The African American Young Ladies Summit Program (AAYLS)
In AAYLS we recognize that African American(AA)/Black girls have suffered as part of the Black Community for hundreds of years. Yet, the pain of the Black Girl/Woman always takes the a back seat to everyone else. Requiring us to create hashtags like #SayHerName, or #SeeHerWounds and movies like "PUSHOUT."
Similarly, in the Denver Metro Area, "Black Girls" were either invisible or hyper-visible. Their wounds were obvious but no one was paying attention. As a district administrator I was privy to the data that showed African American/Black girls were struggling; academically and had escalating discipline challenges. The Social Emotional Screening tool used by the district, also demonstrated troubling patterns.
Dr. McCune, the founder of AAYLS , saw that in the Denver Metro area, these girls had little to no professional role models in their schools and communities, to see them and respond to them in ways that were healing and supportive. So, after volunteering with the Black Male Initiative which was organized by Denver Public Schools and the Mayors Office, she asked "When are we going to do something for the girls?” The response was alarming but not surprising. “We barely have something for boys.” This response was not okay!
So, after venting with a peer, the late Dr. Gregory Diggs, she decided that God wanted her to focus on these amazing and emerging black butterflies. She was told that she would be lucky to have 30 to 50 girls attend; "Black Girls" were not interested in this type of thing. She pushed forward anyway and planned the first Summit (Career Day.) Over 20 high schools participated and over 160 young ladies attended, at this event the young ladies asked questions about careers but they also asked questions about life. There were tears, smiles, laughter and joy. (Watch the video) "They told us that they wanted more and they needed more and on this day AAYLS was born." In three years AAYLS has worked with over 1000 young ladies from 6th grade thru college and have adjusted the program calendar based on outcomes and feedback from the participants and Youth Board.
Today, young ladies are involved from Denver, Florida, California, Senagal to Uganda and we want to continue to grow and sustain the program but we need your support. We need you to show that "Black Girls Do Matter." By donating to support the growth of the program and our Global Conference. We don't want to have to keep begging for money to do this very important work. We want to enable the young ladies to attend the Global Conference without creating a financial hardship.
Our program is a hub for girls from diverse programs, schools, districts cities and countries coming together as a movement to change the systems that don’t work for "Black Girls." The program calendar includes these components:
Issues to Action: Identifying challenges, then leading change in their schools and communities, they have done some really amazing and insiring things.
Leadership Camp (Global Conference): Creates a space to build personal relationships while building community and having fun while learning about STEAM careers, financial stability, strategies and self-care.
Scholarships: Given to the actively involved seniors for their hard work and committment throughout the year
Worthy of Love & Respect: Our black men share space with our young ladies to listen and answer hard heart questions, teaching our young ladies that they are valuable and worthy of love and respect. (I want to volunteer for this.)
Big Sista/Lil Sista: College and High School participants lead activities with our middle school participants.
Your support will allow us to:
· Support the Global Leadership Conference (Formally Leadership Camp) enabling participation across the globe.
· Build infrastructure
· Provide additional and perhaps larger college scholarships and seed money for their entrepreneurship
· Provide materials and supplies (including masks, t-shirts, STEAM Kits)
So far volunteers, small donations and personal contributions have sustained the program.
Today, we hear about how Black Lives Matter but we mostly hear about black men and boys, and they do matter, they especially matter to Black Women and Girls. However, Black Girls should matter too! The stories, the names and the pain of black girls and women are disregarded, overlooked, not told or heard.
AAYLS wants to continue to provide spaces for AA/Black young ladies to be heard, to be safe, to learn, grow and become the fabulous creation they were meant to be. Help Us by donating today!
#Black Girls MatterToo
Thank you in advance, our communities of color and our allies, we won’t be able to continue to expand this work without your support. Money raised over the goal will be applied towards, transportation, food, financial education resources, and additional scholarships. If you want to volunteer with us join BGAAN (Black Girls And Allies Network.)
Shop Amazon Smile and raise money for AAYLS while you shop.
AAYLS is a program of the non-profit Higher Learning U Inc.
Thank you in advance for caring enough about "Black Girls" to donate today!!