Building the First Holistic Center for Homeless Youth

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Nearly half of all homeless youth have experienced sexual, physical or psychological abuse by an immediate family member.  

Some youth become homeless when their parents die of poverty or AIDS, others are turned out because of parental neglect or drug abuse and still others because they identify as lesbian, gay or transgender.  

All of the homeless youth living in shelters, couch-surfing or working the streets have suffered from trauma, anxiety, fear, isolation, loneliness and hopelessness.

Reciprocity Omega Retreat

And yet, our homeless system in America is built upon a philosophy of addressing external conditions—such as offering temporary shelter, occasional meals and intermittent health care. Venturing within—to work with the root causes of sustained homelessness—is viewed as experimental and too costly.  And so, most homeless youth become homeless adults.

Inspired by the Engaged Buddhist/Spiritual Activist movements, Taz Tagore and Adam Bucko started the Reciprocity Foundation in 2004 to address the internal and external conditions connected to homelessness. The organization is dedicated to helping homeless youth heal from trauma, discover their purpose, develop intuition/inner wisdom, touch inner peace and learn to live/work/play mindfully.  

In November, they will be opening the first holistic center for homeless youth.  Rather than working behind the scenes, the center will make visible the shortfalls of the American approach to poverty alleviation. It will be a place where youth can practice yoga, meditation, receive holistic counseling, go on retreat and work towards going to college and starting a career (rather than low wage/skill work).  

The center will also become a hub for holistic practitioners to contribute ideas, time and resources to promoting holistic solutions to our most challenging problems.  

Can you contribute $1 or $10 to creating this ground-breaking, holistic center?

Whom do you know who might be interested in sharing ideas or energy with the Reciprocity Foundation’s co-founders in person, via phone or email?

What do Taz & Adam need to consider as they grow this center and advocate for holistic solutions to homelessness, poverty, abuse and mental illness?

Please watch the video co-created by homeless youth from the Reciprocity Foundation that describes their journey to creating the holistic center.

To learn more about the Reciprocity Foundation, click here.

To view more videos about Reciprocity’s holistic programs for homeless youth, click here.

To donate $1, or $10, to support holistic programming for homeless youth, click here.

TAZ TAGORE is the co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation and a Buddhist writer and teacher.  She has contributed to the Shambhala Sun and spirituality websites such as,, the Interdependence Project and  Taz has spent nearly 20 years volunteering at youth shelters and working with homeless youth in the U.S., Canada and India.  She has been featured on countless television programs and newspaper articles for her work with homeless youth. 

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jeronteng's picture

This is not surprising at all. The number of people off the streets are dramatically increasing. Not only in San Jose but in some cities in the US as well. This is simply due to the rise housing prices and as you have said because of the drug abuse. the government should find effective ways on how we can get rid of them. Shall we have Homeless relocation?

Read more at:Homeless Relocation

aliboleh12's picture

Nice one.....very good.


peopletreewellness's picture

This is so wonderful and inspiring! Thank you for your amazing work. I would love to be of service to the young people and your project. I'll be in touch.

anthonyr.morgan's picture

The open house last week was sooooo wonderful!!! I love the space, and the young people seemed so at home and excited about all the opportunities available at the Reciprocity Holistic Center! I am sending out notices to all my colleagues and friends about this great effort!! Thank you!!

Taz Tagore's picture

The center is underway but we are still establishing our meditation space and will need volunteers to teach meditation, lead one-day retreats and teach. So please spread the word far and wide to help us build community around our center...Taz

Tyddmba's picture

Taz and Adam, you can always count on us for help. We would be happy to support. The new center is wonderfully located and it is very cozy. This is a good beginning for these young students.
Be well,
Chang Ji and Guo Chan

mehlinger333's picture

Absolutely wonderful. Thanks for letting us know about this fantastic effort!