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Case #1000

Bringing Leadership Skills to Young Women


While the social services system routinely ignores the problems facing at-risk young women in America's cities, a group here (Brooklyn, New York) provides a highly effective model for training and outreach to low-income girls and women. Sister Outsider's victories-employing young women and training them to be outreach workers and activists, and helping to educate the forgotten-have clearly enriched the lives of those the group has worked with.


THE STRATEGY: Create a program for young women of color in urban areas that will give them employment, develop their activist skills, keep them in school, and offer them hope for a positive future life.

(1)Sister Outsider employs and trains young women as outreach workers and activists to work with women in trouble in the streets and also in the local schools. The job gives income and the training develops work and organizing skills.
(2) Women get intensive training while members of the group: training on how to approach sex workers, the homeless and the addicted; the legal rights of the undocumented; HIV, STD and AIDS prevention; CPR and first aid; and fighting classism, homophobia, racism and sexism. Women also learn administrative skills - how to speak in public, write a grant, chair a meeting. This improves self-esteem and confidence.
(3) The group networks with other groups working with the same issues.
(4) “If you want young women to go to school, you need to pay them well so that they can work less and go to school more. We also found that young women don't know their rights, how to file sexual harassment or discrimination complaints."
(5) Current Executive Director, Esther Danclair says she understands the value of helping one woman at a time. "We're trying to raise money to employ three to five young women when they get out of jail. If these people don't go back into the system, we've done something. That's our goal."
(6) "Young women of color are almost never heard," says Danclair. "Unemployment is high and youth in the juvenile justice system are set up to fail. Education has been raped in our communities. Sister Outsider faces challenges every day, and not everything goes perfect, but it's still an amazing model."
(7) SO’s successful track record has resulted in money from corporate and foundation donors.
(8) Sister Outsider faces challenges every day, and not everything goes perfect, but it's still an amazing model."
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Action: Building, Education/P.R.
Setting: Developed World, Urban
Extent of Action: Local
Issues: Human Rights
Year(s): 2002
Outcome in progress
Source: IN THESE TIMES, May 5, 2003


Prepared By: sl, 9/10
Rating: 0
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