The Women’s Initiative invests over $200,000 in programs for girls ages 11 to 14, with the priorities of health, financial literacy, and safety. Below is a list of funded programs from 2017-2018.
African Community Education Program (ACE), Express Yourself Program
- The Express Yourself (EY) Program provides comprehensive psycho-social support to female students ages 10-14, offering a safe space for students to explore topics ranging from health and hygiene, to culture, identity and post-secondary options. While the topics and skills covered in the EY Program are important for any child, they are especially vital for these students. Their limited knowledge of US systems, lack of emotional literacy, language barriers, education gaps, and trauma issues present huge obstacles in their development into healthy, safe and confident youth and put them at a greater risk of being affected by violence and poverty.
Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, Girls’ Voice
- The Girls Voice program combines two best practice curricula – SMART Girls and Girls Circle – with leadership development and a wide variety of girls-only programming that includes fitness, yoga, self-defense, dance, music, and drama. The programming topics are chosen and were suggested by girls in the program.
Clark University, All Kinds of Girls
- All Kinds of Girls is a Saturday program for Worcester girls aged nine to twelve, run by mentors at Clark University. The program teaches adolescent girls self-esteem as a powerful mode of prevention against troubled and violent behavior. The program focuses on encouraging wellness, supporting healthy relationships, promoting positive behavior, and enhancing peer leadership in girls.
Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc., Girls on the Run
- This program engages 30 girls at Sullivan Middle School in Worcester in Heart and Sole (H&S), the middle school program of Girls on the Run (GOTR). GOTR is an international, evidence-based, positive youth development curriculum that incorporates physical activity. The structured 10 week program was chosen because it focuses on the whole girl, allowing them to explore who they are, and what type of person they wish to become. GOTR has demonstrated increased self-esteem among participants, helps girls identify the components of positive relationships, encourages an increase in positive behaviors, and gives them the tools to develop self-advocacy skills which they can transfer to all parts of their lives.
Girls Incorporated of Worcester, Dear World:Voices of Worcester Girls
- An expressive arts and violence prevention program for girls ages 11 to 18. This skills-based experiential program builds upon the national Girls Inc. Dear World public education campaign, and incorporates components of evidence based violence prevention programs. Participants are empowered to explore the impact of bullying, violence against women and girls, racism, religious intolerance, and gender stereotypes. Through a variety of expressive arts, girls have an opportunity to educate themselves and the broader community on issues of violence and promote healthy relationships.
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, Be a Friend First (BFF)
- Using an evidence-based national curriculum, this engaging, hands-on program links Girl Scouts staff, local educators, and girls to combat the negative effects of bullying in our communities. Through the Women’s Initiative’s investment, 85 fifth and sixth grade girls will discover how to lead through friendship and stop bullying in its tracks by developing healthy relationships with others, learning how to appropriately resolve conflicts, cultivating strong senses of self (including the ability to resist peer pressure), and educating and inspiring others to act.
Latino Education Institute (LEI), Latina Achievers in Search of Success (LASOS)
- LASOS is a youth development program that employs cultural strengths to provide Latina middle-school girls with strategies to achieve healthy relationships and behavior. Program components include violence prevention, creative expression, self-esteem, leadership development, career exploration, parental involvement, healthy lifestyles, and conflict resolution.
LUK Crisis Center, Inc., Project Shine
- This leadership development program serves middle-school girls from the Wachusett Regional and Quabbin Regional School Districts. Project Shine uses two evidence-based models – Girls Circle and Safe Dates, as well as service learning activities to promote healthy relationships and positive behaviors in girls.
Seven Hills Family Services, Just Us Girls
- “Just Us Girls” is a unique social skills opportunity for girls with special needs who have not been successful in forming real friendships, mostly because of their disabilities. Girls with special needs from area middle schools participate, as well as typical peers who serve as role models and communication partners. The program targets the development of self-determination skills, with particular goals around communicating more effectively, making good choices, learning about community resources, personal safety skills, basic finance, and developing friendship skills. A concurrent group for parents is facilitated by a trained family support specialist.
Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc., ASCEND Program
- The ASCEND structured after-school program is a community-based, therapeutic milieu for girls who are facing or have faced serious disruptions in their lives. It is designed to provide therapeutic support and a structured, safe environment 3 days per week during the after-school hours and during the day in summers in order to enable girls to build positive relationships and reduce their risk of violence. The ASCEND Program is utilizing the Girls Circle curriculum to promote self-confidence, trust, positive decision making skills, and positive relationships with peers and adults.