Copyright 2005
Girl's Best Friend Foundation

Girl's Best Friend Foundation (GBF) closed November 2007. 
GBF’s records are archived with Special Collections of the University
of Illinois, Chicago.  In fall 2008, they will be made public:

Grantee Profile: Umoja Student Development Corporation

Umoja’s Women of Destiny program strives to develop strong, empowered young women to serve as leaders and learners prepared and motivated to act as agents of change in their own lives and in their communities. With more than 50 participants, Women of Destiny explores issues including domestic violence, holistic health, and women in politics. The program helps improve participants’ self-confidence, awareness of women’s issues, and writing and speaking skills.

Program participants create and lead community projects, such as a needs-assessment survey with young women at Manley Career Academy High School. These projects allow participants to further develop leadership skills, better understand community activism, and take action on issues that concern them. 

Umoja has other programs and strategies designed to make these  communities safer and fairer for young women. JUSTUS, Umoja’s freshman program, focuses on issues of gender respect, specifically media-perpetuated stereotypes. Umoja works with Manley and other Chicago schools to create student development seminars that address social, academic, leadership, and college and career issues. Through the themes of gender respect, sexual health and decision-making, pregnancy prevention, goal setting, self-esteem, and violence prevention, Umoja's curriculum supports the positive development of young women.

Umoja works to put students at the center of their own growth, where they belong; developing themselves educationally and working to be citizens and true agents of change in their own neighborhood and world.

I am going to be a woman
a woman that has never let
what people said or thought
effect the way I see myself.

-Alisha, 16

This excerpt, written by one of the participants in Umoja's Women of Destiny program, exemplifies the goals of the program -- to develop strong, empowered women.

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