes the Upaya Prison Project, a network of contemplative prison programs.

Jan Sells, M.Ed., M.A., MFTJan is a counselor at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Berkeley where she offers crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and individual and group counseling to students and their families at this inner-city demonstration school. She is also a member of Berkeley Mental Health's Crisis Response Team.

Brian Slattery—Currently Executive Director of Marin Treatment Center, Brian previously served as Executive Director of the California Child, Youth, and Family Coalition and of Youth Advocates in Marin County and San Francisco. He is a founding member and four-time chair of the Marin AIDS Advisory Commission and presently chair of the Hepatitis C Task Force of the AIDS Comission, as well as a member of the Marin County Sheriff’s Advisory Committee on Mentally Ill Offenders and the Probation Department’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Act of 2000 Committee for Marin County.

Christopher Titmuss—An internationally-known meditation teacher, author, and poet, as well as co-founder of Gaia House International Meditation Center, Christopher is also a committed social activist and founding member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.


Youth Horizons is able to continue its work due to acts of generosity on the part of many different people. We would like to take the opportunity to appreciate them here for their many gifts:

Peninsula Community Foundation—provided funding for our pilot project in San Mateo County’s Hillcrest Juvenile Hall, which is for a 3-year study of the effects of yoga and meditation classes for incarcerated youth.

Fred Gellert Family Foundation—provided funding for organizational development and general operating support.

Community of Mindful Living—provided funding for classes for the youth of Oakland and surrounding areas.

Pacific Online, Inc—provided internet service and hosting for our website as part of its non-profit program.

Mark Rout—designed and set up our website.

Kalliopeia Foundationprovided support for our classes in Marin Juvenile Hall and core operating support

Rich Raffalswebsite maintenance

Individual donors:

Pat Bearden
Robin Brandes
Ann Buck
Cynthia Cornell
Edwin Getz & Terri Drews
Godfrey & Lorraine Getz
Jonathan Getz
Jonathon Glick
Sandra Haley
Livia Jackson
Francisco Lugovina
Glenn Marks
Sabine Miller
David Mulliken
Camille Nowell
Ambrocia O’Rourke
Marilynn Rowland
Jan Sells
Marg Starbuck & Bill Boykin
Jacquelyn Sneed
Marian Spotswood
Allen White

Many, many thanks to all of our contributors in the past year for your support of our work with youth!

If you are interested in making a donation to Youth Horizons, you can write to us at :

Youth Horizons
1008 General Kennedy Avenue, #5
San Francisco, CA 94129

Checks should be made out to: Tides Center/Youth Horizons.

Our ability to receive credit card donations directly was provided by nonprofit internet foundation eGrants.org. The technology behind the "Donate Now!" button [removed] was created by eGrants.org to ensure that small to midsize social change organizations, like Youth Horizons, are not left on the wrong side of the "digital divide". "The ‘Donate Now!’ button was designed to allow nonprofits doing good work for positive social change to have the same online capabilities as larger organizations, " says China Brotsky, Executive Director of eGrants.org. We at Youth Horizons are most grateful to eGrants.org for providing this service.

If you have questions about contributing to Youth Horizons, please feel free to email us at info@youthhorizons.org, or to phone us at 415-561-6737. Contributions of time and energy are gratefully received as well!

Contact Us

Youth Horizons
1008 General Kennedy Avenue, #5
San Francisco, CA  94129

Phone and Fax: 415-561-6737
Email: info@youthhorizons.org