On Monday, June 11, 2018 Womenade Boston members met to select grant recipients for 2018. Members heard presentations from 8 exciting finalist organizations and then cast their votes to select the 4 all-new grant recipients for 2018. This year's $84,000 in grants brings the eight-year total investment Womenade Boston has made in Boston-area non-profits serving teen girls and women to $663,000.

Organizations/Programs that Empower Teen Girls Age 12-21

Apprentice Learning, Inc.

Investment: City Summer Internship

Website: www.apprenticelearning.org

Apprentice Learning provides real-world workplace experiences for at-risk middle school students, leveraging career exploration to teach skills and to nurture dreams. Their career readiness programs teach essential workplace practices and highlight the link between academic and professional success. Founded in 2012 in response to the high dropout rate in Boston, Apprentice Learning (AL) serves over 300 participants per year through workplace-based apprenticeships, a summer job placement support service, workplace explorations, and a summer program for girls. One of the only nonprofits providing career education experiences to Boston middle school students in the workplace, AL seeks to address the opportunity gap for low-income students, particularly girls and people of color.

City Summer Internship (CSI) is a five-week, paid summer internship program for girls entering high school. City Summer Internship specifically supports girls of color by introducing career opportunities and providing meaningful leadership opportunities that foster a link between positive self-esteem and better educational outcomes. AL recognizes that girls, particularly girls of color, face racial, gender, economic and institutional barriers. CSI provides a nurturing environment in which girls can strengthen their leadership skills, learn positive work habits, and widen their knowledge of career opportunities in the larger community. AL plans to grow the program from 20 to 25 girls in 2018, including positions for two peer leaders.

Roxbury Youth Works, Inc.

Investment: Gaining Independence For Tomorrow (GIFT)

Website: www.roxburyyouthworks.org

Roxbury Youthworks, Inc. (RYI) is a 36-year-old minority nonprofit organization. RYI employs a culturally diverse staff that reflects the youth served. They have 4 programs across 7 sites that are primarily funded by state contracts. RYI’s programs are tailored to meet the needs of the youth and families served, using a Trauma-Informed, Positive Youth Development model. Primary strategies are intensive mentoring, psycho-educational/support groups, enrichment activities and extensive case management.

Gaining Independence For Tomorrow (GIFT) uses a harm reduction approach to decrease risk factors and increase resiliency/strengths for girls aged 11-22 who are being commercially sexually exploited, were formerly exploited, or who have been identified as high-risk for commercial sexual exploitation. GIFT Life Coaches provide intensive mentoring services, case management, and advocacy for these vulnerable youth. The Life Coaches meet with their girls 1-2 times per week. GIFT offers many community-building events including weekly psychosocial support groups, enrichment activities and leadership opportunities which are available to all girls, including their alumni. Additionally, youth have access to 24-hr-a-day emergency support through their on-call phone. GIFT Life Coaches are able to meet with youth in the community even when they are missing from care. They also maintain connections through social media and are often the critical component in helping youth find safety and return to their placement or home. RYI's services are voluntary and open ended meaning that youth can remain connected to GIFT for as long as they like. The goals of GIFT are to aid young women in their recovery from commercial sexual exploitation, ensure they do not return to their exploitative relationship, enter into another, and/or prevent them from entering an exploitative relationship if they are high risk.

Organizations/Programs that Empower Women Age 22 and Older

RIA House Inc., - Ready.Inspire.Act

Investment: Development & Capacity Building

Website: www.riahouse.org

Founded in 2012, RIA House’s vision is to contribute to a world where people are not victimized, exploited, bought or sold for the sexual gratification of another person. RIA House offers services to all women affected, irrespective of her participation in the sex trade as consensual or coerced, or both. They provide specialized accompaniment services that consist of survivor outreach, mobile peer counseling, clinical therapy, recovery support groups, and intensive one-on-one case management.

RIA's recovery model, Sisters Leading Sisters, is one of accompaniment on a journey towards wholeness and healing. Accompaniment is a trauma-informed approach to care that requires understanding how power over another human being affects a person's sense of safety and control over her own life. Their model uses a survivor-engaged, clinical team approach, with small caseloads and the capacity to provide mobile support across all levels of care. Members of their team have extensive complex trauma training and receive ongoing clinical supervision from an expert psychologist. RIA House incorporates clinical and healing practices in every step of support with women.

Women's Bar Foundation

Investment: Family Law Project

Website: https://wbawbf.org/content/wbf

The Women's Bar Foundation (WBF) is dedicated to ensuring access to justice for the most vulnerable in our community, harnessing the skills and expertise of  fellow attorneys to address the unmet legal needs of low-income women. They specialize in recruiting, training, and mentoring volunteer attorneys to provide free legal assistance on issues that impact low-income women, many of whom are single mothers.

Womenade Boston provided a grant for WBF’s largest program, the Family Law Project for Domestic Abuse Survivors (FLP), which empowers survivors of domestic violence by pairing them with pro-bono attorneys specially trained by the WBF in the substantive issues of family law matters involving domestic violence. Attorneys help clients obtain restraining orders and represent clients in custody, child support, and divorce matters.

For their clients, the support of an attorney not only helps them escape abusive environments, it helps them move up and out of the cycle of violence and poverty. A favorable divorce, custody, or child support order can help a survivor: 1) maintain or regain custody of her children, 2) secure proper financial support for herself and her children, and 3) remain in the family home thereby preventing homelessness as well as disruption of the children's schooling. For undocumented immigrants, advice from an attorney can protect them against possible deportation.

2018 Runners Up

LEAP Self-Defense Inc. dba Girls' LEAP

Investment: Lifetime Empowerment and Awareness Program

Website: www.girlsleap.org

The mission of Girls' LEAP is to empower girls and young women to value and champion their own safety and well-being. Girls' LEAP interrupts the cycle of violence by teaching girls that they have a right to be safe & how to defend themselves is necessary.

Girls' LEAP believes all girls deserve to grow up safe and free from violence - and that empowerment is violence prevention. The goal is to provide girls with the tools and skills to keep themselves safe, both emotionally and physically. They partner with local schools and community centers to deliver empowerment and self-defense services to girls aged 8-18 in Greater Boston. Through their girl-centric curriculum they build girls' confidence and develop decision making skills to support healthy relationships

Girls' LEAP's 20-hour curriculum combines verbal assertiveness and physical self-defense skills with identity development, risk assessment, boundary setting and conflict resolution skills. Girls' LEAP self-defense programs are taught by all-women, intergenerational teaching teams that include an adult lead teacher, several undergraduate teaching assistants (Teaching Women) and one to two teenage assistants (Teen Mentors).

Girls Rock Campaign Boston, Inc.

InvestmentGRCB Programming

Website: www.girlsrockboston.org

GRCB offers year-round music programming to girls in the Boston area, believing that in order to become leaders in a world that frequently minimizes their voices, girls need positive female mentors to encourage authenticity and confidence in their own abilities.

 GRCB uses hands-on music education and performance as a vehicle to enhance self-esteem, encourage collaboration, and amplify young female voices. Through workshops, songwriting, musical education, and the freedom of creative expression, GRCB helps girls realize their own potential, create a sense of their own self-worth, and surpass their own limiting expectations of themselves or their potential. GRCB programming includes two week-long summer sessions, intern and teen leadership programs, CLUB GRCB, and an after school program (BEATS). A program for teens with focus on social justice will be piloted in 2018. Additional workshops are presented throughout the year to continue the community building and skill sharing that is begun during the regular sessions of programming.

Charles River Community Health

Investment: Cervical Cancer Screening Program

Website: http://www.charlesriverhealth.org/

Charles River Community Health's (CRCH) mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities of Allston, Brighton, Waltham and surrounding areas by providing quality, comprehensive, coordinated care that is patient-centered, family friendly, and community focused.

CRCH is the only federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Allston-Brighton and Waltham and serves nearly 12,700 patients through more than 62,000 visits a year. The health centers offer medical, dental, behavioral health services, and on-site pharmacy. All CRCH sites offer support services, including health insurance enrollment, managed care referrals, on-site translation, and case management to connect patients with community services.

The Cervical Cancer Screening program’s goal is to improve health outcomes for women in Allston-Brighton and Waltham by increasing cervical cancer screening rates and appropriate follow up care. To address the needs of female patients (especially those who are newly arrived immigrants), the bilingual Women’s Health Navigator plays a pivotal role in educating and navigating  patients through vital screening services. The Program includes the following components: health education, navigation and support, as well as follow up care for women who screen positive for the Human papillomavirus (HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer).

Sitters Without Borders

Investment: Matching Babysitters to Families

Website: https://sitterswithoutborders.com

Sitters Without Borders’ mission is to advance mothers into economic independence through education, using volunteer babysitters to care for their children while the mother is in class.

Sitters Without Borders (SWOB) was founded in 2013 to provide free and reduced-cost babysitting to low-income, single mothers enrolled in college in the Greater Boston area. Their aim to help mothers gain an education and ultimately, economic independence in order to break the cycle of poverty. By providing safe, quality, free and reduced cost babysitting in the homes of families, SWOB helps student-mothers’ efforts to complete their education by removing the daunting barrier of child care.

The need for free and affordable childcare options for single mothers struggling to attain an education is well-recognized. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported in 2017 that “four in ten women at two-year colleges say that they are likely or very likely to drop out of school due to their dependent care obligations.”

Thanks to a grant from Womenade in the spring of 2017, SWOB was able to hire their first part-time coordinator. SWOB 1) significantly expanded outreach to student mothers in need of babysitting by building a more reliable referral network and 2) selected and trained new volunteers, thereby expanding their pool of babysitters. They were able to increase the number of families served from 0 to 18 and SWOB sitters from five to 19. And at the end of 2017, SWOB received an “Open Door Grant” from The Boston Foundation to hire a part-time Executive Director to handle overall management, organizational tasks and fundraising.