Young Women Empowered
Y-WE empowers girls, young women and gender non-conforming youth from diverse backgrounds to step up as leaders in their schools, communities and
the world. We do this through intergenerational mentorship, intercultural collaboration, and creative programs that equip participants with the confidence, resiliency, and leadership skills needed to achieve their goals and improve their communities.
2524 16th Ave S Suite #301
Seattle, WA 98144
Underserved young women in the greater Seattle area lack access and face cultural barriers to empowerment and success. Research shows that girls' self-confidence peaks at age nine, then drops significantly as girls advance through middle and high school. The diverse young women of Y-WE also face systematic inequity and current increased cultural hostility. Recent experiences of Y-WE participants include a young Muslim woman called "terrorist" by people who threatened to rip off her hijab and a young Latina told to "go back to Mexico." There is a pressing need for learning and leadership programs that center marginalized young women and offer resources for resiliency and cross-cultural connections. Y-WE fills a unique niche for young women during a stage of life when students are identifying college and career interests; developing critical social-emotional relationships; and navigating the their own sense of identity and self-worth.
Our 12 annual programs range from academics support programs to the environmental education programs to creative writing programs. As a youth development organization that serves the whole person, Y-WE responds to needs in different domains of young women's lives: academics/career, creative arts, health, environmental connection, civic engagement and more. Within Y-WE's multicultural community, young women find their voices, explore possibilities and emerge as changemakers.
Y-WE is uniquely qualified to do this work: we fulfill our mission at the intersection of race, class and gender, and we excel at creating meaningful engagement through culturally relevant
learning programs using research-based strategies. We employ a blend of research-based strategies, emphasizing:
Access: Many girls face barriers to participation. Y-WE provides scholarships, safety, cultural respect, transport and meals for all programs.
Engaged mentorship: Adult women mentors participate in program activities alongside young women.
Finding one's voice: Young women develop confident self expression through creative workshops, trainings, and authentic conversations.
Social and emotional learning (SEL): Y-WE integrates the five SEL core competencies (e.g. self-awareness) that research links to academic and life success.
Leadership development: This is central to our curriculum. Young women develop skills as they plan and lead workshops.
Health and self-care: Youth cultivate physical and emotional well-being through dance, health education workshops, self-care practices and healthy outdoor activities.
Y-WE is unique in our approach and also deeply collaborative as we tap the expertise of a wide range of program partners. Collaborators include: Antioch University, Casa Latina, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Duwamish River Clean-Up Coalition, El Centro de la Raza, foundry10, Hedgebrook, Mountaineers Club, Reel Grrls, REI, Sen. Patty Murray, School's Out Washington, University of Washington, Washington Trails Association, Women's Funding Alliance, Youth Development Executives of King County and many more.
Fundamentally, we seek to empower young women in all our programs to become leaders who effect positive change in their communities. We want participants to find their voices,
gain knowledge and skills, develop self-confidence, express themselves creatively, explore academic and career pathways, and forge strong bonds within a dynamic intercultural community of girls and women. Examples of intended participant outcomes across programs are increases in:
1. Ability to take on leadership roles in home, school and community.
2. Positive and confident sense of self-identity.
3. Ability to communicate clearly with others from different backgrounds.
4. Knowledge of good ways to take care of physical, mental and emotional health.
5. Knowledge and skills to succeed in academic/career pursuits.
6. Commitment to taking positive community action for change.
In addition, we track intended outcomes in all programs, e.g. in Nature Connections, an increase in commitment to regular engagement in healthy outdoor activities, and in Y-WE Code, increases in awareness of STEM career opportunities and basic software development skills. In all programs, we aim for deep, far-reaching and lasting impact. Young women have a major role to play in shaping our future.
Youth Data for our 2016-17 Y-WE Programs included:
*87% increased feeling that my voice is strong and I am able to speak up for what matters to me
*91% increased feeling of empowerment to live my life the way I want
*93% increased commitment to taking positive action in my community (using what I learned in this program)
*95% increased ability to communicate well with others of different ages/backgrounds
*96% increased perception of girls, women and gender queer people as my allies
Comic Relief's vision is to create a just world free from poverty. Red Nose Day began 30 years ago in the United Kingdom with a mission to drive positive change through the power of entertainment. Red Nose Day USA is dedicated to ending child poverty by helping low-income children in the US and some of the poorest communities around the world access programs that keep them safe, healthy and educated. It does this by building effective partnerships with and providing grants to nonprofit organizations that share their vision and purpose.
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In recognition of Y-WE's inspiring community of champions:
We have a proven track record of obtaining diverse funding to support our programs. With an engaged board and Little Green Light database of 800+ donors, Y-WE has received recent grant support from NoVo Foundation ($180,000 over 3 years), M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust ($160,000 over 3 years), Russell Family Foundation, Clif Bar Foundation, Jubilation Foundation, Peck Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation Resilience Fund, Women's Funding Alliance, ERM Foundation, REI Force of Nature Fund and Employee Giving at Microsoft and other industry leaders. Our 2018 Ignite gala raised over $250,000. We are grateful to receive support from so many individuals donors, foundations, and corporations who invest in the power and potential of young women to change our world.
In 2017, Y-WE was awarded the Senator Patty Murray Golden Tennis Shoe award for outstanding community leadership. Our other awards include: Social Venture Partner's Fast Pitch audience choice award; Women's Funding Alliance's Leah C. McCollough Legacy Fund award; and Seattle Met's Light the Fire Award for the Emerging Leadership of our Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Jamie-Rose Edwards.
Additionally, here are just a few of the incredible recent highlights from our Youth Leadership Council members:
Sophie: Sophie has been on the YLC for the last 3 years. She is currently a volunteer coordinator at West Side Baby, U.S. Ambassador for WeAreSisterStories, and a board member for both the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network and King County Youth Advisory Board.
Aarushi: Aarushi is in Y-WE Nature Connections and new to the YLC. Currently an intern with the Bellevue City Hall Fire Department, she's also part of the core leadership committee for Anti Racist work at her school, where she's coordinating a day-long event to bring awareness to how colorism impacts students.
Eleanor: You can watch Eleanor play Glinda in the Wizard of Oz for Bellevue Youth Theater -- and she's also an intern with the National Center for Restorative Justice.
Ha'aheo and Viv: Both youth attend the Center School and are members of the NAACP Youth Coalition. Ha'aheo was recently featured in Seattle Weekly for their advocacy. They both helped draft the Black Lives Matter Initiative that just passed at the school board.
Namaka: Named Seattle's Youth Poet Ambassador, Namaka recently appeared at Benoroya Hall on artist Sherman Alexie's podcast. Namaka also co-led a disability justice training for College Access Now, and currently interns with Foundry 10 where she is working with author Anastacia Renee to write and publish a collection of her poetry. Namaka also performed a powerful original poem with fellow YLC member Nasra at the MLK Day Parade in front of thousands.
These are just a few of the inspiring updates from our world-changing youth -- and a powerful example of what you help make possible when you invest in young women's leadership at Y-WE. Thank you for being part of our community and this important work.