Strong Women Strong Girls

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Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) is a mentoring organization for girls in grades 3-5 and with the goal of helping them to develop skills for lifelong success.[1]
College women, who are trained as mentors, engage small groups of participating girls during after school hours. Each week the girls and their mentors utilize a research-based curriculum that incorporates the study of contemporary and historic female role models, skill-building activities, and strong relationships with mentors and peers.[2]

History[edit]

Lindsay Hyde began Strong Women Strong Girls in Miami, Florida, during her senior year of high school. In 2000 she left for college and launched the program as a student group at Harvard University. The mentoring began with six college-age women serving as mentors in two elementary schools.

The program quickly expanded throughout the greater Boston, MA area. In 2004, SWSG was incorporated as a non-profit organization and named Lindsay Hyde as the organization's executive director. In 2006, SWSG launched programming in its first expansion community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2009, Strong Women Strong Girls returned to where it started, launching its second expansion site in Miami, Florida. Currently Strong Women, Strong Girls is partnered with 12 universities and college and engages over 500 college mentors in mentoring almost 1,350 elementary school girls at 90 different elementary school and community center partner sites.[3]

In August 2014, SWSG announced a renewed investment focusing on their existing communities of Pittsburgh and Boston.

Boston[edit]

Currently, SWSG engages close to 300 mentors from six university and college partners: Boston College, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Simmons College, UMass Boston and Tufts University. They mentor almost 800 girls at 58 different sites.[4][5]

Pittsburgh[edit]

Currently, SWSG is partnered with six universities and colleges in Pittsburgh: Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh. Two-hundred and twenty mentors mentor over 600 girls at 32 different elementary school and community center partner sites.

Miami[edit]

SWSG engaged over 30 college women from two universities and colleges, Florida International University and Miami Dade College, as mentors in Miami. They mentored 150 girls at 13 different sites.[6]

Jump Into Spring[edit]

Every year, Strong Women Strong Girls hosts a fundraiser and year end celebration called Jump Into Spring. Jump into Spring brings together girls, community partners, and supports from around from all the different sites to jump rope at the same time. The events purpose is three-fold:

  • Programmatic: The event will provide girls, mentors and staff a like a strong and powerful closing to the program year. Additionally, by promoting physical fitness, the day is aligned with Strong Women, Strong Girls’ work of supporting healthy development of girls.
  • Awareness Raising: The first year, the event was covered in The Boston Herald and on NECN. Boston had John Kerry,[7] speak and the Boston Breakers appear. Pittsburgh had the Steelers up on stage jumping in pink SWSG shirts.[8]
  • Fundraising: SWSG reaches out to businesses and individuals to sponsor the entire event or individual team. All proceeds benefit Strong Women, Strong Girls as a national organization.

In 2009, Boston and Pittsburgh hosted Jump Into Spring events. Each site had over 300 girls, community members, and supporters in attendance. As a result, the events raised over $100,000 in in-kind and donation support. The next Jump Into Spring will be on April 10, 2010, in all three cities SWSG is currently in. The event will be simulated between all three cities thus having all the girls jumping rope at the same time.[9][10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Lindsay Hyde, founder and president, was honored with the National Jefferson Award in 2007[11]
  • Lynne Garfinkel, Pittsburgh's executive director, received the "Woman of Achievement" award given by 'Celebrate and Share' within the non-profit community in 2008[12]
  • During the 2008–2009 programming year, Strong Women Strong Girls was recognized by: Germaine Lawrence, Center for Public Interest Careers at Harvard College (CPIC), DoSomething.org, The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, Emma Willard School, Eileen Fisher, and The Girl Scouts.
  • Meghan Trombly, director of program operations, was named 2009 Young Professional of the Year by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.[13]

[14][15][16]

  • Sabrina Saunders, Pittsburgh executive director, was named a 2014 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalist

References[edit]