Top 15 of 2015

Jane Hinton, Executive Director
At Powerful Voices I get to be part of a community that recognizes racism and sexism are not just a detriment to those who are marginalized, but a detriment to the health and well-being of all. I'm sharing my "Top 15 of 2015" - examples of change that occurred this year as girls and allies partnered to build a more just world. 

All of you are part of this effort -- thank you!

  1. YOU - our supporters.  We built a stronger base of support this year - I loved welcoming back our loyal fans, partners and donors and was excited to grow our community, deepen partnerships, meet new volunteers and subscribers.
  2. Powerful Voices turned twenty!  As our founders said, "20 years, over 6000 girls, hundreds of staff and mentors and thousands of donors add up to this: Powerful Voices sparks hope and opportunity for girls in our community, no matter the obstacles they face."
  3. 385 girls graduated from programs with increased confidence, skills and power.  Check out how they describe their growth in their own words.
  4. Did you know that Sarafina Kariuki, one of our 2015-16 AmeriCorps Members is also a graduate of our programs?  And in another full circle moment, our 2009 AmeriCorps Member, Seferiana Day, is now on our Board of Directors.  So Sarafina, can we count on you to be a Director in 6 years?
  5. One of my favorite moments -- listening to Ressie Brown, alumna keynote speaker at the 20th Anniversary Luncheon: "Powerful Voices is where I learned that I could be anything I wanted to be, that women were strong, that we are 'She-roes' no matter what others may think or say."
  6. Speaking of voices, have you read the 2015 Zine published by DYVAS this year?  So good.
  7. We said goodbye to some great staff this year, like Shalom, Reagan, Selena, Stephany, Viche, and Paige.  It's hard to lose their talent, but great to see the way they bring the Girlvolution to other orgs like Rainier Scholars, Y-WE, Reel Grrls, King County Metro and Families of Color Seattle.  We also said goodbye to Jennifer, Nathan, Lindsay, Lora, Jess, Kisha, and Felicia as they ended their terms as Directors on our Board.  Each person left our org stronger than they found it.  
  8. On the flip side, we welcomed some pretty rad new folks to our staff, which ensured our ability to keep up our high quality programming.  New team members include Employment Coordinator, Yecelica Jaime Valdivia, our two new AmeriCorps Members, Sarafina Kariuki and Jordan Faralan.  Plus it was fun to welcome back Antasia Parker as a Program Manager. Plus we onboarded some pretty great Directors to our Board; Shanell Robertson, Jacinda Chislum and Seferiana Day.
  9. It was incredible to see the Seattle City Council pass a resolution to ban youth detention in the city! I applaud EPIC, YUIR and all the mainly youth-led advocates who worked to bring this about.  After 18 years of Powerful Voices leading girls groups in juvie, I'd love to see the need for this program completely disappear.
  10. The Huffington Post raised the call for girl empowerment as the #1 way to transform women's equality -- via an interview with our co-founder Ann Muno.  Worth a read and a share.
  11. Over 90 people took action and volunteered their time to invest in girls growth as mock interviewers, event volunteers, career panelists, interns and Board members.
  12. Girl Justice 2.0 was born, and in September we certified 22 facilitators to deliver our curriculum in their organizations like Washington Middle School, Rainier Beach High School, Renton Area Youth Services and FEEST.  
  13. Powerful Voices was awarded a contract to implement gender-based violence prevention services by the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  This partnership will ensure the continuation of a 19 year model of bringing programs into Seattle Public Schools middle schools, as well as leverage resources to replicate our model with other partners.
  14. The media and campaigns like #sayhername and #blacklivesmatter raised our collective awareness about how the intersection of racism and sexism impacts black girls. There is more action to take and I hope you'll join Powerful Voices as we keep investing in the girls who will lead this change.  
  15. Speaking of the Girlvolution - did you know that over 100 volunteers collectively gave 613 hours to produce the Girlvolution conference this year?  Save the date for Girlvolution 2016 (April 23) and keep on working for justice for all.

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with us this year.   

If you haven't given to Powerful Voices in 2015, you are going to want to be part of our work to shape a more just world.  Please make a donation before December 31st.


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