• Chelsea traveled to India in 2015 to work with a non-profit dedicated to protecting and educating young girls, children and women at risk. (Photo by Camilla Midtgaard)

  • Chelsea with a child at the center where she volunteered in Kolkata. (Photo by Camilla Midtgaard)

  • "I'm very grateful that this is what I get to do with my life," says Chelsea. (Photo by Camilla Midtgaard)
2016-present  |  Community Service  |  Date Range  |  Gallery  |  Generosity/Compassion  |  Leadership by Example  |  Staff Stories  |  Topic

Chelsea Cendrowski is a rare breed. Nurse, yoga teacher, Ann Arbor native, grassroots philanthropist and volunteer advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

She attended Community High School then went on to study nursing at U-M.

She graduated in 2016 and now works with surgical patients at Michigan Medicine.

The daughter of a yoga teacher mother and photographer father, Chelsea has taught yoga for eight years, starting as a junior in high school.

Now a certified yoga teacher, she teaches Wednesday classes through the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Department and co-teaches a Sunday class specifically designed for individuals recovering from trauma.

She also offers classes for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through SafeHouse.

Together with her mother, long-time yoga teacher Victoria Cendrowski, she teaches a monthly class called Karma Yoga.

Instead of paying a fee for instruction, participants are encouraged to support local and global nonprofits.

They have offered the monthly classes to benefit charities since 2010, raising over $20,000 for charities such as the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Food Gatherers and others.

A SafeHouse volunteer since 2014, Chelsea serves on the organization’s response team, devoting two or three all-night on-call shifts each month to supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In 2015, she traveled to India to work as a volunteer at New Light, a non-profit community organization dedicated to protecting and educating young girls, children and women at high risk in the red light area of Kolkata. New Light has established nine shelters providing safety, education and healthcare for the children in this community. They are also providing comprehensive healthcare to the sex workers community and have established a project to create alternative, sustainable avenues of employment and income for exited or ready to exit sex workers and other distressed women.

In Kolkata, she taught yoga to sex workers and children and worked in clinics providing basic health care services to women and children. She chronicled that experience in a beautiful and thoughtful blog.

“I am invested in giving back—through nursing, through yoga, through SafeHouse,” she says.

“I am invested in helping people heal.”

“U-M understands the need to protect patients,” she says. The nurse to patient ratios are higher here, so patients receive more individualized attention. That was important to me,” she says.

“I appreciate having an opportunity to care for  patients. That’s been a great experience. It is a privilege to care for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being”

“I’m very grateful that this is what I get to do with my life,” she adds.


  • Chelsea (left) conducting a yoga class. (Photo by Dwight Cendrowski)