A&E Networks - Groups That Help Give New Beginnings to Women and Girls by Providing Creative Opportunities and Outlets

A&E Networks | Perspectives

Everyone can use a fresh start, but support and guidance can be elusive. Here are five organizations working to lend a hand.

Express Yourself

 Who They Are: Express Yourself introduces young people to the world of music, dance, theater and visual art. With art as a springboard, at-risk youth and young people with mental illness can move from alienation to belonging. This Massachusetts organization serves 50 cities and towns in the state.

What’s New: May 2019 will mark Express Yourself’s 25th anniversary, complete with an annual performance, a celebrated event during which 300 of the young people involved in the program — along with some high profile guest artists — put on a beloved show for friends, family and the community at Boston’s Boch Center to an audience of 3,000 people. In honor of their 25th anniversary, the CF Adams Charitable Trust has made a matching grant of up to $25,000.

Hello Future

Who They Are: Hello Future helps adolescent refugees, a very underserved and at-risk group, create a path forward thanks to mobile-based technology and remote learning opportunities. The organization provides the teens with the hardware, connectivity and on-site workshops needed to create a real learning environment.

Their pilot program achieved a 100 percent retention rate and an 80 percent graduation rate. Hello Future has proven to be so popular that their current waitlist doubles the number of participants who were enrolled in the pilot, and 85 percent of those waitlisted are girls.

What’s New: Hello Future is partnering with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs to create their measurement and evaluation metrics. They are looking to roll out their next session in northern Iraq for Syrian youth later this year.

Jails to Jobs

Who They Are: Jails to Jobs is dedicated to equipping previously incarcerated and soon-to-be released women and men with the tools and resources needed to find employment and successfully reenter the workforce. The volunteers with this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization do pre-release, job search preparation workshops in several prisons and jails in the San Francisco Bay Area and maintain a website designed to help anyone anywhere who has a criminal record find a job.

What’s New: The organization addresses the challenge of serving the many people coming out of prison who want to remove the visible (face, forehead, hands, etc.), anti-social and gang-related tattoos that often prevent them from getting employment. Since free and low-cost tattoo removal programs are scarce — Jails to Jobs even created a directory — it started its own program, working with a local plastic surgeon who volunteers his services for free and a healthcare nonprofit to do tattoo removals. Jails to Jobs would like to create similar programs in other parts of California and elsewhere in the country. They also hope to create and operate a mobile tattoo removal clinic, if they can get the funding.

Return with Purpose Fellowship

Who They Are: Return with Purpose Fellowship helps women return to the paid workforce after a break. The aim is for fellows to work in the area of corporate social responsibly and at nonprofits. The fellowship was created by Inspiring Capital, an organization with an engaged network focused on helping individuals, organizations and employers align their skills, interests and needs with those of their communities and the world to do purpose-driven work.

What’s New: Return with Purpose Fellowship is currently in its fifth year. In January 2019, Inspiring Capital held its first Return with Purpose Summit, a content-packed event during which participants gained tools and connections needed to pursue a career within the social impact sector. The Summit was hosted by Grace Institute, which empowers low-income women in the New York area to achieve employment and economic self-sufficiency by providing job-skills training.

wiseHer

Who They Are: wiseHer is a technology platform that provides on-demand expert advice for women business owners and entrepreneurs to help them go farther, faster. It aims to democratize information as many pay-for-advice sites are out of reach for the vast majority of the 12 million women-owned businesses. The founder, an entrepreneur who had to reinvent herself, stacked  wiseHer with “battle-tested” advisers to help women get the answers to their business challenges quickly. As a social enterprise, wiseHer gives a portion of its proceeds back to women business owners to help their businesses grow.

What’s New: The organization was selected as an audience choice winner at the iFundWomen pitch competition and also was chosen by Worcester Polytechnic Institute to be a member of its new accelerator program.

PressLauren Empson