The Art of Yoga Project

Rating: 4.97 stars   63 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Crime & Law

Location: 555 Bryant Street Palo Alto CA 94301 USA

Mission: The Art of Yoga Project's mission is to lead teen girls in the California juvenile justice system toward accountability to self, others and community by providing practical tools to effect behavioral change.
Results: At The Art of Yoga Project we specializes in working with incarcerated teen girls and have a long standing relationship and a proven track record with the juvenile justice systems in three Bay Area counties. The Art of Yoga Project strives toward a very specific goal of creating accountability, responsibility, self respect, self control, and ultimately, behavioral change in a very specific and under served population. The philosophy of yoga and the freedom of creative arts is delivered meaningfully to this important (and often overlooked) population of young women who are so desperately in need of support and guidance. The Art of Yoga Project website provides more information about our work including our research, mentoring and training programs, as well as stories and artwork from girls that have participated in our program. www.theartofyogaproject.org
Target demographics: At-risk teen girls (12-18) in the California juvenile justice system
Direct beneficiaries per year: 500+ girls
Geographic areas served: San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
Programs: The cornerstone of The Art of Yoga Project is its proprietary, gender-responsive Yoga and Creative Arts Curriculum, a secular course that combines health education, character development, yoga, meditation and creative arts. The program helps each girl build increased self-awareness, self-respect and self-control as well as develop competent decision-making skills and life-long wellness practices. Using the tools taught, the girls begin to identify the issues that cause them to make poor choices, manage their anger and impulses, and develop a productive outlet for their emotions and dreams. Each session begins with a rigorous, strengthening yoga practice and continues with a creative art activity. Throughout class, trained facilitators lead discussions on themes such as non-violence, tolerance, sexual ethics and integrity. People and Locations With three full-time staff and over 40 certified yoga teachers, artists and therapists, AYP currently serves over 500 girls in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

AYP does great and meaningful work in Bay Area communities. Not only is the work personally satisfying, but AYP is a great place to work. Everyone is so well trained and knowledgeable and brings something unique to the team.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make sure to hire more staff that accurately portray the communities that it serves.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am filled with gratitude for being a part of such an amazing organization. The Art of Yoga Project's mission of empowering young women is an incredible agent of change in a world in which one of our biggest moral challenges is lifting young women up and ending violence against women and girls. I have had the great pleasure of working with AYP since 2006, first as a yoga teacher and now also as aftercare site director. I am always inspired by the dedicated and wise women that I get to work with. And when it comes to the young women we serve I am always blown away but never surprised by their insight, strength and potential. Thank you Art of Yoga Project for existing in the world and for letting me be a part of this great work!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been serving on The Art of Yoga board for a number of years and prior to my board position I worked as a site director for the Santa Clara facility. I first hand was able to watch lives change of these girls in the juvenile detention centers as a direct result of the program. The yoga, art and writing this population is able to experience brings amazing transformation to their lives. The staff and women involved are extremely dedicated and passionate about their work. I cannot say enough good about this amazing organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the opportunity to be involved with The Art of Yoga Project for many years. I have seen first hand the work that is done and the difference the program has made in the lives of these teen girls. I feel blessed to be able to continue to support and be involved with AYP.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been serving on this board for more than 4 years, and what the passionate staff and volunteers at AYP accomplish: accepting these marginalized teen girls, and then showing them how to improve their lives, from San Francisco to San Jose is extraordinary. It's not easy working in the juvenile justice system--and that's what The Art of Yoga Project does--it helps girls take personal responsibility and gives them a different perspective and a better way to be for themselves, their families, and in their communities. The Art of Yoga Project is literally about saving lives, girl by girl.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The Art of Yoga Project does amazing work with a very underserved group! These teen girls have had so many struggles, abuse, and a shocking lack of support in their young lives. AYP offers tools for a successful and balanced life. The teachers are role models and offer loving support without judgement. They work side by side with the wonderful Juvenile Hall staff to serve these girls!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue doing what they are doing!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Great idea and also great execution. It's in a class al by themselves. This group has been doing gender- responsive programming before it was a buzz word. They are the real deal. Kudos.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Great organization. Very well run. Dedicated staff

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This organization serves a high-risk, high-need group in a way virtually no other group does -- gender-responsive, small group attention to their most personal needs. AYP sows the seeds for lifetime changes in girls whose lives have started off on the wrong track. California and the country need more organizations like AYP.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get the philosophy, approach, and curriculum into more organizations serving at-risk teen girls.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I fell in love with the organization from the moment I watched the founder, Mary Lynn Fitton, teach a class in the San Mateo County juvenile detention facility for girls many years ago. I have had the pleasure of watching the organization grow from a tiny volunteer-dependent series of classes to a well-formed, stable organization that still provides outstanding service to local girls in need, but also is taking concrete steps to document its impact in order to broaden the impact of the program across the state, country, and even internationally. I consider it a privilege to serve on the board of this inspiring organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

The Art of Yoga Project hooked me the minute I walked into a room in a secure facility full of teen girls all wearing their AYP t-shirts -- the only article of clothing they had that didn't say "Property of the County of _____" on it. As I watched them move through the yoga practice and art projects I was amazed at the level in which they were engaged in the activities, awestruck when a staff person pointed out two girls working together and told me they had been members of opposing gangs "on the outside." This program gives the girls a voice they often didn't know they had or never felt safe using. It provides them with vital coping skills that will no doubt help them overcome the challenges they will face upon their release and completion of the program. I can't imagine a more important service to girls who are preparing to start over on a better path. In addition to serving the incarcerated teens, AYP as an organization does a great job of developing teachers and leaders to bring their talents to this program and ones like it across the country.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

interviewing participants in the program and the staff at the facility who credit the positive changes in their thoughts, attitudes, relationships, academic achievement, and progress in other forms of treatment and with what they have learned through AYP

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching it grow from a tiny mostly volunteer group to a stable, growing organization that celebrates the potential of all the women involved from participants to the executive leadership.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, passionate, hard-working, tireless, resilient.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

dramatically change the way female teens are treated in the juvenile justice system across the country so that they can break the cycle of violence and crime and move forward with productive lives instead of cycling back into the adult corrections system.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

It's easy to support this organization. They are successful working with a population of incarcerated and at-risk girls that are largely ignored. They work from their hearts! Society pays an estimated $1.7 million for each youth who drops out of school and becomes involved in a life of crime and drug abuse. The cost of one year of incarceration ~ $190,000 alone! This work just makes good sense.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Not only does this organization help girls in there local community, they also share what they have learned through their training and Affiliate program.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?