The Young Women’s Leadership Project [YWLP] finished the year with a four-day camp on the campus of James Madison University. The retreat was an opportunity for the girls to put into practice all of their lessons throughout the year and create final projects to showcase their experiences. Check out the final projects.
The YWLP is in its third and final year. This year, the project enrolled 25 seventh and eighth-grade girls at Thomas Harrison Middle School identified by school counselors as showing the potential for leadership. The girls participated in weekly, out-of-school group learning opportunities and were also matched in a one-to-one mentoring relationship with an adult female. The curriculum has included activities focused on healthy behaviors and relationships, self-esteem and self-expression, career exploration and leadership.
At camp, the girls stayed in Converse Hall, went swimming at UREC, and ate meals at the Student Success Center. In the evenings, they worked on crafts and did team building activities in the dorm lounge. The ladies had a wonderful week experiencing a bit of college life.
A shout out to BBBS Match Support Specialist and YWLP Project Coordinator Molly Jackson on her hard work organizing and planning YWLP activities throughout the length of the program. We would also like to thank Dr. Almjeld and Thomas Harrison Middle School counselor Vanessa Redmond for their partnership in facilitating the Young Women’s Leadership Project for the past three years.
About the Young Women’s Leadership Project:
The YWLP is a collaborative project between Big Brothers Big Sisters, Camp Horizons, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, and faculty at James Madison University. The YWLP, funded by Merck and private donations, is aimed at empowering at-risk middle school girls to develop self-confidence and become aware of their leadership skills and opportunities.
The project seeks to address growing challenges faced by at-risk adolescent girls in the Harrisonburg community which include substance abuse, a high drop-out rate, and a teen pregnancy rate that is nearly three times the state average for girls ages 15-17. Big Brothers Big Sisters employs its evidence-based, high-quality mentoring model to inform the development of the project and ensure positive outcomes for the young women enrolled.