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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Crime & Law, Rehabilitation Services for Offenders, Youth Development Programs

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.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow i don't know were to start but i am so amazed and thankful for The Art Of Yoga Project because it has change my whole life around in many ways. First of all i was in juvenile hall when i was 14 years old i was doing bad things didn't know what was going to happen to me because nobody thought me any better than my street friends that i called "family". i got arrested and got booked in the facility the only time when we were let out was to do Yoga. At first i didn't know or understood why we were doing this exercises and art works which meant a lot of things at the end. I would draw signals with certain colors and designs that expressed how i felt inside that nobody will see because i was so shut down inside and hurt. Yoga brought me peace and i notice i was becoming more positive. i learned how to breath at rough times to calmed me down and make the right decisions. I think if it wasn't for the Art of yoga project i wold still be caught up in the criminal system still but thankfully i am 24 years old now going to school majoring in Criminal Justice and Social work my life its great and its getting greater and greater thanks to Yoga i enjoy the exercises meditating i am able to express how i feel now in words rather than keeping them inside. i am glad out of my teens years when i was in juvenile hall, i got to feel who i was for the first time by doing yoga with the instructors. i am not shy anymore i am a strong beautiful women who is blessed by this non profit i hope it expands even more to help girls like me to be successfully in life and see things differently to what they are used to. i truly believe that yoga has change my life enormously. I know that there are people out there that need this in their life to make them become a better person and help them to achieve goals they thought they were never going to. Thank You all.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've now been connected with this amazing organization for 7 years. In this time, we've grown from a small program in one site, to a thriving organization in three counties. What amazes me most about this growth is it has not come at cost of value or integrity. Every girl that we serve gets the same passionate energy as when we first began. AYP is always looking to learn from the girls and the service community that we collaborate with. There is a humbleness amongst the teachers and the staff--never assuming that we have all of the right answers. We look to learn, and in the process of learning, we grow stronger. I hope to always remain a part of this amazing community. I hope to see the strong growth continue, expanding to serve more girls with the same passion and integrity.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had the amazing pleasure of working with The Art of Yoga Project since 2007 and could not imagine giving my time to a more dedicated, heart-centered and deeply impactful organization. I started when the program was small and have watched the expansion to more counties, but more importantly, to more girls. Even when life feels busy, I make time to step into the yoga circle with amazing teachers and the sweet souls of the young women we serve. This work is so important--offering strengthening alternatives, offering empowering outlets and creating a sense of community in lives where it has often been lacking. I believe in this work and feel so honored to be part of this amazing organization. THANK YOU AYP!!!!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of attending one of the classes in the Institution. It was amazing to see the demeanor of the girls before and after a teaching session with an AYP instructor. Pre-class, the girls were reserved, shoulders raised high from stress or tension. Their energy was low. The AYP instructors did a fantastic job of helping the girls to open up, share feelings and journal. I was able to share a wondeful yoga session with the girls. They left the meeting room more upbeat, connected and less stressed. AYP is an amazing organization with wonderful people. This organization is really making a difference.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of Directors since 2012, and I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to work with such an incredible organization. I am humbled by the level of devotion, drive and passion of both the instructors and the students. This organization provides the girls with a life line and a chance at a healthy life. As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen first hand how juveniles get lost in the system and are returned to dysfunctional living environments and continue on the path of criminality and exploitation. AYP is changing the script of many lives, and is providing a path to a life of better choices, safety and personal strength. AYP is making a difference, and I am grateful to give my time to this project.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga Project has an amazing staff of teachers and art experts who are dedicated to the girls. I am so proud of the staff; their compassion, creativity, sense of self and strong boundaries not only allows them to deliver a strong program, but it also provides the girls with excellent role models. It is powerful to see this interaction and to witness the relationships and growth that occurs within this beautiful system. Our teachers are a steady, positive light in the lives of these incarcerated youth. As a Site Director, I have tremendous gratitude for AYP teachers. I am also very proud of the training that these teachers receive and feel confident that we are providing the girls with the best of the best (they deserve it!)

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As I reflect on the years I have worked with AYP, so many stories stand out. I see the faces of girls who were given a chance to express themselves through art and reflective writing and who found moments of peace through yoga and meditation. I remember a day when one of the girls shared a beautiful poem at the the conclusion of our Winter Writing Curriculum. She stood up, took a deep breath and delivered the most powerful, lyrical and honest words I've ever heard. Another one of my favorite days was when the girls decided to teach their own yoga class. They were incredible and it was inspiring to see them take ownership and be empowered by their own ability to teach. AYP cares for, supports and honors these girls! I am so proud to be part of an organization that sees the good in every girl and stands by her in her quest to show it to the world.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am beyond blessed to be a part of this amazing organization. I came to know about Art of Yoga through Courtney (thank you!) and began teaching 4.5 years ago . The initial training was invaluable, but it is the ongoing support of my fellow teachers, site director and of Mary Lynn Fitton that holds my heart and allows me to offer my best self to these beautiful girls.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga Project is a wonderful, well organized, and beneficial program. I have worked with them for the past year. The girls learn so many lessons through the use of yoga and art. Every week that I work with Art of Yoga, it is often the highlight of my week.

Wesleigh R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the past year, I have been fortunate to volunteer as a yoga teacher with The Art of Yoga Project at two of their after-care centers in San Francisco - the Center for Young Women's Development and Mission Girls. The curriculum developed by Mary Lynn Fitton undoubtedly plays an incredibly positive role in the development of these young girls' lives. I have watched girls gain strength and greater mind-body awareness through their yoga practice and have been lucky enough to sit and listen to them share how the tools they've gained through the GEMM (Girls Empowered by Money Mindfulness) program at Mission Girls has taught them how to manage their money and develop a healthier attitude toward what can often be such a sticky subject. Perhaps most importantly, The Art Of Yoga Project would not be affecting the lives of so many at-risk girls were it not for the dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers involved in its growth.

Joyce C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a retired social worker, having worked in Public Child Welfare for 20 years. After retirement I pondered what I should do with my time, and found the Art of Yoga Project and I'm so glad I did.. I've contracted with the Art of Yoga for the past 4 years, facilitating art projects with girls in Juvenile Detention. The Art of Yoga is a wonderful program, as a MSW, I have witnessed many children affected by violence and drugs and these girls fall into that category and the Art of Yoga supplies them with information through Yoga principles, exercise and Art projects that build their self esteem and enhance their sense of self worth, this can aid in decreasing the probability of them repeating the actions that resulted in their detainment. I love working with this program, the yoga teachers are great to work with, as well as the director, they are open to explore ideas and listen to what you have to say..Most importantly the teachers and the administrators care about the girls, their current and future well being, and love what they are doing!! I look forward to continuing my relationship as an art teacher and expanding into their mentorship program.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a retired social worker, having worked in Public Child Welfare for 20 years. After retirement I pondered what I should do with my time, and found the Art of Yoga Project and I'm so glad I did.. I've contracted with the Art of Yoga for the past 4 years, facilitating art projects with girls in Juvenile Detention. The Art of Yoga is a wonderful program, as a MSW, I have witnessed many children affected by violence and drugs and these girls fall into that category and the Art of Yoga supplies them with information through Yoga principles, exercise and Art projects that build their self esteem and enhance their sense of self worth, this can aid in decreasing the probability of them repeating the actions that resulted in their detainment. I love working with this program, the yoga teachers are great to work with, as well as the director, they are open to explore ideas and listen to what you have to say..Most importantly the teachers and the administrators care about the girls, their current and future well being, and love what they are doing!! I look forward to continuing my relationship as an art teacher and expanding into their mentorship program.