YWCA Corpus Christi

YWCA Corpus Christi has created exemplary programs for women, children and seniors; furthering our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

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The YWTeen Program serves Corpus Christi Title I schools each week during school terms.
• Groups of 14-20 girls participate in the character-building activities.
• Based on the nationally-recognized, research-based Girls Circle curriculum.
• Structure, steps and practices increase positive connections-with parents, siblings, peers, teachers and friends-and provide a preventive practice.
• Promotes girls' healthy relationships with adults, peers, and community.
• Safely empowers girls to take full advantage of their talents, academic interests, career pursuits, and potential for healthy relationships.
• The year-round program includes
 Summer and Holiday Leadership Camps;
 Special Events such as Y Women in Careers, Reading Rally, Holiday Shop and Lock-Ins;
 Extracurricular experiences such as swims, dances, and movie nights.
Who is a YWTeen?
▪ She is 10 or 11 years old;
▪ She is in the 5th or 6th grade;
▪ She is probably Hispanic [Hispanic 82%; Black 6%; Anglo 5%; Other/Mixed 6%];
▪ She attends a Title I school, making her eligible for free or reduced lunch;
▪ She attends a school that has been designated "under-performing";
▪ She is exposed to numerous social ills daily: teen pregnancy, drugs, truancy, bullying, and peer pressure;
▪ She is eager to improve herself and her life and strengthen her community.
When the YWTeen Program began in 1946, the girls served were much older-15-17. Today's challenges are so intense that the program now serves 5th and 6th grade girls, ages 10-12, to reach them before they make life-altering decisions.
▪ 99% recognize the need to continue in school and graduate (goal 80%)
▪ 99% make smart choices about the future (goal 80%)
▪ 97% express increased decision-making and leadership skills (goal 90%)
▪ 9 out of 10 girls say they found a place to belong at the YWCA
▪ 98% of parents say their daughters show evidence with family and friends of what they have learned in YW-Teens.

An end-of-the-school-year activity was "Return Time Capsules." At the beginning of the school year, the girls created a time capsule that included things they liked and disliked about themselves and their lives. Their height was also measured and recorded. At the end of the year, the girls returned to their time capsules and answered the same questions and got measured again. They then compared their answers to see how they've grown-both physically and emotionally. This exercise develops self-awareness in the girls, and it also helps them to recognize the action-consequence sequence, since they can see that they are different from the girl who started the school year.

At the end of the school year, the YWTeen Leadership Camps begin. Leadership Camp is a week-long "intensive" in learning to interact with people who may well be strangers and may be very different from other people the girls know. Therefore, Leadership Camp challenges the girls to stretch their usual boundaries and practice the important tasks of making friends and keeping friends.

Leadership Camp is a sort of "crash course" in friend-making and friend-keeping, and the girls are actively encouraged not only to accept themselves but to accept others, as well. Several girls have had ethnicity issues, family-relationship issues, and body-image issues come to light in Leadership Camp, and they have successfully coalesced each week into a homogeneous group while overcoming differences and learning to support each other in their differences. One young girl is much taller than her counterparts; the girls worked with each other to help her see how valuable she is, and that it's OK to be taller than your friends. Another young girl got offended because one of the girls thought she was black, but she did not see herself as a black person; this was an opportunity for the girls to learn about the value of everyone in our society, and learn that ethnicity is part of a self-image, not a foregone (or observable) conclusion. A "teaching moment" occurred during the "Family Tree" exercise, in which girls discovered the many combinations that make up families today. The girl who lived with both her biological parents was the girl with the greatest adjustment!