WOMEN'S WAY and Women for Social Innovation congratulate the past winners of the Turning Point Prize:
Lisa Miccolis – The Monkey & The Elephant: 2014 Winner
Over 1,000 foster youth ‘age out’ of foster care each year in Philadelphia thereby disconnecting them from support services such as housing, schooling and educational supports, counseling, transportation assistance and the general comfort of knowing where to go to get help when needed. Without these services and without a family to lean on an estimated 275 will be incarcerated, 360 will live in poverty, 440 will experience homelessness and 1,000 will leave the foster care system without a source of income. To help mitigate these statistics, since early 2013, The Monkey & The Elephant (M&E) has operated a pop-up café which is not only a coffee shop but an employment, life skills training and support system for individuals who have aged out of foster care with a focus on one-to-one mentoring relationships. Using a best practice life skills assessment and incorporating certification completion in food handling and food safety, participant youth have been equipped with transferable job skills, knowledge to manage finances, enhanced communications, leadership skills and a permanent, meaningful relationship with a caring adult. With the Turning Point Prize funding, M&E is poised to build its capacity and implement its 4 tier programming model - focusing on intake and mentor pairing, skills development, ServSafe certification, and enrollment in an educational institution or employment – to a greater number of youth aging out of foster care, in particular young women. Lisa is 29 years old and has experience working with older at-risk youth in Philadelphia, in addition to significant knowledge as a café barista and manager. She is a 2006 of Wheaton College and has received the 2013 Mobilize.org Philadelphia Fellow award and the Philly STAKE award in February 2013.
Josephine Kabambi – Youth in Action: 2013 Winner
Citing the lack of civic engagement by young African immigrant girls in Philadelphia, Youth in Action will recruit 15 low-income African female youth and 3 mentors to participate in a year-long mentorship and development program centered on youth activism as a form of civic engagement. Each group will identify an issue facing their community and generate an idea for addressing it. One project will be chosen for implementation and all 15 participants will work together to implement the winning project. The expected outcome is that youth who have historically been marginalized by their immigration and socioeconomic status will begin to see themselves as agents of change in their community. Research shows that youth civic engagements leads to reductions in risky behaviors, increased success in school and greater civic participation later in life. Josephine is 23 years old. She emigrated with her family from Kenya to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is a 2011 graduate of Wellesley University and is currently employed as a crisis advocate for Women Organized Against Rape and as director of Children's Ministry at the Arch Street Presbyterian Church.
Jessica Lee – Philadelphia Burmese Women’s Initiative: 2013 Winner
The Burmese women's community is severely under-served. This community is particularly challenged because the refugees speak several different languages and have no community elder structure to provide leadership. A needs assessment conducted in 2011 by Temple University and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center found that Burmese refugee women report a need for better access to health services, greater mutual support among the community and empowerment to navigate American institutions. Jessica’s project is attempting to address these findings. Jessica will lead a project to mobilize women to collectively prioritize and address health issues in their community. She will make extensive use of interpreters to bridge the language gap and will also employ a Schweitzer fellow, either a nurse or medical student, depending on the needs the community surfaces. After a a year it should be self-sustaining as the community learns how to work together to solve problems and access existing resources. Jessica is 30 years old, and is completing her PhD at Bryn Mawr College at the School of Social Work and Social Research.
Tarsha Scovens - Let's Go Outdoors: 2012 Winner
Tarsha has long been frustrated by the fact that minorities are underrepresented in outdoor activities. A passionate outdoors person herself, she wanted to encourage broader participation in outdoor activities by minority groups. Through her Let's Go Outdoors project, Tarsha will offer a unique weekly, hour long outdoor activity program for families and individuals, emphasizing outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and fishing. The project will allow participants to develop a healthy lifestyle and fitness routine while bringing families outdorrs for fun, facilitated learning sessions to help them develop lifelong fitness habits. Tarsha Scovens was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut and has lived in Philadelphia for 15 years. She currently resides in Mr. Airy/West Oak Lane section of the city with her husband and year-old daughter. Tarsha is a graduate of the Women's Business Development Center's FastTrac New Venture program.
Callie Hammonds - Philly Girls Read!: 2012 Winner
Through her Philly Girls Read! project, Callie Hammonds will create a book club for girls and their mothers or female mentors between the ages of 8-12 who attend Philadelphia's public schools. The Philly Girls Read groups will read books abut girls, for girls and by girls. Together, the groups will examine issues from these books in the context of their own lives. The overarching goals of the Philly Girls Read program are to develop and instill self-esteem, self-respect and self-sufficiency in young girls while also instilling an enthusiasm for reading. Callie is a native of North Carolina, but came up north to go to Gettysburg College, and has lived in Pennsylvania ever since. She has an MPA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and she and her husband live in the Fairmount/Art Museum area of Philadelphia.
Tracie Q. Gilbert - The Empowered Mom's Think Tank: 2011 Winner
Tracie Q. Gilbert’s project was awarded $15,000 to launch The Empowered Mom’s Think Tank. The Think Tank works to address the growing sexual developmental crisis facing adolescents in the Greater Philadelphia area. Women participating in this 10-month community education initiative gain the tools they need to help their pre-teen and teen daughters make healthy, empowered decisions about complex social topics. Through a series of once-a-month, three-hour facilitated workshops, women work as a collective to co-create the foundational messages they want their teens to know about how the world works, in ways that affirm their experiences, values, and realities; yet support and encourage their continual growth and enlightenment. While the Think Tank is open to women of all walks of life, special emphasis is given to addressing the specific challenges facing African American women and girls from predominately low and moderate-income communities.
Jessica McKay - Rock to the Future: 2010 Winner
Jessica McKay, through her sponsoring organization Girls Rock Philly, was awarded $15,000 to launch Rock to the Future. This free after-school program, to be located in the Kensington/Fishtown area provides music instruction and after school tutoring. Though open to all Philadelphia students, those coming from low-income single parent households have priority. 15 students ages 9-17 take instruction in guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, or voice lessons. The opportunity for private lessons is also available for a minimal fee. Students are welcome to return in following years for more advanced instruction. To promote women’s equality in art and music, guest presenters speak periodically to the students about women in the arts.
Jamie Gauthier - Mommy Grads: 2009 Winner
Jamie Gauthier, through her sponsoring organization, Girard Coalition Inc., was awarded $15,000 to implement her project, Mommy Grads. The program helped up to twelve low-income, single mothers successfully complete a college degree. Mommy Grads acts as a support for these students and connects the participants with resources to address the most common barriers to college completion including childcare, transportation, healthcare, and financial support. The program creates a social network for the single mothers through which they gain peer support, mentoring from former or current single mothers who successfully obtained a four-year degree, and the skills necessary for success in postsecondary education.