Young Women Choosing Action is an intersectional, culturally responsive, trauma-informed leadership program designed with the unique challenges and opportunities of low-income young women and young women of color, ages 13–19, in mind. Young Women Choosing Action will enable young women to practice skills and dispositions, which can lead to new habits of decision making rooted in an active choice rather than a reactive behavior.
Through participation in this program, young women who have had varying experiences with trauma, stress, and structural oppressions will develop leadership skills, expand their understanding of their physical and emotional responses to trauma, cultivate a practice of personal well-being, and build their capacity as leaders. Young women will learn how healthy decision-making, self-advocacy, and self-regulation support effective leadership.
Participants in Young Women Choosing Action will learn and practice real-world leadership skills by working together to identify and address an authentic community need. Mindfulness-based somatic exercises, such as yoga and breathing activities, will support their leadership efforts and personal empowerment. Ultimately, young women who complete the program will be empowered to effectively employ choice, mindfulness, and leadership strategies in a wide variety of life situations.
This curriculum is informed by valid and developmentally appropriate educational and therapeutic theories. All program sessions are aligned with the best practices of Positive Youth Development and guided by YWCA USA’s Theory of Change.
- White Paper
- Facilitator Training Guide: The importance of well-prepared, highly trained, approachable facilitators cannot be overstated when it comes to the success of a youth program. The Young Women Choosing Action curriculum is accompanied by an accessible and in-depth training guide that provides relevant information for facilitating an intersectional, trauma-informed leadership program. The Facilitator Training Guide also includes links and references to additional information for further exploration of the curriculum’s foundations and for use in program planning.
About YWCA USA and the Centene Corporation Partnership
The Young Women Choosing Action program is a result of a three-year collaborative partnership between YWCA USA and Centene, a diversified healthcare enterprise ranked on the Forbes Global 2000 List. Centene primarily serves low-income and underinsured individuals in the U.S., and understands the need for community-based solutions that address non-medical barriers to health and wellness.
YWCA USA and Centene both share a deep concern about and a passion for increasing the health and safety of women and girls. Furthermore, each organization has been impacted by the growing body of data that show women’s and girls’ negative health outcomes are often correlated to their racial/ethnic identity and economic status. This curriculum is not only a reflection of our shared core values but also our desire to leverage our resources to create a data-driven, trauma-informed, community-based program that can build the capacity of teen girls/young women to be empowered, resilient agents of change. Further, it is our shared belief that an innovative program like this can improve women’s long-term wellness.