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Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational grassroots organization committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing and physical fitness, GGE encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.
One of GGE’s major programs for high school girls is called “Sisters in Strength” (SIS). This is what our high school youth organizers had to say about the program in post-program surveys:
· “I am more outspoken. This will help me be more assertive in high school, college and work.”
· “I have confidence. I now speak with assurance and make better decisions. I can go beyond and do things I’ve never done before. Going to meet with the DOE, my boyfriend and friends felt like that was something that would never have done before. They were proud.”
· “I’ll be using my public speaking skills in college and I’ll be more open to challenge myself.”
· “I’ll be using the knowledge I gained while participating to help me in my future. I would like to run a non-profit organization.”
· “I am taking GED classes and it’s all because of the support I get from SIS and GGE!”
GGE’s impact on participants’ academic achievement:
· Current and past participants report that leading workshops in schools and the community has resulted in their increased classroom participation which has positively impacted their academic performance.
· One former youth organizer said participation in organizing activities such as the Title IX Campaign and Participatory Action Research projects made her pre-med college studies easier.
· A former Sister in Strength connects her successful work at Temple University to her experiences at GGE.
· One current Sister in Strength who has never loved school, is now thoroughly engaged in a Feminism & Hip Hop project as a result of her work at GGE. Staff is thrilled to see her so excited, since her graduation depends on its successful completion.
· GGE successfully applied to the Brooklyn Youth Leadership Training Institute’s (BYLTI) College Access Research & Action Creating Post-Secondary Pathways (CARA), program this summer. The BYLTI fosters an emerging strategy of placing young people in leadership roles to help their peers prepare for college and move successfully through the application process. Up to 5 GGE alumni youth leaders will be selected to participate and design a peer education program around college accessibility for current SIS participants.
· GGE staff have been busy writing recommendations for alumni for social justice internships. We are proud that these young women are comfortable as ambassadors of this work and in their desire to help build foundations for safe spaces for women.
Sisters’ Stories of Leadership Success:
· A former SIS participant has facilitated a women’s group on her Syracuse University campus, modeled on GGE. Another of our alumni started a black nurses’ support group at her New York University campus.
“At GGE, I took on many different roles. One day out of the week I was part of a leadership team with a peer intern, creating activities and raising funds for an all-girls after-school program called Health and Fitness. I would then become a panel member discussing campaigns against sexual harassment in black neighborhoods; participate in gender respect workshops; assist with finding the benefits and downfalls of Title IX; and promote a Sisters in Strength short film call “Hey, Shorty!” thatwould help educate community members on ways to protect children from being sexually harassed and abused in the streets. Having the opportunity to be a part of these different programs opened my eyes to issues that I never took notice of before. GGE and its staff instilled in me the courage to be proud of being different; the drive to challenge stereotypes and stigmas of society; and strength to find my voice to fight for what I believe in even if everyone else does not agree with me.” Nyocia, former Sister in Strength
“After completing my first year at Girls for Gender Equity, I would like to return next year because, among many other things, I know this program would prepare me in finding the right scholarships I need for college…the Urban Leaders Academy has given me the chance to find my calling in life. The children have given me a new outlook on my future. I plan to attend the University of Miami to study Political Science and Education in hopes of pursuing teaching.” Tawana, former Sister in Strength
“I joined Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) in August 2008 as a Sister in Strength Intern. I can honestly say that without this organization I wouldn’t be half of who I am today or have all the experiences and characteristics that I have now. I am more outgoing, outspoken, and I have great leadership skills. As I move on to college I will take with me the things that I love the most: being socially aware and a motivated educator. I am just one of the many teenagers who has gotten a lot from being a part of this organization.” Pamela, former Sister in Strength
“GGE, and the Sisters in Strength program allowed me to refine my leadership and community organizing skills. Being involved in SIS also gave me work experience. I received a paycheck, which enabled me to open my own bank account and manage my money. I had to “clock” in, which helped me with time management and prioritizing. And the office provided a professional feel that I will be sure to see later in my career. I especially appreciated the support that I received from the GGE staff. Many of the scholarships that I received to assist with my college tuition, I learned about through GGE. GGE even played a part in my acceptances to the 10 colleges to which I applied by writing me a recommendation letter. Being a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School was difficult, but I would like to thank GGE and SIS for making it easier.” Wadia, former Sister in Strength