Girls Only Leadership Development

This past May, thirteen (13) junior high school girls, their parents, mentors, YWCA Cambridge staff, and City of Cambridge officials gathered together in city hall to celebrate the conclusion of yet another successful semester of the Girls Only Leadership Development (GOLD) program.  

We spent seven (7) months exploring a variety of  topics, from self-defense to financial literacy to the making of a podcast. The young women of GOLD culminated their experiences with a graduation ceremony, broadcasting the podcast they’d created during their workshops with the American Repertory Theatre.

With their certificates of completion in hand, they were invited on stage to shake hands with  YWCA Cambridge Executive Director Eva Martin Blythe, Councilwoman Simmons, and GOLD Coordinator Amanda Okaka.  After all of the well wishes, were completed, one young woman made her way over to the microphone, took a deep breath, and exhaled a small “thank you” before running off stage; many of the girls in the program giggled to themselves, but all of them also nodded knowingly.

In speaking with the GOLD participants, it becomes apparent that the exchange during the closing ceremony was indicative of many of their experiences. Young women participating in GOLD are invited, encouraged and supported to step out of their comfort zones; whether it’s in the form of public speaking or learning about taxes, they learn to do something that challenges their vision of who they are and what they’re capable of doing or becoming.  One participant described her experience when remarking on her favorite workshop- self-defense, saying “it felt weird and new but I also felt a little more safe and experienced after.” GOLD teaches young girls not only to be OK with a healthy dose of discomfort, but to flourish in it and grow from it, turning their uncertainty into empowerment.

GOLD introduces its participants to new friends, informs them of sexism in the media, and helps them to start seeing themselves as strong independent young women, through their relationships with older mentors.  GOLD also teaches skills that will help young girls enter high school as strong, intelligent young women, ready to take on the world.

GOLD Registration is now open for volunteers and 8th grade girls! Sign up today.  

Written by: Mia Kania, Forest Foundation Intern at YWCA Cambridge 

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Stand Against Racism

To kick off this year’s Stand Against Racism campaign, YWCA Cambridge is making
t-shirts available through Bonfire.
On April 21, 2018, YWCA Cambridge will host a panel discussion featuring Women of Color Elected Officials on “The Importance of Registering to Vote, Voting and Running
 for Public Office”. Order your t-shirt and save the date! A portion of each t-shirt sale goes to YWCA Cambridge.
Keep an eye out for more details on this upcoming event!

We Are On a Mission in 2018.

When thinking about the New Year and what it means for YWCA Cambridge, we began to look at the four core programs that make us who we are. Those four programs are: Housing and Shelter Services; Health and Wellness; Empowerment and Economic Advancement of Women and Girls; and Racial and Social Justice. Each area is key to the success of our mission: to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

In order to highlight our efforts in 2018, we have created this blog to showcase issues, achievements, stories, and events surrounding our program areas.  From telling the stories of our girls leadership program (GOLD) participants to reporting on our efforts to overcome the issues of personal and institutional racism, we want to give you the ins and outs of YWCA Cambridge through monthly blog posts. Our goal with this blog is to educate, motivate and create conversations about each program area.

We want to know what issues are important to you. Tell us what you want to hear or learn more about! Email Whitney at wmooney@ywcacam.org.