Hello Powerful Voices family, friends, and community! My name is Selena Velasco and I am the new Powerful Choices AmeriCorps Member! I am so excited and honored to be a part of the wonderful Powerful Voices team!
As a recent graduate from the University of Washington, I was in search of an
opportunity to combine and put into action my passions for social justice, feminism, and youth empowerment! Powerful Voices mission: “to invite girls to realize their dreams, engage their communities, and shape a more just world,” aligned with my desire to strengthen and empower young women’s voices, self-worth, and potential!
As a feminist mother of color to a young boy, I am continually teaching my son about social justice issues! I am always learning and growing with him and I feel so blessed to be able to learn and grow with our girls as a co-facilitator of our group sessions! I look forward to creating dialogue and encouraging girls to think critically about issues that are most important to them.
As the Powerful Choices AmeriCorps Member I will be supporting our Powerful Choices Coordinator as a co-facilitator in Denny and Asa Mercer International Middle Schools. My role also involves being the logistical lead at Denny International, working closely with schools and community partners, co-coordinating guest facilitators, providing resource referrals for youth, attending professional development trainings and developing curriculum to engage girls. I am really looking forward to building relationships with the girls during our one-on-one sessions and weekly girls group! I am also very excited to strengthen my facilitation skills and cultivate relationships with teachers, school staff, families and community partners!
The Lunchroom Hustle
My first weeks with Powerful Voices have been very informative, interactive and fun! Currently, in preparation for our Powerful Choices program we are recruiting 8th grade girls at Asa Mercer and Denny International Middle Schools. One of my favorite activities is the Lunchroom Hustle! This is a fun interactive way to invite girls to learn more about Powerful Voices and the Powerful Choices all-girl group during lunch time and brought me back to my 8th grade year full of self-exploration, transition and growth!
During the Lunchroom Hustle the smell of cafeteria food, laughter, conversations, and high energy set the stage for us to engage with girls and talk about what issues most impacted them as girls. The issues that many girls wanted to speak about were: health, body image, relationships, and sexual harassment. We also asked what the phrase “powerful voices” meant to them. This phrase stirred up many meanings to them such as leadership, speaking up, strengthening their voices, and instilling confidence!
I can’t wait to see if the Lunchroom Hustle was a warm welcoming for girls to join our Powerful Choices team! I look forward to sharing my journey as the Powerful Choices AmeriCorps Member with you all throughout the school year, especially as we near the kick-off of our first group sessions!