I am honored to serve as an Executive Board Member for Cinnamongirl, Inc., the only Oakland, CA community-based organization that inspires and empowers girls to become proud, courageous and confident women. Cinnamongirl provides self-esteem enhancement activities, leadership training, life skills workshops, academic tutoring, mentoring by a diverse group of professional women and a breadth of empowerment and enrichment activities. We empower each of them to think big about their lives and their contributions to the world. We provide high levels of leadership training to our girls, enabling them with capabilities to make grand contributions to the international community. All are college-bound and poised for graduate school. They are dynamic, highly motivated, and eager to learn. Cinnamongirls are future scientists, CEOs, heads of schools, doctors and writers. Our first graduate from the program begins medical school fall 2010, and our youngest girl, who is 12 years old, aspires to become a pediatrician. I am inspired by their confidence and determination to accomplish their goals. Cinnamongirl is successful. It changes the lives of its participants in very positive ways. Presently, we are able to serve 45 highly motivated girls, ages 12-18. Our immediate goal is to offer the Cinnamongirl experience to the broader community by increasing, both, the numbers we serve and the scope of our program offerings. To do so, it is necessary for us to obtain and increase a revenue stream that will sustain our plans for expanding the program. We applaud Women’s Empowerment for the great work you do. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share Cinnamongirl with numerous non-profit organizations that are making a difference, one life at a time. Marva Wilkins, Member Executive Board of Directors Cinnamongirl, Inc.
Cinnamongirl, Inc. is a jewel that shines brighter each year. I continue to witness the organization's commitment to develop young participants into 'proud, confident and courageous women' - achieving it on the highest level. The schedule of programs, empowerment workshops, conversations with extraordinary guest speakers, educational series, (and many more) impact the young ladies in ways that can be seen throughout their educational career and within themselves personally. I'm proud to say graduates from CG are currently attending universities. It is a testimony to the strength within CG from it's Founder/Executive Director to its Mentors, Board Members, Volunteers and Class. It is my hope that this jewel continues to be recognized and receive necessary funding so it may continue to serve at the highest standard.
I have long been involved as a volunteer with organizations that serve youth at risk and can see how Cinnamongirl Inc has the right formula for being effective. They keep their program to a very manageable size to ensure they aren't stretched too thin. The result is the girls get an incredibly valuable experience.
My cousin is participating in Cinnamongirl-Inc and I have seen her mature, take the initiative to complete projects and use her voice to make change. She is excited about school and developing a strong/positive future for herself. She has spoken of her time with her mentor and the various activities she has participated in. This is an excellent opportunity for girls in the East Bay to share with others and develop relationships with strong women.
I have been a mentor with Cinnamongirl for two years. I first learned about the organization while having lunch with a few friends. The sheer name of the organization intrigued me, so I decided to look it up! And here I am, two years later. I have enjoyed watching the participants in our program grow and develop into courageous young girls! It is inspiring to see what a difference a program like CG can make. Positive reinforcement and promoting a positive self-image are key areas that CG takes pride in! I am so happy to be a part of the lives of each and every Cinnamongirl!
I have been a mentor with Cinnamongirl for 3 years. It is so wonderful to watch the young girls develop into such smart, articulate, and well mannered ladies. Cinnamongirl has given all of us experiences and tools to maneuver through life with grace. It has been such a joy and a privilege to be a part of this organization.
It is with great pleasure that I give a big shout out to the Cinnamongirl Inc. Organization. My daughter has participated in the program since she was eleven and half. Each year I can see her growth and the empowerment that the CGI is instilling in her. Through this mentoring program my daughter is being exposed to many postive Images and she has had the opportunity to meet extrodinary and powerful women in our local and State Government, as well as an Emerita Editor of a national magazine. Also, Director Renee Richard takes pride in introducing our young ladies to many of our fine local women in leadership postions. CGI has shown the girls to also respect and to pay homage to our community leaders as well as to to be part of the solution not the problem in their community. This program is teaching the older Cinnamon girls to become jr. mentors, and to pass on their leadership qualities and to teach the younger girls to reach their highest potential. The Director has made it a point to bring in menotors from many back grounds and different professions. The mentors interact with the girls through activites, local events, outings, the passport book club, the monthly investment club, and the annual empowerment retreat. This retreat is relaxing and the girls come back rejuvenated. Most of all this program stresses the importance of education and for all the girls to attend college and give back to others. Overall, this program is an extension of what their parents have taught them as well as being able to go out into to world and to become great Educated Leaders to Inspire, Motivate and Empower other young women.
My daughter had the pleasure of being apart of the Cinnamongirl organization. After not playing sports her senior year, she was able to spend a great amount of time learning how to mentor younger girls as well as being mentored by the wonderful highly intelligent and supportive adult mentors. From a parent's perspective, I am most impressed with the director and mentors who boasted my daughter's self-esteem and made her understand her value as a beautiful and intelligent woman of color. Thanks to all of you!!!
Cinnamongirl has been a true inspiration not only to young girls, families, and the community but to other non-profit organizations as well. I have had the privilege to watch the birth and growth of Cinnamongirl through the eyes of the founder. Like other non-profit organizations it was not an easy battle. Cinammongirl is a testimony to how passion, diligence, determination, purpose, and prayer can mold an organization. The crafty hands that have been carefully molded and placed into this organization have resulted into a priceless master piece of young women with a purpose. These young girls have not only left Cinnamongirl with power, praise, and passion they have left with a heart of strong will and substance. I salute the foundation and the dedicated workers for their ongoing commitment to empowering young girls into young productive women with a purpose.
I have been involved with Cinnamon Girl, Inc. as a mentor for the past two years and I am so proud of my participation in the program. Over the course that time, I have witnessed the growth of so many young women. I can recall one occasion when one young lady who entered the program, shy and withdrawn, stood up without prompting and spoke with eloquence to room full of strangers. I was so proud of her and proud that I had a chance to see her transform into a strong confident woman that the program boasts of. That is what Cinnamon Girl does help young women to discover who they really are.
Though I have been involved with a number of mentoring programs before, I've found the Cinnamongirl mentoring program to be quite unique. Targeting African-American and Latina girls aged 13 to 17, first, it focuses on mentoring on both an individual and community level. Mentors are not assigned to specific girls. Instead, there are typically 10 to 15 mentors assigned to a group of 25 to 30 girls. This enables 1) relationships to form more naturally 2) for the girls to form close relationships with multiple mentors and 3) for there to become a sense of sisterhood and community as the program year continues. The other aspect of the program that is unique is the leadership development component. The girls have structured programming and responsibilities like: a) leading a community service project b) having a book club that exposes them to books that are uplifting and enriching c) our "Conversations with Extraordinary Young People" which exposes the girls to youth and young adults who are entrepreneurs or have made a significant and positive impact on their communities. Cinnamongirl just celebrated our 5th anniversary and we are happy to see that all of our senior graduates have chosen to go on to higher education beyond high school. We have also seen a number of girls grow in their self-esteem, speaking skills, and leadership skills through the program. More information can be found at www.cinnamongirl.org/home.htm. I encourage any one to review our web site and/or come to one of our events on the programming calendar to learn more about us.