OMA’s vision is based on a commitment to provide a holistic approach for the wellness of self, family, and community. OMA’s mission is channeled through experiential education and clinical resources, providing individuals with opportunities to explore and honor one’s journey in healing and wellness of mind, body, and spirit.
Over the past twelve years, in addition to Art in the Garden, OMA has successfully created many programs to meet this mission. OMA’s Lecture Series is held twice a month at the East End Community Ministries (EECM) in East Liberty. Each lecture highlights holistic practitioners and spiritual speakers in various fields of expertise from the Pittsburgh area and beyond. Surviving to Thriving (S2T) training and holistic healing seminars for educators, community partners, mental health practitioners, parents, and others working with anyone who has experienced trauma. The Food for the Soul Series are events that bring community members together for an opportunity to share in a simple meal as well as discussions regarding introspection and ideas on various subjects of body, mind, and spirit. The Mystery School Workshops from Damanhur University, Italy is sponsored by OMA and includes two intense workshops over four days and occurs four times per year. Mystery schools provide an opportunity to study the world’s great ancient wisdom and teachings in an academic setting.
Other Workshops in Mind, Body & Spirit from practitioners locally, nationally, and internationally are scheduled throughout the year. In 2018 OMA sponsored Marianne Williamson to lecture in Pittsburgh. The event was attended by over 500 people and feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many requests to bring in more national speakers.
Art in the Garden (AITG), in its fourth year of OMA sponsorship and eighth year of programming, primarily focuses on meeting the needs of under-served youth in East Liberty and surrounding areas of Pittsburgh. AITG is a year-round program for youth ages 4-18 that invests in the resiliency and social and emotional development of youth.
Art in the Garden has an arts and ecology camp as well as monthly events for youth and families. Our arts and ecology curriculum is centered around the five core Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies that foster values such as self-confidence, self-regulation, perspective-taking, compassion, communication, and ethical responsibility.
All youth receive free breakfast and lunch daily. The program thoughtfully and intentionally creates a space of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance. The staff of educators, artists, environmentalists, and volunteers are diverse in terms of race, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, and national origin, and there is a focus on recruiting from communities we serve. In the 2019 summer program, 59 youth enrolled, 35 are the youth of color, and over 50% live in poverty. Last year’s enrollment increased by 50% and we expect another increase for 2020.