Girl's Mentorship: Sister S.A.G.E.
Sister S.A.G.E. (Strengthening Advocacy for Girls’ Empowerment) is funded by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (NYC DYCD). It is for youth in grades 5 through 12 who identify with girlhood and is open to all boroughs and communities.
Sister S.A.G.E. is a culturally informed, service learning, leadership and mentorship program, for youth to engage in positive youth development and cultivate leadership skills.
Sister S.A.G.E. is specifically geared toward the needs of girls in Bushwick. Through multicultural activities, S.A.G.E. members are provided with knowledge that will help them successfully resist historical, social, and cultural assumptions made about girls and women of color. Our forums of mutual support provide an emotionally safe space for girls to experience personal development. In addition, an understanding of collective responsibility is nurtured through character education and community service. Sister S.A.G.E. is a community conscious, action-oriented group of girls and women who actively participate in changing the world in which they live.
The culturally informed gender responsive focus of the program focuses on service learning and leadership. Girls honor their heritages by upholding cultural values, which elevate service learning, leadership, peer education, media literacy and mentorship. The program maintains a structured safe space for girls of color to engage in supportive relationships, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, and cohesiveness between family, school and the community. The program provides a safe space for girls to establish and sustain authentic connections with older girls and women, who will serve as mentors. We provide a positive developmental setting for girls to raise community consciousness, offer service learning opportunities, support for efficacy, and create opportunities for skill building. Our culturally informed gender responsive program advocates for systemic change by encouraging girls to be proactive in changing the world in which they live through service.
S.A.G.E. incorporates cultural concepts, principles and codes which will be relatable to and reflective of the program participants. These concepts include:
Ujima (African term for Collective Work and Responsibility) will focus on service learning. Explore program staff will facilitate service learning curricula weekly (DYCD Teen Action) to provide content-based learning opportunities, offer space for individual and group reflection, promote enhanced knowledge and increased personal growth.
Lak’ech (A Mayan precept that translates to “You are my other me”) describes the interconnected relationship between ourselves and others. Leadership development activities in the program and in community at large will include public speaking, community organizing and educating the others about their experiences.
Umoja (African term for Unity) will empower girls to share their truths and become intellectually prepared to support their views through constructive debate while respecting the perspectives of others. Girls will develop leadership skills and embrace their unique identities through educating their peers and younger children.
Nahui Ollin (in Nahuatl, the native language of Mexico); critical self-reflection, knowledge, will to act and transformation. Through media literacy education, participants will cultivate critical thinking skills, examine structural barriers experienced by marginalized populations and cultivate positive leadership and communication skills through social media outlets.
Sankofa (Adinkra symbol meaning, “In order to know where you are going, you must know from where you have come”) is the element that speaks to the legacy of women. Staff and mentors will play an integral role in providing guidance, direction and meaningful connections that the youth might not otherwise have.
Boy's Mentorship: Ali's Men
Ali’s Men is a mentorship program that pairs 5th-12th grade youth who identify with boyhood, with mentors who serve as excellent role models. Inspired by the life and legacy of the great heavyweight champion and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali, Ali’s Men has provided a safe space for youth to express themselves and develop healthy friendships with peers and mentors since 2016.
ALI’S MEN IS NOW RECRUITING ADULT MENTORS TO VOLUNTEER. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MENTOR, PLEASE CONTACT JAMES CONNELLY at [email protected] (718)381-9653 x149
Hours: This program operates weekly: On Tuesdays (middle school cohort – 5th-8th grades) from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm On Thursdays (high school cohort – 9th-12th grades) from 4:00 pm – Students will have “voice choice”, and will present ideas for activities that they would like to engage in with their mentors and fellow mentees. The scope of activities will be encompassed in several major areas, or Key Components, the names of which are all either boxing terms, or parts of quotes by Muhammad Ali.
- “Training Camp”, focuses on the health of the youth. Examples of Training Camp are boxing instruction, kickboxing, basketball tournaments/camps, etc.
- “Watching Tape”, refers to viewing video of legendary fighters in an effort to build one’s own repertoire, and generally become a better student and historian of the game. We seek to enhance youth understanding and respect for the cultural history of the African Diaspora. Such activities would include trips to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, or The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- “Rules of the Bout”, activities which focus on informing the youth who identify with boyhood about their rights and responsibilities and teaching them how to navigate a society where police brutality and the prospect of violence imposes blame on Black youth. Activities center on expounding upon the unfortunate talk that Black parents and guardians all must eventually give their kids about police brutality.
- “Good Corner-men”, Activities that foster brotherhood and simultaneously allows for reflection and safe expression and sharing of the ideas of the youth. These activities will include writing projects that will be shared amongst the participants, and open discussions on a variety of subjects.
- “Rent for Your Room on Earth”, according to Muhammad Ali, service is the rent you pay for your room on earth, and the youth will serve the community in civic engagement activities through clothing drives, meals-on-wheels delivery, food drives, coat drive for donations to homeless shelters, meal preparation for the homeless etc.
The Next STEPS (Striving Toward Engagement and Peaceful Solutions) program provides mentoring for youth aged 16 to 24 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The program aims to promote education, employment, health services, family engagement and civic participation.
What We Do
- One on One mentorship
- Open group discussions around positive youth development
- Interactive journaling
- Resume/Job interview workshops
- Field trips and sponsored activities to promote positive outcomes
- Financial support via participant stipends