Staff

The team at The Art of Yoga Project comes from many walks of life, passionately contributing their experience and backgrounds to help fulfill our mission. 

Lisa Pedersen
Executive Director

Lisa has been the Executive Director at The Art of Yoga Project (AYP) since 2009.  Before AYP, she had a notable career in high tech with an impressive track record in the corporate sector.  Lisa has lived and worked abroad for many years and has experience in fundraising and nonprofits through her volunteer work for the Junior League of Palo Alto Mid Peninsula and other Bay Area nonprofits. She is a certified yoga and meditation instructor through the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training program, which focuses on yoga’s spiritual as well as physical dimension. She has been mentoring women and teens for many years. Lisa believes that empowering women and children builds healthy families and vibrant communities.

Mary Lynn Fitton
Founder and Program Director

Mary Lynn Fitton has a commitment to young women’s health, empowerment and well-being. She is Founder and Program Director of The Art of Yoga Project. Mary Lynn received her Masters in Science and Family Nurse Practitioner degree at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1994. She has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with specialties in neuroscience and women’s and adolescent healthcare. In 2013, she was accepted into the Child Trauma Academy’s train-the-trainer program for the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Mary Lynn is a member of several county juvenile justice system task forces including the Gender-Responsive Task Force, CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) Work Group, The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, and the GIRLS Steering Committee. A certified yoga teacher since 1998 and founding member of the Yoga Service Council, her work has been featured in Yoga Journal, The San Francisco Examiner, Spirituality and Health, The Huffington Post and the International Journal of Yoga Therapy.

Noelle Kaplan
Site Director

Noelle began studying meditation in 2002 and established a yoga practice in 2009. In 2012 she completed her 200 hour certification to teach yoga with the intention of bringing the healing benefits of yoga and meditation to those who might not otherwise have access. She subsequently began teaching yoga to incarcerated youth in San Francisco and in 2013, she joined The Art of Yoga Project. She has worked to expand the reach of The Art of Yoga Project by bringing the curriculum to teen mothers in Philadelphia. She is particularly interested in yoga’s ability to heal the negative effects of childhood trauma and plans to explore this through further academic studies. She holds a BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and a MSEd in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jessica Archer Nuzzo
Site Director 

Jessica began practicing yoga in 1997, became a certified teacher in 2007, and joined The Art of Yoga Project in 2009. She found yoga at a challenging time of her life, and it became an invaluable tool of steadiness. She especially loves working with young women to help them to access yoga as a tool to navigate the rough times. Jessica is an E-RYT 500 certified Yoga Instructor with over 1500 hours of training and is also a certified Level 2 Reiki practitioner. Her foundations include in-depth study of anatomy and therapeutic alignment and training to work with high-risk youth. Her aim is to guide others clearly, safely and holistically through all the limbs of yoga, as practices that can allow us to engage in and live a more empowered life. Jessica received a BFA in Journalism and Theatre from New York University in 2001.

Monique Wright
Site Director

Monique Wright-Gory, E-RYT 200 is an AYP Site Director. Monique dedicated herself to consistently practicing yoga in 2009. She attended her first teacher training in 2012 under the guidance of Noell Clark and Angie Poon. As a certified 200-hour E-RYT yoga teacher she guides public and private classes in the Bay Area with an emphasis on girls in the juvenile justice system. While pursuing her 500-hr RYT studies, she is also currently training to be a Doula. Following the energy yoga brings her, Monique knew this passion needed to be shared. The Art of Yoga Project allows her to provide a sincere, honest, grounded community to the classes she guides. Monique encourages the girls to find their own happiness, grace and warmth while they explore the practice of yoga and art.

The Art of Yoga Project

The Art of Yoga Project focuses on early intervention to help marginalized and justice-involved girls prepare for a positive future. We are leaders in the treatment and rehabilitation of justice-involved girls by offering gender-responsive, trauma-informed, culturally-responsive, and strengths-based programming.

Our mission is to lead at-risk, exploited and incarcerated girls toward accountability to self, others, and community by providing practical tools to effect behavioral change. We send specially trained yoga teachers, art therapists, creative arts and writing educators into facilities to deliver our mindfulness-based curriculum.

The Art of Yoga Project is a 501(c)(3) non profit. Tax ID #20-2448697.