Hi friends! How’s your #STFSummer going? I’m excited to tell you about a special part of ours and introduce a new Twitter handle you should know: @ExplorersTYWLS. It’ll be powered by 140 teen girls from NYC who are going to make an impact on the world, right before our very eyes.
At She’s the First, we are always looking for ways to reach students globally and locally with our mission. We fundraise for girls’ sponsorships in our 8 partner countries (253 girls and counting!), and we’re innovating new ways to inspire girls around us to break barriers, too. The latest experiment: Bringing a three-week social media enrichment program to the Young Women’s Leadership Schools’ summer camp in NYC.
Where are the Young Women’s Leadership Network Schools?
Referred to as “TYWLS,” (like “twills”), these public schools are based in Queens, Brooklyn, East Harlem, and soon, the Bronx. They empower low-income students to break the cycle of poverty through education. Nearly all will be accepted into college and 80% will become first-generation college students. Even Oprah’s inspired by them!
What happens at summer camp?
The Young Women’s Leadership Network runs Summer Explorers, a three-week experiential learning summer camp for girls to enhance their connections to the wider world beyond the school year and a summer bridge program for incoming 6th graders.
What is She’s the First doing?
What are your goals?
- Teach students how to build a community during the summer, to last into the new school year.
- Challenge students to be perceptive of the world around them.
- Enable students to build a conversation with girls globally and compare their daily lives; guide them in creating an arts & crafts fundraiser for a girl’s sponsorship.
- Establish guidelines for social media etiquette that will support students’ professional ambitions in the future.
- Empower students to share the world through their eyes–what it is like to be a teen girl living, loving, and learning during the summer–with fellow New Yorkers.
How will you know if STF succeeded?
The social media will speak for itself, and we’ll be doing pre-and post-surveys with the girls, to measure success with data. The girls will also give us feedback, which we’ll share with you!
Who at She’s the First is involved?
To name a few, during the day, our summer crew, @KateSchwarzNYC and @BrookeSassman, are in the drivers’ seats! They’ll blog each day after camp to keep you informed. The talented @KateLordPhoto and @beeebro (Brittany Brothers) will also be popping in to capture photo and video. @GoGenny (Genevieve Tabios) made the graphic designs. @AzureAntoinette, the acclaimed poet we worked with on #VoiceYourVerse (and share office space with now!), works for the Young Women’s Leadership Schools and she’s hosting the Explorers camp along with an extraordinary league of camp counselors. YOU can be involved, too. (Keep on reading!)
How will we make a global impact?
In the third week of camp, the girls are going to dedicate their time to an arts ‘n crafts activity–making magazine bead necklaces and bracelets, similar to these that women in Uganda are known for–and then in August, they’ll sell them, hoping to raise $360 to sponsor a girl in Uganda at the Arlington Academy of Hope. (Want them to sell at YOUR office? Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org)
What can I do to help?
This program would not have been possible without the incredible support and forward-thinking staff of the Young Women’s Leadership Network. It’s a brave project–the Department of Ed has never done something like this before and you can imagine the ways it could backfire. But we’ve never been about those negative “what if’s” here at She’s the First. We’re about the “I can” and “I will.” Breaking barriers. This is their world. Let’s give them the tools and watch them shape it.
What do you think? Talk to us! Comment below, or tweet me or @shesthefirst!
Message to the Explorers: