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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!


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.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.