What Young Women Rock! Means to Me
The need for Young Women Rock! is great. Rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, are alarmingly high both in Brownsville and in East New York, Brooklyn. Teen pregnancy in particular leads many girls in these communities to drop out of high school, lowering their chances of receiving a higher education and earning a competitive salary to support a family later in life.
Our hope is that Young Women Rock! will interrupt the poverty cycle that exists in so many communities by providing young women with access to important resources and to a strong, life-long support system that encourages their ambition and empowers their confidence. We believe so strongly in the potential of these girls!
Below you will find a compilation of responses from YWR! mentors and mentees on what the program means to them. We hope you enjoy and if you are so moved, to apply to join YWR! or pass it along to a friend who might be interested!
“It’s hard to sum up, but basically Young Women Rock! is a safe haven for me. I’m a very private person so being around YWR! mentors and mentees every week helped me open up… YWR! is like a family… we all learn and grow together as one. I’m really going to miss it now that I’m going to college, but on breaks I’m going to visit session with no invite! lol” – Young Women Rock! Alum, Patrice Smith
“YWR! is an experience that I will never forget. Where do I begin… this program is life changing. The mentors are always there for you. They listen to us, educate us, give us details on important things like what is safe and not safe. It means a lot knowing that there are people out there for you… ones that accept you for who you are. YWR! was what I looked forward to every week. The discussions, what we learned… it was an amazing experience and what I loved most were the mentors. They dedicated themselves to us, volunteering every week for us. That really means a lot to me. They are loving, caring and friendly young women… who are there just for us.”
– Young Women Rock! Alum, Safiya Kadik
“When I joined YWR! in February 2012, I came with the understanding that I was going to be more than a mentor. I was going to be a mentor, a confidant, a sister, and a support system. I love YWR! because it connects proactive college students, activists, and artists with some of the most vulnerable populations: New York City’s lower-income, female, immigrant population… I want to be that extra push during their times of struggle, insecurity, and uncertainty.” – Young Women Rock! Director, Shamecca Long
“Initially, I joined YWR because I felt as a young African American woman who grew up in the East New York section of Brooklyn I wanted to help other young minority girls beat the stereotypes that society has labeled us with. I had no real expectations, however, I strived to stimulate the minds of the young women I worked with in the program. After two years of being a mentor with YWR!, I’ve learned that the program is not only beneficial to the mentee’s personal development, but also to the mentors. We have been fortunate to have a group of phenomenal women who volunteer their time to the program and their dedication to the mentees. Each mentor utilizes their personal strengths and unique experiences to educate, inspire and motivate the girls. We’ve watched our mentees grow into extraordinary young women, ready to take the next steps towards a successful future. This is what inspires me to continue this journey with YWR!”
– YWR! Director, Roshell Burnette
“Young Women Rock! is important because most young women today do not receive emotional or positive support from their peers, families or the media. The pressures young women in low-income and urban communities face are even more negative and constant, leaving them feeling limited or often hopeless. This program is a positive, loving, resourceful network where these girls have hope and support. It shows them that they positive role models…that they can relate to, giving them the confidence to do things they may not have thought they could!” – Candace, YWR! Mentor