The Young Women’s Initiative is a component of SLJ’s Early College Awareness Program. The three-pronged mission of the Young Women’s Initiative at the Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice is to create and foster a positive sense of self, increase school engagement and improve academic performance among our young women.
To accomplish our mission, we have created The Young Women’s Association, a young Women’s empowerment group and mentoring program which pairs students with professional women of color.
We believe that the YWI's programs will provide our young women with the tools to succeed in high school, graduate from college and, most importantly, successfully transition into womanhood.
Educational research and reform efforts focus heavily on the experiences of young men of color in schools. We began the Young Women’s Association in 2008 when it became clear that many of our young women faced similar challenges to those faced by our young men.
As Horace Hall discusses in his article on mentoring young women of color, “our emphasis on masculinity relegates the lived realities of African American and Latina girls to the margins”. While our girls were doing better by conventional measures, we found they were more likely than their male counterparts to struggle with issues surrounding self-image, relationship building, and communication. SLJ must be a place that feels supportive to young women. Through YWI, we are building a community of empowered young women who have become active citizens at SLJ and will, no doubt, become leaders in their communities and the world at large.
The Young Women's Association (YWA) is an after school empowerment group. Its goal is to strengthen academic and leadership skills and provide a forum for building a strong female community in our school. YWA meets weekly for discussions, guest lectures, workshops, and trips.
In their Idea Book for Mentors Faddis, et al suggest that interactions with professional women can increase self-esteem and confidence and combat isolation and fragmentation experienced by young women of color by strengthening the bonds of friendship and networking.
Young women involved in a mentoring program benefit from an improved self concept, and are considerably less likely to use alcohol and drugs. Positive interactions with role models are correlated with success in high school and students involved in mentoring programs are far more likely to go to college than their counterparts.
The Young Women’s Association seeks to create a mentoring program which aims to:
Mentors are asked to commit to:
How to become a mentor: