Woodstock teacher, Parkland survivor to give back after winning national contest

In the wake of the Parkland mass shooting, Amy Kleinman-Kenny started a nonprofit called Yoga 4 MSD.

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A metro Atlanta yoga instructor was just awarded $3,000 after being randomly selected in a national contest she entered.

Amy Kleinman-Kenny, who recently moved to the Cherokee County city of Woodstock from Florida, was a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a gunman opened fire in the school, killing 17.

In the wake of that massacre, she started a nonprofit called Yoga 4 MSD. She says she plans to use some of her winnings to continue her mission of healing.

While Kleinman-Kenny managed to survive the mass shooting, she lost friends and students.

“The healing process has been long, and it has not been linear. It kind of ebbs and flows,” said Kleinman-Kenny.

In the days after the shooting, she used her love of yoga to help her students heal. She invited students and community members to a group yoga class in a field near the school. She thought a few students might show up, but to her delight, more than 100 people turned out.

“We cried, we laughed, and we danced. We were together. Some of them did yoga, some of them didn’t. It just made sense,” said Kleinman-Kenny. “I did it every day at that field, or whoever wanted to come, until the school reopened. It was just a place where I could get them to open up and not go into that freeze mode. I just realized at that moment that we need to have community, we need to move our bodies, and we need to love each other.”

This week in her new home of Woodstock, Kleinman-Kenny was presented with a check for $3,000 after being randomly selected from thousands of entries in the Our Town America new mover survey contest.

She says she plans to use a portion of that money to fund her nonprofit, which helps students become certified yoga instructors. So far, they’ve graduated more than 30 students from the program.

Kleinman-Kenny continued teaching in Parkland until the freshman class graduated.

“Really just resiliency is the word that comes to mind. Watching the kids be resilient and navigate with the other teachers in the community. Just coming together as a community and working with young people to help them with their journey as well,” said Kleinman-Kenny.

Her love of teaching and yoga continues with students in north Georgia benefiting from her expertise. Kleinman-Kenny teaches yoga part-time at Woodstock Middle School.

Don  Shipman

Don Shipman

Don Shipman joined Atlanta News First in the spring of 2022 as a general assignment reporter bringing with him nearly 25 years of journalism experience.