Issue 9 - December 2014 Newsletter


Alliance for Girls' Leadership Teams & More


December 9, 2014

In This Issue...

Note from the Director
Alliance for Girls Update
Member Spotlight
The World of Girls

   Twitter & WAM Partner to
      Track Online Harassment

The Effects of Bullying on
Children's' Brains

   Girls Under Stress &
        Premature Aging
   Millenials & Their Futures
   Female Sterilization by

Petitions on Our Radar
        Reauthorize the JJDPA to 
             Reduce Juvenile
        Support Services for
             Survivors of Human

For Members 

The Resources page is now public, so you no longer have to sign in to access it.

Interested in being the next Member Spotlight? 

Contact Kailin Chou:

Alliance Events

Wednesday, December 10
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
How We Talk About the Menstrual Cycle With Our Girls

led by Helynna Brooke &
      Elizabeth Gould
San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds
1380 Howard Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Monday, December 15
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Holiday Mixer for Members!
Girls Inc. of Alameda County
510 16th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
RSVP here with your log-in info

Thursday, January 22                 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM                   What Does It Mean to Be A Girl: A Discussion On Gender and Gender-Responsive Services
led by the One Circle

Location TBD

Events For Girls

Month of December
Code the Holidays
by Google's Made With Code
  & the National Park Foundation
Opportunity for girls to code lights that will be displayed on their state tree outside the White House

Monday, December 8 through
Sunday, December 14
Computer Science Education Week
Happening globally

We'd like to post more events that girls can attend. Please help us by submitting your events to


 Follow @AFGBA

 Like us on Facebook

Note from the Director

Dear Members,

This Thanksgiving, my family had a potluck style dinner. Everyone made their specialty dish: stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Together, these dishes became a feast to remember.

As I sat at a table brimming with food, I thought about Alliance for Girls. With each of your contributions, together we have developed a Bay Area community that is rich with opportunities for girls.

This year Alliance for Girls expanded girls’ opportunities by fostering collaboration and coordination between organizations, strengthened leadership of girls’ organizations through monthly workshops and an annual conference, and successfully advocated for gender-responsive services to be a priority of the children’s fund, which will allocate $50 million annually to youth services in San Francisco for the next 25 years.

We have achieved this programmatic success because of you.

When Alliance for Girls launched in 2012, it sought to answer two questions (1) what can the girls’ service sector achieve by working together and (2) is an alliance model financially viable.

We have proven impact and we have grown significantly in the last two years. But in the long-term it will be the support of organizations and individuals that will make the difference

It will take everyone contributing what they can to make the Bay Area girls-service sector strong, connected and better able to prepare today's girls to be tomorrow's leaders and agents of change. I am so grateful to you for making an effort and making Alliance for Girls possible.


Emma Mayerson
Director of Alliance for Girls

Alliance for Girls Update

Introducing the Advisory Committee & Leadership Teams!

Alliance for Girls (AFG) is honored to welcome new members to our Advisory Committee, bringing with them important and unique perspectives that help make our leadership team our most diverse yet. Our Advisory Committee consists of 13 key influencers (members and non-members) from different sectors: corporate, legislative, nonprofit, and funding. Together, they create a diverse team with respect to age, gender, ethnicity and geography.

The Advisory Committee will be responsible for relaying updates or trends in their sector, supporting fundraising, acting as ambassadors for AFG and advising AFG on its strategic direction. For that, we are grateful to have such a skilled team of leaders guiding Alliance for Girls.

Here are the members of the Advisory Committee:

  • Co-Chair: Taara Hoffman, Executive Director, GirlVentures
  • Co-Chair: Marlene Sanchez, former Executive Director, Center for Young Women's Development
  • Jennifer Berger, Executive Director, About-Face
  • Patti Chang, CEO, Feed the Hunger Foundation
  • Anike Coates, Director of Institutional Giving, Big Brother Big Sisters of the Bay Area
  • Pam David, Executive Director, Walter & Elise Haas Fund
  • Jenny DeRuntz, Associate Director, YWCA of Berkeley & Oakland
  • Judy Glenn, COO, Girls Inc. of Alameda County
  • Mark Gunther, Managing Director, Eva Gunther Foundation
  • Roshni Kasad, Senior Program Manager, Techbridge
  • Esther Lucero, Director of Programs and Strategic Development, California Consortium for Urban Indian Health
  • Fiona Ma, State Board of Equalization District 2
  • Lori Mackenzie, Executive Director, The Clayman Institute for Gender Research
  • Loren Mahon, Vice President of Finance Systems, Oracle America Inc.
  • Dr. Raye Mitchell,Founder & Executive Director, G.U.R.L.S. Lead Global Leadership Program
  • Gizelle Covarrubias Robinson, Information Technology Director, Charles Schwab
  • Kim Scala, former Partner, Archer Norris
  • Lateefah Simon, Program Director, Rosenberg Foundation
  • Esta Soler, Executive Director, Futures Without Violence
  • Jackie Speier (Honorary), Congresswoman of California's 14th District
  • Misbah Surani, Student, Milpitas High School
  • Elizabeth Sweet, Program Officer, Philanthropy Workshop West
  • Kathleen Thurmond, Consultant, KT Consulting
  • Danielle West, Student, Bishop O'Dowd, graduate of Julia Morgan School for Girls and Girls Inc.

We are also excited to welcome new members onto other leadership teams: the Membership Engagement Committee and the Research & Advocacy Committee. The Membership Engagement Committee is responsible for assessing member needs, event planning, and helping AFG engage prospective members. The Research & Advocacy Committee assists AFG in ensuring its resources page has relevant, cutting-edge research to help our members and the girls service sector at large be more effective.

These are the members of each committee:

Membership Engagement Committee

  • Co-Chair: Jennifer Berger, Executive Director, About-Face
  • Co-Chair: Jana Hiraga, Program Director
  • Liora Barba, ENVISION Coordinator, Oasis For Girls
  • Odette Nemes, Girls Resource Center Program Manager, Girls Inc. of Alameda County
  • Susana Rojas, Mission Girls Director, Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
  • Natalie Stack, Program Director, Girls On the Run of the Bay Area

Research + Advocacy Committee

  • Chair: Roshni Kasad, Senior Program Manager, Techbridge
  • Helynna Brooke, Executive Director, San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds
  • Kelli Finley, Development Director, One Circle Foundation
  • Jane Winter, Executive Director, YWCA of San Francisco & Marin

Thank you all for going above and beyond to strengthen Alliance for Girls! 

Member Spotlight: Techbridge + Mission Girls Collaborate

Mission Girl's Mitzi Magdaleno (left) at a SF STEM
Learning Community training with one of Techbridge's partners

At Alliance for Girls, we strongly believe in fostering a culture of collaboration, and our mission is to weave together a vibrant, close-knit tapestry of girls’ organizations that covers the entire Bay Area. That’s why this month, we’re especially excited to spotlight a unique partnership between two members of the Alliance: Techbridge and Mission Girls of Mission Neighborhood Centers.

Last year, Mission Girls—a holistic, gender-specific program that serves girls living at the margins—formed a partnership with Techbridge—an organization that provides STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming for girls and training for community leaders and agencies. Through a partnership with Techbridge, Mission Girls is bringing STEM education to the largely Latino/Latina communities of the Mission District.

The collaboration was the first of its kind in many ways for both organizations. For Techbridge, this was a rare opportunity to work with a gender-specific program focused on girls. For Mission Girls, while the organization had provided STEM-related activities before, they weren’t as purposeful or well integrated into the overall programming. Techbridge strengthened Mission Girls’ STEM program by training staff in both the curriculum and a broader range of skills, such as applying program standards, lesson planning, and general teaching strategies.

As a result, the girls were able to explore these subjects in a variety of ways, including coding, making lava lamps, and other hands-on projects. During the summer, they got to learn about different types of careers, hear from professional women working in STEM, tour tech companies like eBay’s PayPal campus, and participate in the SPLASH program at Stanford where girls got to attend classes during the weekend.

“When we first applied for this, we really didn’t know what to expect,” reflects Susana Rojas, Director of Mission Girls. “We had no idea how amazing it would be for our girls, that the programs would take a life of their own.”

The impact of the partnership between Techbridge and Mission Girls has been immense for girls and their families. Now entering its second year, the partnership will benefit a total of 60 girls, twice the number that was served last year. These girls are beginning to see that they can excel in science, tech, math and engineering. Many of the older girls now help inform Mission Girls’ STEM curriculum and are encouraging younger girls to follow in their footsteps. Parents are seeing their daughters explore more nontraditional professions, and now consider STEM to be a viable career path for their girls to pursue.

“When you look at the tech world, only 1% of the workforce is Latina,” says Rojas. “This partnership with Techbridge is changing that by creating ripple effects in the community that will lead to more Latina girls pursuing careers in STEM. It’s a beautiful thing."

Collaborate with Techbridge or Mission Girls!

Techbridge loves collaborating with others and offers trainings and resources independently for a fee. The collaboration between MissionGirls and Techbridge was funded by the Department of Children, Youth and their Families (DCYF). While their partners are already set for the 2014-2015 school year, DCYF and Techbridge will put out another call for applications around late spring or early summer in 2015, with preference given to DCYF-funded agencies. The partnership would coincide with the regular school year and would largely focus on integrating STEM into after school programs.

Mission Girls currently focuses on providing new mentorship opportunities for its girls, where they can get to know women of the industry for longer periods of time. Ideally, these women would teach more specialized skills to the girls (e.g., creating an app, coding or opening a YouTube channel) and provide real-world opportunities to apply them. Mission Girls would also like to partner with universities and colleges to provide more opportunities for girls to audit STEM classes.

The World of Girls

This section provides links to summaries of relevant current events and research from this past month.

Twitter & WAM Partner to Track Online Harassment

In last month’s World of Girls, we highlighted #GamerGate, an example of how increasing forms of online harassment are bullying women into silence. In response to #GamerGate, Women, Action & the Media (WAM) partnered with Twitter to pilot a new reporting tool in an effort to reduce gender-based harassment. The form asked users what type of harassment they were experiencing, whether it was done by a single person or a group, and if they were experiencing it elsewhere. With the initial phase of the reporting tool completed, WAM will now work with Twitter to analyze the data and use their findings to inform their understanding of how to better respond to online harassment. Read more here, check out WAM's updates on the project here, and don't miss recent updates from Twitter here.

The Effects of Bullying on Children's Brains

A new study produced by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine highlights data not only on how deeply unpleasant bullying is, but how it physically changes a child’s brain. Researchers studied 83 “generally healthy” kids between ages 9 to 14 and, among other conclusions, found that kids who had been bullied previously had thinner temporal and prefrontal cortexes, areas of the brain that are critical for processing information and regulating behavior. The thinning occurred in both girls and boys, but was more pronounced in girls. Read the full article.

Girls Under Stress & Premature Again

For the first time, a growing amount of evidence is shining a light on what comes first: stress, depression or changes in the body. An ongoing study by a team of researchers from Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of California, San Francisco, has found that healthy girls at “familial risk of depression” (i.e., girls whose mothers experienced recurrent episodes of depression) were not only stressed out, they showed signs of premature aging long before they could develop depression.

Researchers looked at the girls’ telomeres, caps on the ends of chromosomes. Telomere length is essentially like a biological clock that corresponds to age, and the girls’ telomeres were shorter than that of girls not at risk of depression by the equivalent of six years in adults. Exposure to stress can shorten telomeres, and shorter telomeres in adults have been linked to premature death, infections and chronic diseases. The team is continuing to monitor the girls while looking at the effectiveness of stress reduction techniques for girls. Read Stanford’s post on the research and preventative actions here, and access the study here.

Millennials and Their Futures

TIME published an article on how the media’s preoccupation with high-profile individuals achieving great success early on in life can be damaging for young people. Dubbing these individuals “super-youth,” TIME’s Charlotte Alter writes that while most millennials are “sluggishly” going through their twenties - delaying major life decisions, taking longer to settle into a career, and accruing more debt and earning less income than their parents - the super-youths covered by the media are getting younger and younger. With platforms like Kickstarter removing “traditional gatekeepers,” Alter argues that the increasing pressure on young people to achieve more faster and younger may do more harm than good. Read the full article.

In related news, Elance-oDesk and Millennial Branding have produced a study on “The 2015 Millenial Majority Workforce,” where they surveyed 1039 millennials (ages 21-32) and 200 hiring managers. Overall, millennials are expected to become the majority in the U.S. workforce in 2015. While the study suggests that having millennials in the workforce should help increase gender equality in workplaces, 21% of millennial women feel that “work has been worse than expected” (compared to 12% of millennial men). Check out the study.

Female Sterilization by Choice

According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 60% of women of reproductive age currently use some form of contraception. About 35% of women who use contraception seek permanent options: vasectomies in men or female sterilization. The Huffington Post recently published an article about the growing number of women in the country seeking the latter, the challenges they may encounter, and the debate on whether or not healthcare providers bear any responsibility in guiding them through the process. Read the full article.

Petitions on Our Radar

Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

Enacted in 1974, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has been cited as one of the most successful federal statutes at setting standards to prevent and stem juvenile delinquency while upholding specific protections for youth and their families. With support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the JJDPA has contributed significantly to the reduction of juvenile crime, but it has not been reauthorized since 2007. The reauthorization of the JJDPA would include increased support for mental and behavioral health services for youth, including girls, who are the fastest growing population in juvenile justice. To take action, tell Congress to reauthorize the JJDPA. For more information on girls in the juvenile justice system and Alliance for Girls’ participation in the OJJDP’s National Girls Initiative in October, check out our coverage in last month’s newsletter.

Send a Letter to President Obama to Increase Funding for Human Trafficking Survivors

In California, 43% of human trafficking cases are occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area, making this region one of the ten worst child sex trafficking areas in the country. The National Council of Jewish Women, an Alliance for Girls member, has teamed up with Polaris to urge people to sign a co-branded petition to President Obama, seeking his support to increase funding for services provided to human trafficking survivors. Support survivors by signing this petition to the President.

Did we miss something? Email

Thank you to Wells Fargo!

We’d like to take a moment to thank Wells Fargo for becoming a Bronze level sponsor of Alliance for Girls’ 3rd Annual Conference next May! We're honored to have Wells Fargo as an ally committed to supporting girls and women.

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Alliance for Girls
510 16th Street, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510.629.9464 | Fax: 510.318.5399