Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Art of Yoga Project

4,952 pageviews

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

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

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Grateful to experience the Art of Yoga Project ! The Project -- of the highest caliber, beyond what I have experienced in over 25 years within the field of Public Health….assessing, developing, implementing and evaluating Health Education Programs … The staff -- talented, capable, and sincerely heartfelt - - Beyond measure has been the magic .... within my 2-4 hrs/wk interactions with these amazing young ladies over the last two years ...... Thank you!

Donor

Rating: 5

We have supported this organization for many years! They are top-notch and do wonderful work in our community with at-risk, incarcerated and exploited teen girls.

1 Lisa190

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so happy to support this organization. The work they are doing with incarcerated, at-risk and exploited teen girls is innovative. They are experienced in gender- responsive programming that continually show results.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Great work by a great group of people. It's amazing the difference one caring adult makes in a child's life. It changes the course of their life forever.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great non profit doing great work with at-risk, exploited and incarcerated teen girls. I fully support their work.

2

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.

2

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
1

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!!!!

Read more
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga Project continues to expand upon and improve the services they bring to young women with each passing year. I have worked with The Art of Yoga Project for about five years now, and it is a great privilege to collaborate with this group of unbelievably dedicated and inspirational women. The mission of bringing self-respect and empowerment to teen girls through yoga and art is simple and focused, which means it is done extremely well. What amazes me most is the commitment to continued growth and learning. We are encouraged to attend trainings regularly, to debrief, process and problem solve as a team... and to dream big for the future. I have not yet come across another organization with the same standards and reach as AYP - they are truly wonderful.

2

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.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that supports incarcerated juvenile girls to become stronger and better.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

This non-profit works directly with at-risk, exploited teen girls who are incarcerated. The work is hands-on, teaching these girls life skills that will help them overcome the cycle of crime and violence that they are in. I am so proud to support this organization.

Read more
2

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
1

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

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.

Angela60

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

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!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization. Very well run. Dedicated staff

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Read more

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

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.

Richard53

Advisor

Rating: 5

I started work with The Art of Yoga Project as a technical adviser. Since then I've come to know the folks running the organization and working with it. Through my work I have also become familiar with the amazing stories, poetry and successes that the project has with youths in very difficult circumstances. I recommend to anyone that they read some of the blog entries on the website and learn more about the marvelous work that the organization does in the local Bay Area.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga Project is a very effective program helping incarcerated teen girls heal from physical and lifestyle abuse. It is an outstanding project. We will continue to support it, because of its growing success evident through the girl’s behavioral change.

Don and Virginia Fitton

Board Member

Rating: 5

I fell in love with this organization 7 years ago when I agreed to join the board and have never looked back! It has all the important elements that make an organization effective; an important problem in the community, an effective approach to address the problem, excellent people with a huge heart and commitment to the organization and a lean/effectively run fund raising and administration function. I hope to continue to provide my personal time and financial support for many years to come. Hope you will consider this too!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Having had two "at risk" teenagers, I understand how difficult it can be to connect these young people. The key is to help them help themselves; to let them know they are not being judged, that you care about them and you believe in them. The Art of Yoga Project is perfect example of a well-thought-out plan to give these young teens the self-confidence and the tools they need to face their difficult situations head on. The wonderful yoga instructors teach them how to control their thoughts and actions which in turn leads to improved decision making. The goal is to release responsible young ladies from the juvenile facilities with this new outlook on life that will break the cycle of repeat incarcerations. AYP is an incredible organization with outstanding leaders and volunteers with one goal in mind: to help these young ladies to have happy and productive futures. I would hope this project would be a role model for other facilities!

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.

Robyn8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have the honor and privilege of teaching with this amazing group of women. I have never met a more dedicated team of individuals who truly care about these at-risk girls. The curriculum designed by Mary Lynn is world class and every time I am with the girls, I feel the vibration of our collective rise. I see how much these girls need to find peace within themselves and when I leave them, its always in a better state than when they arrived. I love this program and I love these girls. They need a nurturing element to their lives and AYP definitely brings it. This program instills peace, confidence and hope in these young girls. Well done to all.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga Project is an amazing program that offers much needed guidance, love and inspiration to young women in juvenile hall. I started as a volunteer in 2007, teaching yoga classes within the Santa Clara Co. juvenile detention facilities and am now actively involved in managing 2 facilities in San Jose and Morgan Hill. I adore the women involved in The Art of Yoga Project. Loving, kind, capable, giving and an incredibly supportive team. I have seen young women grow and learn a better way of life. We have seen young felons come into the system and leave with a high school diploma and moving onto to universities. This was not a future they had ever envisioned for themselves. The Art of Yoga Project is the dream of an incredible woman- Mary Lynn Fitton, who continues to inspire all of us and help us bring our love of yoga, art and writing and all their benefits to a very under served population.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been blessed to teach with the Art of Yoga project for over three years. Every single day has been an inspiration - not just because I am bringing yoga, a practice that has helped me so much, into juvenile detention; not just because every time I have done so, I have walked away inspired and awed by the girls I met there, their strength, the resilience of their hearts; but because in working with AYP I have always felt part of an organization unlike any other: a group of wonderful, caring, inspiring, mindful, compassionate leaders who work hard to empower others. AYP has challenged me to grow.

Desiree4

Board Member

Rating: 5

In January of 2009 I had the incredible privilege of meeting a couple of teenage girls from the bay area program. They attended a benefit class that I taught in Berkeley. Though they were doing yoga amidst a sea of adults, they participated with full enthusiasm and wholeheartedness. What a gift the Art of Yoga Project has been in the lives of these and so many other young women. Recently, I learned that one of the girls I met had been accepted to a University and was moving forward with her life in a positive way. A miracle of love!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a wonder organization offering girls numerous ways to find their own internal creativity and grounding. They are tireless in bringing this model to young women in detention throughout the South Bay region. Art of Yoga Project teaches the girls self confidence, ways to develop self love and inner strength and also offers them practical tools such as self care, finding positive ways to allow themselves "time out" from anxiety, pressure and impulsive actions. They are also expanding to give the girls more information and skills around money management and control. Kudos to the whole team, Mary Lynn, the staff and the volunteer collaborators.

Ellie6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Having advised and helped many non profit organizations focused on helping women - this one stands out. The dedication of the team, the mission of the organization and the changes they make in young lives speak for itself.

TheArtofYogaProject

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so grateful to be working with this amazing team! We are an organization of women helping teen girls right here in our own communities – Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. I am honored to represent their voices and ask for your help.

These are children. 12-17 years old. The average age is 15. They are incarcerated and yes, they have made poor choices, but the truth is that they are caught in a cycle of victimization. The Center for Gender and Justice reports nationally 70-90% of girls in the system have been sexually abused. What typically happens is a girl is abused at home, she then runs away and on the streets is further victimized with ‘crimes of survival’, involving drugs, gangs, or even prostitution.

So while our mission speaks specifically to developing girls’ accountability, we absolutely need a therapeutic approach. This is called “trauma-informed,” meaning interacting with her in a way that is not harming, but healing and transformative.