Thank you for your support! We continue to work with our younger sisters in St. John to provide them with love, guidance, and a safe space just for them. We are grooming them to become leaders by offering them constructive outlets for expansion and opportunities for career development and life skills. In addition, we are in the process of creating a natural product created from local materials to mass produce and market that represents who they are and where they want to be.
Our new activities will focus on holisttic health and healing. Women and girls in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) experience higher than average rates of obesity/overweight, diabetes, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, and violence.
In the U.S., including its territories, one in three girls is sexually abused by age 18. Women are 50% more likely than men to have high adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Those with high ACEs are significantly more likely to have mental health and substance abuse problems, chronic physical illnesses, and early death. Women with high ACEs are prone to depression, are more likely to become victims of rape and domestic violence; two-thirds of all suicide attempts are attributable to ACEs.
While tourists generally come to the USVI to heal, most youth in the USVI do not experience healing. Sisterhood Agenda aims to change that through evidence-based program implementation that is: 1) African-centered, 2) trauma-informed, and 3) gender-responsive.
It is the understanding of whole body health (mental, spiritual, and physical) that will transform our mentoring initaitives with our girls. The healing envirionment created by the Sisterhood Empowerment Academy (SEA) will also greatly facilitate empowerment and healing processes.
Sisterhood Agenda is expanding its team to include social workers and clinical psychologists who are committed to helping girls in St. John. Training is provided by nationally recognized trauma and female empowerment experts.
Thank you again and we look forward to updating you about our new activities and the Sisterhood Empowerment Academy (SEA). We love having you on our team and hope that you will continue to support this important cause.
Our girls often communicate that they feel invisible, as if their accomplishments, needs, and desires are not heard and don’t matter. Of course, they do! As our girls get older, they need to be prepared for the work force. Sisterhood Agenda encourages them with our unique C-MEE strategy: Citizenship, Mentoring, Education, and Employment.
From July 8-August 1, 2014, Sisterhood Agenda will serve 15 youth in the St. Thomas/St. John school district, the largest district in the U.S. Virgin Islands with Sisterhood Brotherhood Career Development & Life Skills Program. This program incorporates Sisterhood Agenda's unique C-MEE strategy, a progressive out-of-school approach that includes gender-specific, culturally relevant, multi-media, and hands-on activities that engage young people. We combine both educational and occupational approaches. It is an enrichment strategy that includes: academics, drama, arts, culture, trades, health, life skills, self-esteem, sisterhood/brotherhood, athletics, and computers.
Past summer program sites included Tutu Park Mall and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. This summer, the program will be held at the Tutu Park Mall. Once the SEA building is constructed, we will be able to implement this program in our new Sisterhood Empowerment Academy (SEA) building.
The CMEE strategy teaches youth ages 14 and 15 to be responsible citizens and leaders as they prepare to enter the workforce by promoting these four key areas in the curriculum: Education, Employment, Mentoring, and Citizenship. In addition to encouraging entrepreneurship and self-determination, the program will help participants:
Expenses for this program total $4,500 for the summer and $43,000 for the school year. Expenses include costs for program staff (project director and teacher/mentors), materials and supplies (books and educational supplies), local travel, insurance, communications, and program space.
Sisterhood Agenda founding President Angela D. Coleman initiated the formation of the St. John Youth Coalition and the coalition had their first meeting on January 16, 2014. Angela facilitates coalition efforts by bringing valuable coalition training and skills to the island of St. John. She recently attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America leadership institute in Washington, DC and met with Virgin Islands Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen to communicate the importance of Sisterhood Agenda’s work with youth in St. John. Angela brought the training and educational materials back to the sisters in the sisterhood mentoring program and to the youth coalition members to enhance collective efforts.
Sisterhood Agenda is currently conducting an island-wide needs assessment to determine what types of prevention efforts will be most useful and effective for children on the island of St. John, including girls in the sisterhood mentoring program. This assessment includes formation of an assessment committee, analysis of existing data, focus groups, surveys/questionnaires, and development of a strategic plan for Sisterhood Agenda and other St. John Youth Coalition members.
After completing and reviewing many aspects of the assessment process, Sisterhood Agenda will begin its pilot-test implementation of a new evidence-based, culturally relevant and gender-specific sisterhood mentoring program that has a focus on health, including substance abuse prevention, plus career development and workforce skills. The program will also have a male component for young males under Sisterhood Agenda’s Brotherhood Agenda division. Implementation of the new program will take place at outreach locations in St. John and in St. Thomas beginning in March 2014.
Sisterhood Agenda would like to thank everyone who has supported its efforts including Partnerships for Hope, the Virgin Islands Department of Health, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor, and individuals donors like you. Stay tuned for details!
The Sisterhood Mentoring Program in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands has moved from place-to-place after its location at the Youth Center public facility has been closed due to painting and other work within the center. We had meetings outside in the park, at the church, and at a local deli. Because the completion date of the renovations is unknown and was anticipated to be sooner, we are searching for a new program home.
Of course, Sisterhood Agenda plans to build its Global Empowerment Academy space—the girls are excited and can’t wait for this vision to become a reality! This Sisterhood Mentoring Program is just one group included in Sisterhood Agenda’s Global Educational Empowerment Project. Other global girls are being served locally through Sisterhood Agenda Global Partners. The Global Empowerment Academy will ultimately connect global girls through resource-sharing, action, and technology.
In the meantime, the group had three meetings and a pizza party in Cruz Bay. We plan to add more girls to the program in the new year with a fresh start. We also hope that this fresh start includes a new space and funding for field trips. The girls in the program are understandably anxious to do more trips that remove them from the small island of St. John. Even going to the island of St. Thomas nearby via a 20-minute ferry or barge ride will give them opportunities to engage in more structured recreation and self-development activities for youth.
Sisterhood Agenda is starting its important work with all youth-serving agencies in St. John by leading development and program coordination with the St. John Youth Coalition. Sisterhood Agenda’s annual Sisterhood/Brotherhood New Year’s Eve Youth Extravaganza is also scheduled for December 31, 2013 in Franklin Powell Park. Some of the girls in the program will be traveling off-island at this time, but we have a nice group of volunteers. We also have local residents in St. John interested in supporting Sisterhood Agenda in new pregnancy prevention efforts. The future is great and we are blessed!
Sisterhood Agenda’s Sisterhood Mentoring Program is still going strong, but on summer hiatus due to the traveling plans of many of the participants. However, contact has been maintained with all of the participants and a beach trip was well attended on August 3, 2013.
Some of the girls in the program are entering high school. St. John has no public high school on the island, so high schoolers commute to high school via ferry to St. Thomas. Some of the girls expressed concerns about still being able to be in the group. They were assured that they can participate as long as they want to. The activities of the group will be largely decided by what they want to do, along with the needs assessed by the group coordinator. The group will retain a dynamic and fluid process of adapting to the needs of its participants. Participants bonded with one of the adult volunteers who also completed career development and life skills activities for Sisterhood Agenda. We hope that she will come back to assume a more active role in coordinating activities for the Sisterhood Mentoring Program. Due to request, Sisterhood Agenda is considering one of the local high schools in St. Thomas an outreach site for expanded Sisterhood Mentoring activities.
When school begins after the Labor Day holiday, the group will resume regular meetings on Fridays at the Youth Center in Cruz Bay, St. John.
Earlier this summer, Sisterhood Agenda organized the St. John Youth Coalition, which included Sisterhood Agenda and its Brotherhood Agenda division, plus 9 other youth organizations serving young people in St. John. The first initiative of the St. John Youth Coalition will be discussed during community meetings this fall.
The girls in the Sisterhood Mentoring Program will make important contributions to the future activities of the St. John Youth Coalition.
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