Three Sisters in Strength youth organizers were trained as facilitators to help their peers through the college application process.
This is the number of Sisters in Strength youth organizers and alumni who support girls through the program.
Estimated girls & women affected
This is the estimated number of Sisters in Strength youth organizers, their peers and family, and alumni who support the community through the program.
Estimated community members affected
During the 2013-2014 academic years, three Sisters In Strength youth organizers were trained as facilitators through the College Access Research & Action Creating Post-Secondary Pathways (CARA) program. They each completed three weeks of intensive training and developed a comprehensive curriculum. This prepared them to facilitate monthly workshops about the college application process and provide one-on-one peer coaching sessions to participants. Through CARA, the facilitators were able to guide and support their peers in completing college applications, writing essays, applying for financial aid, and completing a host of other college tasks.
Many of the Sisters in Strength organizers will be first generation college students, so this additional support in navigating the often confusing college application process has proven invaluable. In pre and post-workshop surveys, participants confirm that the assistance they receive through CARA is a much needed supplement to the college preparatory services available at their high schools. Through peer support they were offered inspiration and a strong foundation for making informed decisions about their futures. As a result of these workshops, 100% of high school seniors applied to college and said that CARA workshops helped them better understand the application process and become better advocates in seeking assistance from their guidance counselors.
“Girls for Gender Equity has inspired my studies and endeavor to promote health care and educational development in underdeveloped communities around the world. Most importantly, they have motivated me to become a stronger woman and individual. I would like to give you and Girls for Gender Equity a big thank you for the opportunity and honor to be a part of the GGE family!” - Cyndi, a 2008-2009 Sisters in Strength youth organizer. She graduated from the City College of New York with a B.A. in International Studies!
Risks and challenges
Capacity and funding are universal challenges to small non-profits seeking growth, but we continue to be resourceful. Training our Sisters in Strength youth leaders, as well as alumni, to lead workshops, facilitate events, and make panel appearances increases our capacity to educate and inform.
A small grant from a valued funder has enabled us to engage a consultant to re-design our website as an essential resource that informs movement-building and provides current, critical information, support and direction
What we’ve learned
We learned that high school students appreciate mentorship from college students that have already gone through the process. We would like to invest in our alumni leading our high school students through college tours, preparation, and the college application process.
Sisters in Strength's two year cycle is beginning again in September (2014). We are in the process of scheduling college visits for participants to local NYC campuses, and ideally at least one college tour to campuses outside of NYC.
Your support has helped us maintain the CARA college prep and access program. The $10,000 grant has provided critical support for a Program Coordinator, training our youth facilitators, transportation, supplies, and refreshments. Thank you so much for helping us provide a bridge to higher education for our Sisters!
Amount spent so far
Part-time program coordinator
4 trainings of youth facilitators
Food and supplies
Crossing the bridge to higher education
“I get a sense of giving back to GGE and building bonds with the girls who have yet to “cross the bridge.” Going through the college process has helped me understand how alienating it can be to not have the information to get into a “good” college. I feel like this SIS cohort can have much more control and confidence, equipped with the right tools and having access to resources that are not readily available.”
-Ash, SIS Alumni and CARA workshop leader
GGE successfully applied for our 2nd year in the Brooklyn Youth Leadership Training Institute’s (BYLTI) College Access Research & Action Creating Post-Secondary Pathways (CARA) program for our Sisters in Strength high school youth leaders. CARA fosters an emerging strategy of placing young people in leadership roles to help their peers move successfully through the application process. In July, 2 current Sisters and 2 SIS alumni participated in 3 weeks of intensive training and are now prepared to facilitate monthly workshops on the college application process and provide 1-on-1 counseling sessions with participants as needed from September – June, the length of the program. According to their 2013 evaluation surveys, 100% of 1st year Sisters said they plan to apply to college and that the CARA workshops helped them better understand the application process and become better advocates in seeking assistance from their guidance counselors.
Risks and challenges
While we appreciate the generous support of our donors, capacity and funding remain challenges in this current fiscal climate; we are currently seeking funding for out-of-state college campus trips for program participants and for a long-term evaluation component to better inform the CARA program. It has also been a bit difficult to schedule 1-on-1 direct peer-to-peer support sessions as needed due to Sisters in Strength participants' schedules outside of regular weekly sessions, but we are working on these issues and are confident they will be resolved.
Sisters in Strength Year 2 began in September; we are in the process of scheduling college visits for participants to local NYC campuses, and, ideally, at least one college campus outside of NYC. The 1.5 hour CARA workshops are scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month until May, 2014, during regular program meeting time from 4 - 7 p.m. We are also seeking funding for a longer term evaluation to track the number of program graduates who attend college as a result of the CARA program.
Our Catapult donors have helped us maintain the CARA college prep and access program; the $10,000 grant has provided critical support for a Program Coordinator, training our youth facilitators, transportation, supplies and refreshments. Thank you so much for helping us provide a bridge to higher education for our Sisters!
Help us train peer educators to provide college preparation for young women.
Why we care: In Brooklyn, New York, less than half of high school seniors enroll in college, and only 18% are “college ready.”
How we’re solving this: The College Readiness Experience trains our alumni to provide college prep activities and critical exposure to our high school Youth Organizers.
Only 55% of high school graduates from low-income families enroll in college, compared to 84% from high-income families. The College Readiness Experience is a youth-led initiative that demonstrates peer training, education and support at its best. Last summer, 3 Sisters in Strength alumni received 26 hours of leadership training from the Brooklyn Youth Leadership Training Institute’s College Access Research & Action Creating Post-Secondary Pathways (CARA) program to help 10 current Sisters in Strength move successfully through the college application process. This summer, 3 Sisters in Strength will go through the training to provide peer leadership in facilitating four college access workshops per school year (September – June) on completing applications and writing winning essays, and three individual peer counseling sessions per participant. Sisters’ alumni will lead student-guided college tours of their own campuses to offer critical exposure and a realistic view of college life.
Since many of our Sisters will be first generation college students, this innovative assistance has proven invaluable. Pre and post-workshop surveys confirm that participants view the program as a necessary supplement to the college preparatory services available at their high schools that offers inspiration and a strong foundation for making informed decisions about their futures.
As a result of participating in CARA training and leading workshops, our alumni report:
- improved communication, facilitation and public speaking skills,
- an increased sense of efficacy in their role as youth leaders,
- and strengthened confidence in their leadership abilities that intersect with their own experiences as college students.
“(The program) allowed me to see how you can make things happen, in terms of having a vision and using information that you learned to meet community needs.” --Natasha, workshop facilitator and GGE alumni
*More information on the Sisters in Strength program can be found here.