Plans are underway to hold the next Young Women’s Leadership Program in Sacramento, California. We are very excited to bring our leadership program to the capital city of California where we plan to introduce a political advocacy component for the participants.
While we are working hard to update materials and tighten the curriculum, we must also continue to fundraise to keep this program available to young women in Northern California.
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We always like to check in with the young women who attend our Young Woman’s Leadership Program a few months after they participated in the program to see how they are doing and what impact their participation in the program has had on their lives. We were very pleased when we received this letter from a recent participant who shared her thoughts about the program and how she is utilizing what she learned in her life today.
“What I experienced at the Young Women’s Leadership Program is just unimaginable. I was scared to go at first, but now that I have experienced it all, I am glad I did. The program helped me learn so much about taking care of my body. All of the guest speakers gave incredible information that is very useful to me in my everyday life.
I have many friends and as teenagers we go through so many things. I am glad that now I have a way of taking care of myself and to help my friends and my community as well. I have used what I have learned from the Young Women’s Leadership Program by referring my friends to Women’s Health Specialists and to all of the other organizations like Stonewall and Catalyst. I now know that I have options and that I am the only one who can make any decisions regarding my body and it feels great to be able to share that information with my friends and community. My friends were also happy to know where they can go to get birth control, STD testing and a place where they can talk to someone about different reproductive health care issues. Thank you for providing this great program it really did change my life and I met a lot of new friends! ” - YWLP Participant
We love receiving letters like this because it is a true testament to the long lasting benefits our Young Women’s Leadership Program has on the young women who participate.
In June, we held our second Young Women’s Leadership Program in Chico, California. Twelve young women with various backgrounds were selected from the community to participate. Community organizations that presented included, Sixth Street Drop-In Center, a shelter for homeless youth, Catalyst, a domestic violence response program and Stonewall Alliance Center, a resource for the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few. Reproductive health care information was shared by Women’s Health Specialists’ staff where the young women learned about the various forms of birth control, STD’s and had the opportunity to go on a clinic tour.
“This program is awesome! I made a lot of new friends and learned a lot about teen resources” YWLP Participant
For four days the young women learned about reproductive health care, life skills on budgeting and how to access community resources. They worked together harmoniously and friendships were built in the short amount of time they spent together.
We are still reviewing our pre and post surveys as well as evaluations forms that were filled out that I hope to share the results of in the next project update. However, based on all the verbal accolades from presenters and participants, the program was a huge success and we couldn’t have pulled it off without all those who continue to support this project!
With two Young Women’s Leadership Programs set to kick-off this summer, program organizers are currently recruiting for program participants and facilitators in both Chico and Sacramento, California. The selection process for both participants and facilitators relies heavily on the ties we have with community organizations.
Program participants are selected from various resources in the community. We are in contact with local agencies that work with youth, high schools, and organizations who work with populations that are underserved. This selection process helps build a diverse group of young women who may not otherwise have the opportunity to work together. We have found that selecting participants in this way provides a richer experience for everyone involved.
Selecting facilitators is as crucial as selecting the participants. We are searching for facilitators who possess compassion and have a capacity for mindful listening. Having a good sense of humor and flexibility are also necessary assets for a facilitator’s success. Last, we are looking for facilitators that welcome and encourage other voices, a characteristic that is essential for successful outcomes.
As our planning continues, we are grateful for all the support we have received for our project. Stay tuned for the next update where the results of at least one Young Women’s Leadership Program scheduled to take place in June will be shared.
As we prepare for the next series of Young Women’s Leadership programs we found ourselves reflecting on past programs and came across some statements that participants had when asked, “What were some of the most important things you learned from the Young Women’s Leadership Program?” Here’s what some of them had to say.
“I learned women are powerful.” “I learned how to get help through community resources.” “I learned how important it is to use protection.”
It was inspiring to read what the young women walked away with after completing our Young Women’s Leadership Program. It also furthered our commitment to help young women become socially, emotionally, physical and cognitively stronger by providing a comprehensive program that uses dynamic youth development principles.
It would be remiss if I did not mention that while we were reflecting on past programs we found ourselves overwhelmed with gratitude for the growing support we have received to make it possible for us to keep the Young Women’s Leadership Program going and available to young women. Support comes in many ways and we couldn’t be more thankful.
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