Academic Support & Mentoring for Underserved Girls

 
$21,636
$36,664
Raised
Remaining
Jul 10, 2014

Never A Dull Moment

Math tutoring
Math tutoring

“Never A Dull Moment” seems to be the best description of things here at ‘g2W’ recently. No sooner had the dust settled on Spring Semester 2014 than 35 girls ages 6-14 galloped in to partake of Summer Session 2014, our 7th Consecutive. They're finding a program which is informed by new levels of parental input, and which ranges from poetry writing to gardening to basketball to regional nature & science field trips. And a new emphasis on literacy enhancement through love-of-reading activities

During the past semester and now into Summer Session we’re continuing to place special emphasis on targeted services to middle-school girls. This age-group, on the cusp in so many ways, is vulnerable yet receptive to the kind of mentored programming that can keep their feet on a healthy path through the turbulent adolescent years. 

But all the girls whom we serve deserve a full measure of age-appropriate activities and mentoring from caring older youth and adults. Individual attention is a hallmark of our approach to youth development.

The Latter Half of Spring Semester 2014 featured:

  • Two experienced math tutors who brought new levels of focus and expertise for girls at all levels, from simple arithmetic to middle-school algebra and geometry.
  • Continuance of technology-based projects for our large proportion of middle-school girls was greatly enhanced through our partnerships with More Active Girls In Computing, The Technovation Challenge, and Girls Engaged In Making Media/Fresh Takes.
  • Younger girls were not neglected in our IT activities, but were mentored by older girls attending nearby Castilleja School in the use of ‘Scratch,’ a programming language that allows elementary-level users to create multimedia online and digital art, literature, and audio pieces. That was of course on top of our regular computer usage activities, ranging from keyboard typing/navigation lessons offered through ‘Mavis Beacon’ software to online academic support through ‘Khan Academy.’
  • Our neighbor and community partner East Side College Preparatory School re-engaged with us after a semester's hiatus by once again providing high-achieving young women from our community who served as general academic support tutors/mentors.
  • Polling and discussions we’d had earlier with parents on issues of interest to them resulted in workshops, one just in April, on topics ranging from nutrition to anger management to internet safety.
  • We welcomed our new Program Director in the form of Jasmine Waiters, a graduate of our notable local Notre Dame De Namur University, and a young woman who already has a long youth development mentorship track-record.

As if that weren’t enough, we’ve been grooming new Board Members, and happily were able to make a large matching challenge grant of $30,000 from regional funding powerhouse the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. We’re so grateful that our community stepped forward to match, dollar-for-dollar, the $30,000 put up by an anonymous donor operating through SVCF’s ‘Silicon Valley Gives’ fund campaign. Not only dollars but publicity and hence greater community recognition comes with the matching award, which we received in May.

 With fresh wind in our sails, a new Program Director, and new levels parental input and involvement, we feel ready to deliver a stellar Summer Session 2014 and be ahead of the curve for roll out a successful School Year 2014-2015 program.

 Thanks to all of our in-kind, volunteer and financial supporters – we couldn’t do it without you!

Sharing in a supportive environment
Sharing in a supportive environment
Using the tools at hand to teach arithmetic
Using the tools at hand to teach arithmetic
Reading together for fun strengthens literacy
Reading together for fun strengthens literacy
Team learning can be not only effective but fun.
Team learning can be not only effective but fun.

Links:

Apr 2, 2014

An update on our 2013-2014 after-school program

The shuffling of small footsteps on the pavement...the hum and rattle of the shuttle in front...children's infectious laughter ...the staff of Girls to Women's after-school program are alert for these familiar signs. As our young participants trickle in to the program, staff are ready with another eventful session...

 As is customary, first on the schedule is homework! Girls continue to support one another to do their very best as they complete homework assignments. At numerous parent-teacher conferences, which our staff attend at the request of the parents, teachers explain that they have seen significant improvements not only in girls' completion of homework assignments but also in the effort invested in completing the assignments.

Next on the agenda are activities! We continue to highlight the arts, health & nutrition, leadership, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning. Depending on volunteers and partnerships, activities can vary. One of the most popular activities at the moment is through a partnership with a local high school's Programming Club.  

Girls in our after-school program are learning the answer to the question What is programming? They are doing so through hands-on workshops on programming lead by a group of dedicated high-school girls. Using age-appropriate and again hands-on methods, our girls will learn how to program a maze. They will do so using Scratch, a programming language for youth ages 8-16 that makes it easy to create stories, games and simulations. 

There is nothing better than girls learning from other girls and women. We will be sure to update you on all that the girls accomplish! Thank you to the GlobalGiving community for the support!

Links:

Dec 20, 2013

Update: 2013-2014 Academic Year

Completing a reading comprehension assignment.
Completing a reading comprehension assignment.

Happy Holidays! As we take the time to reflect on all of our accomplishments this 2013-2014 school year, we want to extend our sincerest thank you to the GlobalGiving community for all of the support over the years.

We are happy to share an update on our 2013-2014 school year. This school year thus far we have served 28 girls - 75% are Latina, 11% are Asian-Indian, 11% are African American and 3% Pacific-Islander.

Our after-school program participants continue to prioritize homework. With the support of our dedicated staff and community volunteers, including local high-achieving high-school female students, the girls work through their homework assignments and projects before moving on to other activities. Staff, volunteers and the girls, have created an environment of learning where everyone works together in making sure everyone succeeds.

Once homework is complete, girls engage in educational and skill-building activities. To name a couple examples, on Monday afternoons, music teachers Catherine and Kari lead the music workshop. Girls are introduced to new songs, they learn basic guitar notes and they lead each other by introducing songs they perform. Recently girls performed Christmas carols for their parents and families at our Holiday Celebration, including one of their favorite songs Mary Did You Know?

On Tuesday afternoons, girls participate in Fresh Fest, a class lead by our local partner Collective Roots, that incorporates cooking in conjunction with a nutrition lesson. It’s great to see girls prepare and try food like humus for the first time and say, “Wow, I actually like this!”

As girls continue to push themselves to earn the school grades they work so hard to achieve, to try new activities and to support each other in their journeys, we are grateful to be able to witness first-hand the growth of each of the girls we serve. 

Guitar playing during the music workshop.
Guitar playing during the music workshop.

Links:

Sep 17, 2013

Self-Development: Summer 2013

Tai Chi and more workshop!
Tai Chi and more workshop!

Our 2013 Summer Session was lively, varied, and, in short, action-packed! Thirty-two girls, 20 volunteers and interns, and 3 staff members joined together to create a rich variety of hands-on activities and workshops.  91% of the girls are Latina, 3% are African-American and 6% are Asian-Indian.

This year’s summer theme was ‘Self-Development.’  Through it, the girls reflected-upon and explored their self-awareness, personal potential, and identity.

In the first week, girls participated in community-building exercises. Our aim was to establish an atmosphere of trust in which girls could navigate the influences that affect self-development.There’s a lot of pressure on girls regarding ‘beauty’ and physical appearance, and such pressures can make it difficult for girls to find their own authentic values.  To address this, the girls analyzed their own definitions of ‘beauty’ and where these ideas come from in society.  They reflected on their discoveries through group discussions, journal entries, and a variety of artistic creations, from collages to poetry. The girls also defined the expectations they have for themselves and others. One popular exercise involved creation of ‘Goal Boards,’ where each girl wrote-up her own goals and added them to a community display, meant to illustrate how bettering ourselves involves supporting others.

Field Trips  Every Monday and Wednesday morning, the girls took swimming lessons at the local YMCA. They also went on field trips to three different locations this summer:  The Chabot Space and Science Center, the Monterey Aquarium, and the San Francisco Exploratorium.

Workshops Lead by Women Professionals  Seventeen professional women lead a variety of activities introducing their careers and vocations.  Through these high-achieving mentors, our young participants caught a glimpse of many different career options and, more importantly, saw that women are leaders within them.  Workshops covered anything from poetry, to renewable energy, journalism, and engineering.

Family Night During our festive family night, each group of girls presented their various artistic, poetic, and other creations with their age-graded summer group. The youngest ‘American Girls,’ in grades K – 2, sang a short song they wrote. The ‘Eaglettes,’ girls in grades 3rd – 5th, took turns reading their goals from their ‘Goal Board’ outlining their aspirations. The ‘Cheetah Girls,’ girls in grades 6th – 8th, read their ‘Just Because’ poems – poems on debunking stereotypes imposed on them. It was most rewarding to witness the pride with which parents saw their daughters take the stage. Our Family Nights let girls see how much their community believes in them – and we don’t think that there’s a better way to bolster girls’ self-confidence.  

Our goal was for our participants to leave the summer program with a better understanding of themselves, and with useful tools for self-discovery.  Judging by the responses which we saw in the girls over the course of Summer Session 2013, we believe that, with the help of our parents, volunteers, and interns, we succeeded in that aim.

Girls designed and built chocolate factories.
Girls designed and built chocolate factories.
Girls at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Girls at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Links:

Jun 5, 2013

Spring 2013 Report

Literacy is Practice - School Year 2012-2013
Literacy is Practice - School Year 2012-2013

SUMMER IS FUN-TIME -- AND LEARNING-TIME!

We're busy organizing our 7th consecutive Summer Session 2013, and getting ready to welcome dozens of full-time participants and their families for the late June thru early-August 6-week Session.  Yes, we'll emphasize fitness, the arts, games, the outdoors,  field-trips, and fun -- but academics-related learning continues.

Experience tells us that the hour after lunch is when even the most active girls want to lay low for awhile and do more contemplative activities.  Accordingly, Summer Session girls will  have 'Reading-time' during this period, and can choose between take-turns group reading sessions or individual reading.  Our older 'Nia Project' girls have developed their own approach to group readings-and-discussion.  We offer prizes, support, and positive feedback to encourage our young readersField trips to the public library are frequent during Summer Session, for example. Reading-time is typically followed by group indoor quantitative reasoning games like 'Minute to Win-It,' and 'Wheel of Fortune.'  Stay tuned for notice of our End-Of-Summer Celebration!

School Year 2012-2013 ended strongly, and we are especially proud of the progress which several formerly under-performing girls made with English Literacy.  Just one success story this year is “Jasmine (names are changed or withheld as part of our safety policy).”  Her Mexican immigrant grandmother was raising her but, with only an elementary-school education, knew that she couldn’t help Jasmine’s flagging English literacy – 2 years below grade-level (close collaboration with parents is key to our approach to academic support).  We convened family, classroom teachers and our tutors early in the School Year to develop a plan for Jasmine who, nine months later, is now ‘proficient’ at her grade level.  Wow.  Congratulations to you and to your grandmother, Jasmine!

While we're at it, thanks again to GlobalGiving and to all of our donors.  We believe that we've provided a good return on your investment in terms of positive development for low-income girls over School Year 2012-2013, and we just can't do it without you!

Doing Math By The Numbers - Spring Semester 2013
Doing Math By The Numbers - Spring Semester 2013
Online Tutorials Sharpen Academic Skills - 2013
Online Tutorials Sharpen Academic Skills - 2013

Links:

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Organization

Girls to Women

East Palo Alto, CA, United States
http://www.girlstowomen.org

Project Leader

Patrica Foster

Executive Director
East Palo Alto, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Academic Support & Mentoring for Underserved Girls