Mission: Our mission is to inspire and empower young women who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and/or the underground street economy to create a positive change in their lives and communities.
Programs: In the fiscal year ending in 2017, the center for young women's development dba: young women's freedom center continued its work with system involved and formerly incarcerated young women and girls to find freedom in their own lives and to ensure the freedom and liberation of young women and girls everywhere. Through the organizations leadership development and supportive programming, ywfc impacted the lives of 1800 young women and girls in san francisco and other counties throughout the region including: contra costa, alameda, santa clara, and san joaquin. Please see schedule o for more information we hosted the 25th cohort of our sisters rising employment internship program where system involved and formerly incarcerated young women to receive over 1200 hours of organizing, outreach, employment and professional development training. We provided intensive out of custody support, life skills training, and leadership development coupled with economic opportunities to approximately 120 young women between the ages of 14-24. 40 young women participated in sisters circles; re-entry support for young moms and young women being released from detention and group homes. (see schedule o) through these supportive and advocacy programs, participants gained hard and soft employment skills, public speaking, and life and leadership training as well as economic opportunities. They participated in the development and implementation of community building and advocacy projects including hosting a town hall meeting with over 100 youth in attendance and planned a statewide convening for young women involved in the juvenile and criminal justice system which had over 200 attendees. 19 young women completed young mothers united, a 12-week curriculum for pregnant and parenting moms developing parenting/life skills, developed community-based advocacy projects, including hosting an event for other young moms in the community and focus groups to uncover the needs of low- income, system involved young moms to develop advocacy strategies. We launched a new pilot program during the fiscal year ending in 2017 called the forward fellows program in partnership with freedom forward, a sf based non-profit. Forward fellows is a 1-year leadership development program for young women that have been directly impacted by csec (commercially sexually exploited children) to develop their leadership skills. The forward fellows program is first of its kind in the country and is being developed as a replicable model to ensure that young women most impacted have a voice and demonstrated leadership at decision making tables. In san francisco, forward fellows are now an advisory committee to support the work of the san francisco's mayor's task force against human trafficking. 6 fellows joined the pilot programming and began receiving over 80 hours of training and support to launch the advisory committee and develop community-based projects. One of the things young women participating in programs at the center often say is the most powerful is the sisterhood and community they build with other young women and for the pregnant and parenting moms, they often tell us how they don't have any other spaces where they are not looked down upon or feel judged for being moms. The young women's freedom center is often one of the few spaces where young women have been recognized as powerful and as agents over their own lives. To better support young women in reaching their full potentials as leaders in their own lives and in the community, we implemented programs to better meet the needs of young women and girls across all of our programs including opening a charter school on-site at the center in partnership with five keys charter school. Five keys provides access to education including high school diploma and ged as well as support in preparing for and navigating the community college system. The school site operates 2 days per week, has onsite childcare support and is the only gender specific school for system involved young women in san francisco. We also began a life coaching program offering life coaching and support in leadership development plans to any young women working with the center in some way. We continue to collaborate with other organizations in san francisco and across the region to provide skills training, resources, and support to the women we work with and strengthen our movement building work as a women's organization working for social justice and systems transformation. During the fiscal year, young women from the center enrolled in city college of san francisco, laney college in oakland, and san joaquin delta college. We continued to work with employment partners such as chalk, match bridge, community assessment center, new door ventures and dcyf, the western addition career center, dress for success, and wardrobe for opportunity we have assisted young women in securing employment with macy's, target, lyric, and with the workforce development department. The organization also partnered with san francisco's social services agency placing 3 women receiving public benefits in work placement positions at ywfc. Utilizing ywfc's policy platform, we worked with women and girls across programs to develop priority areas for advocacy for the next fiscal year, defining strategies to support formerly incarcerated and system involved young women in their personal leadership and healing journey's while at the same time engaging in advocacy initiatives in line with ywfc's mission, vision, values, and that create systemic and real transformation. We developed a bill of rights platform which we will be using in the coming fiscal year to drive policy systems change locally, regionally, and statewide around economic, racial, and gender injustice including comprehensive reproductive health, economic self- sufficiency, and well- being of the young women we work with and represent; poor young women of color, young mothers, young queer women, trans women, and gender non- conforming people, formerly incarcerated young women, and undocumented young women are the core of our constituency. We developed a policy and base building agenda and strategy for the next year focusing on building a statewide aligned movement of formerly incarcerated and system involved women and girls - the young women's freedom coalition.
through our in-custody programs, girls detention advocacy project (gdap) ywfc provided 234 hours of gender specific, trauma informed life skills, system advocacy, violence prevention, and pro-social behavioral training to 345 young women and 1-1 supportive services and court advocacy to several participants in san francisco and alameda counties.
ywfc launched the research institute in the fiscal year ending 2017 to reclaim the power of research as a tool to transform the lives of the young women we work with and represent at the structural and systems level. The research institute is an organizational commitment to shifting the narrative and ensuring that the voices and experiences of young women and girls most impacted by injustice are driving systemic change. The first project of the research institute kicked off with an ethnographic data study of formerly incarcerated and system involved young women in san francisco. Please see schedule o for further information through this comprehensive three- year project, we are conducting in depth interviews with young women focusing on areas of housing, education, involvement with the child welfare systems, juvenile justice system, and the criminal justice system. We are also looking at the impacts of violence, poverty, public housing and benefits, and looking to the interviewees for suggested solutions. While we kicked off the san francisco project during the fiscal year, this project is part of a 3-year strategy focused on california.