As an advocate for sisterhood, education, and empowerment girls of color to be the best they can be, I want to share some of what I’ve learned. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations dedicated to providing resources, safe spaces, and unique and diverse growth opportunities to girls in underserved communities around the United States.
Some of the organizations I’ve mentioned also provide mentorship and opportunities for boys. If there is a guy in your life who is looking to support boys in their development, pass this along.
Here are sixteen organizations and mentorship programs you should consider volunteering or joining.
Las Latinitas in Texas, New Mexico, and Massachusetts
Las Latinitas is an organization that equips young Latinas from 11 years old to high school to use media and technology in diverse ways to express themselves. The platform LatinitasMagazine.org was the first digital magazine they created. The organization offers camps, after-school programs, mentoring, and workshops to build confidence through these mediums. Get involved here.
Latin American Association in Atlanta, GA
Doing great work since 1972, the Latin American Association focuses on the Latino immigrant community in the metro Atlanta area through a bilingual staff by providing the tools they need to thrive in their daily lives. From emergency relief services, immigration legal services, ESL workshops to academic support for Latino students, the organization does it all. LAA has several youth programs including the High School Mentoring Program.
Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C.
Founded in the 1960s, the Latin American Youth Center grew from a recreation center to making youth from low-income households more powerful individuals by providing resources and innovative programs. The center’s initiatives are rooted in improving fundamentals such as academics and education in the areas of health and wellness. Here are ways to become involved.
Latina Girls Code in Chicago, IL
A new program started in 2014, Latina Girls Code was created to give Latina girls ages 7-17 a future equal opportunity in the technology industry by providing education, resources (such as hardware and digital tools) and mentorship in tech. Apply to volunteer as a mentor here.
L.O.V.E Mentoring in New York
The Latinas On the Verge of Excellence is a mentorship program to support young Latinas with one-to-one mentorship with female mentors who visit their mentee in the high school for an hour and a half every week. L.O.V.E currently partners with five high schools in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx in New York City. Apply to become a mentor here.
Sociedad Latina in Roxbury, MA
Sociedad Latina has worked with youth and families to help Latino leaders of community rise since 1968 to create the ripple of effect of growth and self-efficiency. Using the Pathways to Success model, the organization tackles urgent issues Latino youth face today such as poverty and lack of education. They support Latino youth from ages 11-21 through programming such as Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture. To get involved and volunteer, go here.
The Latina Center in Richmond, CA
For over 15 years, The Latina Center has dedicated itself to developing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of Latina immigrant women and their families through the one-year leadership development and community service program in Spanish where the women learn to become leaders within their own communities. Learn more about getting involved here.
Women Worldwide Initiative in New York
Young Women Rock! is an all-girls mentorship program of ages 14-18 in the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn that facilitates personal development sessions once a week and provides a one-to-one mentorship by pairing up mentors and mentees. I volunteered at YWR! for two years—the first year as a mentor in Brooklyn and the second year as a Mentee/Mentor Director in the South Bronx. The curriculum is a well-thought-out plan focused on empowering the lives of young girls through discussions such as global women’s issues and self-esteem. Become a mentor here.
Be Braven – Online
Braven, an online and in-person mentorship program helps college students transition from education to employment. Started by a woman of color, Founder & CEO Aimeé Eubanks Davis, Braven was founded on the principles of not letting race, class, or family education levels stand in the way of economic opportunity. They are currently working with students from San José State University and Rutgers University in Newark. Volunteer as a Braven Leadership Coach or a Professional Mentor. I am a Professional Mentor this year beginning in January to August 2017.
Big Brothers Big Sisters – NationwideBig Brothers Big Sisters is a nationwide mentoring program that provides children from ages 6-18 with the support they need to thrive in life through monitored one-to-one mentorships. Founded more than 100 years ago, BBBS is dedicated to facilitating positive relationships which will impact young peoples’ lives. Look up your local office here by typing in your zip code and see the options they have for mentoring a child. They also have a dedicated Hispanic division.
Esperanza, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio
Esperanza, Inc. is one of the few organizations in Ohio dedicated to empowering the Hispanic community in educational achievement. This org has come a long way since the 1980s when it first began as a community project. Today, they provide hundreds of college scholarships to graduating high school students and have implemented dropout prevention and mentorship programs. Become a volunteer here.
Girls, Inc. – Nationwide
Focused on creating programs to change the lives of young girls ages 6 to 18, Girls, Inc. hand picks trained professionals to lead curricula on how to have healthy and physically fit lives; money management; discussions on messages from the media; and further exploration on academic subjects such as math and science. Check out your local office and click on the website to see ways to become involved. They also have a Latina Initiative.
Girls Prep Inc. in Washington, D.C.
Girls Prep, a mentorship organization, was founded in 2009 to specifically target African-American and Latina-American girls from ages 16-21 to provide them support in education through academic preparation and support; social and economic development; and exposure to cultural diversity. Become part of mission through mentorship here.
Girls Today Women Tomorrow in Los Angeles, CA
Girls Today Women Tomorrow was initially founded by four women as an after school program in response to high rates of teenage pregnancy and high school dropouts in East Los Angeles where there weren’t organizations in place to support females. They are now a non-profit dedicated to empowering girls to graduate from high school and seek higher education. Become a volunteer here.
Global Stem Alliance – Worldwide
Global Stem Alliance is a New York-based innovative program with national and international partners to dramatically increase the number of students in the fields of STEM in underserved communities by placing scientists in after-school programs to provide mentoring; hands-on research projects; and a comprehensive, tech-based learning platform. Get involved here.
iMentor – Nationwide
iMentor pairs up a high school student with a college-educated mentor to empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate school and continue on to be successful in college and beyond. Initiated with 49 students in one school in the South Bronx, the organization now serves 6,000 students nationwide. Become a mentor here.