Young Women Choosing Action is an intersectional culturally responsive, trauma-informed leadership program designed with the unique challenges and opportunities of low-income young women and young women of color, ages 13-19, in mind. Young Women Choosing Action will enable young women to practice skills and dispositions, which can lead to new habits of decision making rooted in an active choice rather than a reactive behavior. Through their participation in this program, young women who have had varying experiences with trauma, stress, and structural oppression’s will develop leader-ship skills, expand their understanding of their physical and emotional responses to trauma, cultivate a practice of personal well-being, and build their capacity as leaders. Young women will learn how healthy decision making, self-advocacy, and self-regulation support effective leadership.
This curriculum is informed by valid and developmentally appropriate educational and therapeutic theories. All program sessions are aligned with the best practices of Positive Youth Development and guided by YWCA USA’s Theory of Change. Participants in Young Women Choosing Action will learn and practice real-world leadership skills by working together to identify and address an authentic community need. Mindfulness-based somatic exercises, such as yoga and breathing activities, will support their leadership efforts and personal empowerment. Ultimately, young women who complete the program will be empowered to effectively employ choice, mindfulness, and leadership strategies in a wide variety of life situations. Young women who successfully complete the program by demonstrating increased competence in the skill areas targeted in the curriculum may be eligible to facilitate subsequent sessions of Young Women Choosing Action or participate in other advanced leadership opportunities.