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The Art of Yoga Project

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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

12 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!

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Art of Yoga project has taken the concept of mission and vision to a new level of inspired healing. Art of Yoga takes a very creative approach to helping traumatized adolescent girls to heal with a gentle but challenging Yoga practice. Services begin immediately upon incarceration, extending throughout incarceration and after as these young girls return to their families and communities. The services include a wonderful Yoga practice and a committed Mentoring Program. Each girls participating in these services manifests benefit.......

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.