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  

11 people found this review helpful

I am a certified yoga instructor with 9 years of experience, and interacted with staff from the Art of Yoga Project at the Yogajournal San Francisco Conference last year. Their highly skilled staff offers a brave and compassionate practice to incarcerated women, giving them tools to create a new perspective out of their current situation. A phenomenal cause and one that will continue to give back to individuals and society at large.

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

Feedback from the incarcerated women, which was published in a recent YogaJournal article.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I work with troubled high school girls. I became aware of this organization through an article in Yoga Journal (Oct 2009) called Peace on the Inside. I didn't realize that 15% of the youth prison population was made up of girls! It was great to see a gender responsive program in action and learn a bit about their model.

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

by reading all their press archives on their website and youtube.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

The Art of Yoga Project is an amazing program that helps troubled teen girls. It is comprised of a group of strong and caring women helping incarcerated teen girls. Although these girls have made some poor choices they are caught in a cycle of victimization. The Art of Yoga Project works with them to create a better self image and gives them tools to help change their life. It is very inspiring!

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

many ways! Not only do they deliver the program in three counties in Northern CA but they run amazing events in the community together at local yoga studios to help raise funds to support their work!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

Yoga has made in huge difference in my life so I was happy to help when a friend of mine who works for The Art of Yoga Project asked for assistance with a fundraiser. Through the work, I met a few of the impressive women who were on staff. This left me with an overall good impression and leads me to believe that the organization and their programs are well run.

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

sharing the enthusiasm of the staff and donors for the work that AYP does in the juvenile halls.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Most of the girls really appreciated our work with them. The breath work, the meditation, the circle discussions of readings from recovery meditation books, and the yoga nidra - guided relaxation seemed to benefit the girls and I quite enjoyed it. The training and preparation of volunteers was quite sketchy in the beginning.. there is opportunity to make community with the volunteers by giving written or oral guidance for the process of getting security clearance, how and when to meet, how to prepare the room and getting a list of rules for the detention center (no newspapers, cameras, candles / lighters etc.) I always feels bad to make mistake. The connection with the girls who wanted what we were bringing was invigorating and gratifying. I am always grateful for where I have come and am glad to share how I got here.

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

none

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

Again- the volunteer coordination, advisement and reinforcement could have been better. Many of us have so little time and know what and how in a clear concise manner really helps. The girls respond well to organized presentations. Finally we grooved.

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

seeing the faces on the girls when they felt they had accomplished - a pose, a breath practice, complete relaxation.

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

kind. The volunteers I worked with were awesome.

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

bring consistent classes ( at least bi weekly ) with artists and authors, who could also be paid, and then publish the works of each 6 month class. But the girls have to WORK for it, with participation and good behaviour - no "gimmees"

Ways to make it better...

the practice had stayed in YOGA and not so much in gymnastics. I would really have loved to continue the Yamas and Niyamas into the yoga day - bringing the concepts into the physical practice and the meditation.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

The limited space at the facilities and the lack of consistency. We had a VERY SUCCESSFUL period where one of the counselors joined the practice (giving it value) since then the counselors have not joined and even talk during class.

One thing I'd also say is that...

We need yoga for adults in recovery as well. This population, by necessity due to its age, will remember this experience, but may need to suffer MORE before they can RECOVER. We need to follow up with programs in jails and other centers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

This is one of the most inspiring organizations I have ever been privileged to be a part of. The Art of Yoga Project offers a way for people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, religions, colors, passions and affilliations to become a part of a healthy, positive, forward-thinking family. I am so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful group of womyn who are so inspiring, motivating, and truly beautiful inside and out. I will continue to work for and with this organization, because it is a cause I believe in with all my heart.

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

the way that girls smile when I step into San Francisco Juvenile Hall.

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

hope to be as compassionate, kind, organized and patient as those who in fact do run it.

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

the smiles, love, and warmth that I receive...not only from those who run AYP, but also from those who are its benefactors.

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

patient, punctual, kind, effervescent, loving, warm and fabulous.

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

change the world. AYP could alter the way that incarceration is viewed in this country. I truly believe that with all the passion, determination and commitment that is put into this organization, a lot of prisons could be torn down and torn into parks, a lot of rehabilitation centers could be turned into yoga studios, and a lot of halfway homes could be turned into beautiful mentoring homes.

Ways to make it better...

I had known about AYP earlier.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the economic downturn, and the reality that many people believe punitive incarceration to be more effective than rehabilitative work.

One thing I'd also say is that...

AYP has been an inspiration to me, and I hope with all my heart that it grows to its highest potential.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

I have been contributing increasingly more to this group for each of the past three years, and watching them grow as individuals and as an organization. They have an amazing combination of brains, heart and tenacity. ANy one of those is of course precious. But it's hard to imagine another group having the degree of all three that makes The Art of Yoga Project so unique, and indeed successful at their mission.

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

the incredible feedback they receive from the judges and other officials involved with their work.

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

not do as good of a job as the existing team is.

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

The tremendous heart, commitment and strength they bring to their work.

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

Professional, dedicated, strong, purposeful, resolute.

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

Teach many more young women how to take control of their own lives, their own future, and make it happen from the inside out rather than the outside in.

Ways to make it better...

N/A

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

growth. they have a unique and successful formula for helping at-risk young women take control of their lives. the challenge, and funding will help, is how to deliver that successful formula to more communities.

One thing I'd also say is that...

you have to meet Mary Lynn Fitton to truly understand the strength from which The Art of Yoga Project springs. She's a brilliant example of the new generation of social entrepreneurs.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

The Caw Foundation

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

This is a wonderful non profit, full of talented, amazing women. Every single day you work there, you can tell you are making a difference. I consider the opportunity to serve as a loving, supporting, respectful role model for these young girls as one of the great gifts of my life.

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

the girls' faces after each class

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

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

the community, the support, and the love i give and receive

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

are strong, generous, inspiring women

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

touch and change the lives of so many youth at-risk, decrees violence in our streets, help girls who made bad life choices and teach them how to take better care of themselves and others.

Ways to make it better...

i had more changes to meet the other volunteers outside yoga classes

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Somewhere between the first check in and the last bow at the end of class, a magical calm sets in over the crowd of teens that I have the honor of teaching at the juvenile center with the Art of Yoga Project. Irregardless of what brings together to that room, we come together to move, try new poses, take risks, and breathe deeply. They say that yoga is a healing practice - and I believe it each time we spend an hour together and every time a participant looks me in the eye and says "Thank you for coming".

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

the attitudes of the students before and after class.

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

continue the organic growth path that it is on.

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

the interaction with the teens.

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

great women - selfless and truly interested in delivering the best yoga experience to the girls and boys.

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

train more teachers, go into more group homes and juvenile centers.

Ways to make it better...

I could do this full time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

access to more juvenile halls, more teachers (funds to subsidize teachers?)

One thing I'd also say is that...

The staff at the Youth Center in San Mateo is really dedicated and really care about the well-being of the teens. I've been very impressed by many of the staff members that work there.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

As a former mayor of Palo Alto, I became aware of this outstanding project and its early success in Oregon and now the Bay Area. Founder and director Mary Lynn Fitton has the personal dedication and commitment that is so essential to a non-profit. As a trustee of a foundation that has donated to The Art of Yoga, I have continued to be impressed with the quality of their efforts and the responses received from the participants, the court system, and community leaders. This is a winner! Jim Burch Palo Alto

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

helping at-risk young women awaken to the positive possibilities in taking charge of their lives.

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

the way Mary Lynn Fitton has directed the effort, sensed what next steps were critical to its growth and success, and then DID IT!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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