Empowering Women And Girls
Wednesday - November 17, 2010 Share
By Marlene A. Zeug, Associate
Director of Programs
As the largest and oldest women’s organization in Hawaii, YWCAOahu has served hundreds of thousands of women and children with its mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.
Since 1900, as women found their voices and discovered new avenues to exercise leadership, the YWCA has provided a network of support, training and resources to help women reach new heights. But for women to have the financial and physical well-being to tackle their many responsibilities, we must start with girls at an early age and come together as a “village” to prepare young leaders.
The YWCAYouth Network is a passionate group of 70 teens from schools including Punahou, Sacred Hearts and Waianae High. Youths’voices together with caring adult relationships are cornerstones of the program; youths are decision-makers as they learn by doing, while mentors provide a safe space for them to stretch, dream and try.
In this spirit, the community has rallied for the Youth Network’s College Bound Road Fair, first inspired when the Youth Network learned of peers who hoped to attend college but had few resources. This annual event provides tools, resources and workshops to help students on this journey.
Richel Cole, Sacred Hearts Academy student and Youth Network leader, shares, “Last year, at our college-bound fair, one student said, ‘I am going to make it to college.’ It is amazing to see how much impact youths have on other youths.”
Kristy Huang, Punahou student and YWCA member, also is finding her voice: “I never thought I could do the things I am doing. I’ve grown because adults believed in me.”
And while youths have driven the project, it is adults such as the Junior League of Honolulu’s mentors, businesses and schools such as P-20, Waianae High and Sacred Hearts Academy, that have supported and inspired them.
Join the YWCAin support of our youths. This year’s College Bound Road Fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at Laniakea YWCA (1040 Richards St. in Honolulu). Admission is free.
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