Members-Only Meeting, Gender Injustice, & More

Fall  2015

In This Issue...

Note from the Director
Alliance for Girls Update
Member Spotlight
Voices of the Alliance
A Girl's Perspective
The World of Girls
     Safe, Healthy and Ready to
          Learn: Policy
     Gender Injustice: Juvenile 
          Justice Reforms for Girls

  Op-Eds & Articles:

     Teens Protesting New Dress
          Code Policy
Members In the News


For Members 

The annual membership survey is out! Please take 10 minutes to complete the survey here.

Mark your calendars for the morning of Wednesday, December 2nd! Alliance for Girls is hosting a members-only meeting to decide on Alliance for Girls' priorities for the coming year.

Interested in featuring a blog post, sharing a story, or being the next Member Spotlight? Check out the guidelines on this page.

You can also contact Kailin Chou at .

 Follow us on Twitter

 Like us on Facebook


Alliance Events

Members-Only Meeting
Wednesday, December 2
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
The Women's Building
3543 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Community Events

2015 Gender Justice Summit: Breaking Silos, Changing Systems

Thursday, October 22
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Scottish Rite Center
2455 Masonic Drive
San Jose, CA 95125

Changing the Future of Children
Friday, October 23
8:15 AM - 9:15 AM
Terrapin Crossroads
100 Yacht Club Drive
San Rafael, CA 94901

She Thrives! Building a Foundation for 21st Century Girls
Sunday, October 25
10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tech Liminal
555 12th Street, Suite 110
Oakland, CA 94607

Embody Book Reading
Wednesday, October 28
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Oakland Public Library
125 14th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Embody Book Reading
Friday, October 30
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Riverfront Fitness Friday Focus Group
765 Baywood Drive, Suite 147
Petaluma, CA 94954

Impact Giving to Support Women and Girls of Color
Wednesday, November 4
10:00 AM

The Council for Boys & Young Men Facilitator Training
Thursday - Friday
November 5 - 6
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM both days
The Women's Building
3543 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

2015 Women's Rock Camp Sampler
Sunday, November 8
Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts
1428 Alice Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Camp Reel Stories at Farley's East
Thursday, November 12
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Farley's East
33 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612

Girls Circle Facilitator Training
Tuesday - Wednesday
November 17-18
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM both days
The Women's Building
3543 18th Street #8
San Francisco, CA 94110

Events for Girls

Teen Book-to-Movie Marathon 
Saturday, October 24
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
San Leandro Main Library
300 Estudillo Aveue
San Leandro, CA 94577

Mission Girls' "We Are The Women..." Media Release Event

Saturday, October 24
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Brava! for Women In the Arts
2781 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

STEAM Carnival
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
November 6-8
Pier 48 at AT&T Park
San Francisco, CA 94107

Girls Day! A Camp Reel Stories Celebration
Saturday, November 21
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Uptown Body & Fender
401 26th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

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

Members in the News

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, Founder/CEO of Courageous Girls, was featured on Fortune's "Heroes of the Fortune 500" list! Click here and read about how mountain climbing helped her heal from sexual violence.

Connie Sobczak, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Body Positive, wrote a piece that was published in USA Today! We've republished it in our blog here.

Career Girls goes viral! sits down with Executive Producer Linda Calhoun to talk about how Career Girls all started. Check out the interview here.

Tina Lee, Founder/CEO of MotherCoders, was featured in the SF Chronicle for hosting a Mommy Pod outside the Tech Inclusion 2015 conference. Read more here!

Emma Mayerson, Director of Alliance for Girls, will be on Alliance member Love Never Fail's Abolition Radio on 10/26. Be sure to tune in then!

The Research & Advocacy Committee

Alliance for Girls is grateful for the Research & Advocacy Committee for helping us put together the content of this newsletter. They are:

Helynna Brooke is the Executive Director of the
San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds, Inc where she focuses on advocating for appropriate mental health services for women and girls. Helynna co-founded the Red Web Foundation in 2003, following the creation of the First Moon Kit for celebrating the first period of a woman. The Red Web Foundation is on the bleeding edge of education and advocacy for healthy attitudes about the menstrual cycle.

Kelli Finley is the Development Director of One Circle Foundation where she supports the expanding reach of Girls Circle, The Council for Boys and Young Men, and Women’s Circle in the Bay Area and across the country. Prior to her work at One Circle, Kelli developed and ran a first-of-its-kind therapeutic program within the San Francisco County jails for children who have a parent that is incarcerated. Kelli holds a Master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.

We're looking for more members to join the Researh & Advocacy Committee! Interested in joining? Email Helynna at or Kelli at
to learn more about what they do.

Note from the Director

Dear Alliance,

I want to talk about power. Too often as nonprofit folks, as women, as social justice activists, we feel powerless. Powerless in the face of the enormity of the issues we are addressing, powerless as we wait to find out whether our request for funding will be approved.

But we are also powerful. We have the power to change a girls’ life; and we have the power to organize and advocate for large-scale systemic change. In this issue of the newsletter, I want to celebrate our power.

Alliance for Girls (AFG) is now 100 members strong! In just three years we have grown from 6 to 100 members. This is powerful. As 100 members serving more than 200,000 girls and young women in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are demanding the prioritization of girls and girls’ services.

As Alliance for Girls continues to grow, opportunities for increasingly powerful and impactful partnerships and advocacy campaigns become possible. At AFG’s members-only meeting on December 2nd we will vote on an advocacy campaign, presented by members, that will further leverage our collective power and push the Girls Agenda forward.

We are an alliance of powerful organizations, led by powerful leaders supporting ever more powerful girls. Together, we are creating a more equitable world for all.

Thank you, 

Emma Mayerson

Alliance for Girls Update

Save the Date: Members-Only Meeting on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Summer has come and gone and now things are in full swing at Alliance for Girls! We’ve had a few exciting events so far, including a half-day training led by Alliance member The Respect Institute, and a successful fundraiser, Give Back to the Future, put together by an amazing supporter, Adam Swig! In addition, we’re hosting an important members-only meeting on Wednesday, December 2nd, from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM at The Women’s Building in San Francisco.

MEMBERS: Make your voice heard and join us on December 2nd (register here)! Alliance for Girls is now at a critical moment in its development and, as always, we’re looking to you, our members, to tell us (and vote on) key issues affecting you and your girls so we can build on the Girls Agenda from the conference and prioritize your needs in our advocacy campaign. At the members-only meeting, you will:

  • Hear directly from key policymakers and funders in the Bay Area and learn about the trends that are most relevant to you and the girls you serve

  • Receive updates from fellow members who are on Alliance for Girls’ leadership committees and find out how you can get more involved

  • Build on the Girls Agenda and have an opportunity to present, discuss, and vote on issues that matter most to you and your girls

  • Reconnect with members during a networking reception following the meeting
Shape our advocacy campaign and register here! If you’re interested in presenting and/or planning the meeting, please email Emma at . Let’s leverage the ever-growing power of our collective voice and make sure girls and young women have the resources they need to thrive!

Member Spotlight: Summer Search

Left: Samantha with her mentee; Right: Summer Search staff with their students at the annual Believe 5K run

This quarter's member spotlight features Summer Search, as told by Director of Outreach & Community Engagement Samantha Harrington:

Summer Search is a national youth development nonprofit. We envision a world in which young people, regardless of circumstances, have the opportunity to become college-educated leaders who give back to their families and communities. Last year we worked with 1,440 low-income high school and college students across the Bay Area and serve students in four other cities: Seattle, Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

We partner with high schools to identify students short on opportunity and long on resilience, altruism and determination—character traits that hold the seeds for success in school and in life. We make a long-term investment in these students, supporting them through high school and college. We partner each student with a professional mentor and offer them summer experiential opportunities that crack open their worldview and ultimately reveal what they’re capable of accomplishing.

This year, we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary! In 1990, our founder, Linda Mornell, had a big idea. After sending her own children on summer wilderness trips, she wanted to give all young people access to these opportunities. Without any experience, she learned how to network and fundraise to send 14 students on trips that first year. However, she soon realized the trips weren’t enough. The students had changed, but home remained the same. They needed additional support to integrate their life-changing summer experiences into life back home. She soon added a second summer trip, ongoing mentoring and college counseling for high school seniors, gradually turning a simple idea into a powerful intervention.

We continue to grow and change year over year. While providing the same core elements to our students, we now prioritize doing our work through a social justice lens in order to empower our students to be fearless leaders of their own lives. We focus on building strong relationships with our students’ families and communities and are excited to partner with Alliance member organizations to better serve our young women and their families.

Collaborate with Summer Search!

We look forward to collaborating with organizations that focus on mental, sexual and physical health issues, domestic violence, homelessness, getting outdoors and community service to better support our young women and provide more opportunities for them to get involved and train for their trips. Please contact Sam at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SummerSearch!

Voices of the Alliance

This section features the voices of Alliance for Girls members. Check out snapshots of their entries below, and click the links to access their full posts. All of our members' entries are featured on Alliance for Girls' blog

The Duck Syndrome (Anxiety and Perfectionism Among Young)
by Dr. Carol Langlois of Dr. Carol

"Recently, I learned about the duck syndrome from a friend of mine at Stanford University. The duck syndrome is apparently running rampant at many colleges (and from my research) at many high schools as well. What is the duck syndrome? Well, think of the duck gliding along the water. She looks very serene, calm and pleasant. Then, look under the water and s/he is paddling frantically. That is the duck syndrome. Too many students on the outside are appearing calm, cool and collected while on the inside they are completely stressed out. As women, we want to see ourselves being able to have it all. To be the great student, great athlete, and well-liked by her peers, which typically means being social. But what price do we pay?" Read more about duck syndrome here.

From Body Hatred to Self-Love
by Connie Sobczak of The Body Positive

"At age 19, I was forced to drop out of college by a life-threatening eating disorder, dashing my plans to become a computer engineer. Thankfully, I conquered bulimia and graduated from college. My sister Stephanie was not so lucky. Her obsession with thinness led to her death in her mid-30s, leaving two young children without a mother and our family shattered and grieving.

A Dangerous Path
My body hatred started at age 13, when my friends began dieting because they thought something was wrong with their bodies. Being younger than all of my peers, I was easily influenced by the actions of others.

One day a friend suggested I purge the food I had eaten. After joining a commercial weight loss program, Stephanie underwent the typical weight loss/weight regain cycle experienced by most dieters, and, not surprisingly, developed bulimia." Read more about Connie's journey to self-love and how to create body-positive environments for children.

Gender Equity in School & Community Sports
by Molly Frandsen of Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center

"Over the past summer, I worked with Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s ("LAS-ELC”) Fair Play for Girls In Sports project, and created an informational video on girls’ rights to gender equity in school and community sports.  This video project was generously supported by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (“WLALA”).

Fair Play for Girls in Sports works to ensure girls in grades K-12, particularly girls of color and those in low-income areas, have equal opportunities to participate in school and community sports and reap the lifelong rewards of athletic involvement. Studies show that girls who participate in sports maintain higher confidence and self-esteem. They receive better grades and are significantly more likely to graduate compared with girls who do not play sports. Once in the workforce, on average, girls who participate in athletics in high school earn 7% more." Read more and check out the video here.

A Girl's Perspective

This section spotlights the unique perspectives of girls in the community. Their entries are also featured on Alliance for Girls' blog.

In this issue, we hear from three young women: (1) Samantha Weil, student at Julia Morgan School for Girls writing about their Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service group, (2) Marta Mendoza, an alumna of AAUWSF's Tech Trek Science Camp describing her aspirations as a result of participating in Tech Trek, and (3) Victoria, a camper from Bay Area Girls Rock Camp.

From Samantha:

"In Julia Morgan School for Girls (JMSG), the goal is to prepare the confident, capable, creative, and compassionate women of tomorrow. In my opinion, JMSG isn’t just doing that, they are excelling at it. Not only are there classes where we learn, and create new skills to develop our minds for the future, but also there are many extracurricular activities in the mornings to go to. There are extracurriculars such as Band, Philanthropy Club, Math Club, and also Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service (GGLS).

GGLS is an incredible example of what JMSG wants their girls to be like in the real world. In Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service, we learn how to be activists. We talk about the meaning of activism, learn about women, and organize events to support feminism." Read more about why Samantha is fighting for equality (and sign the students' petition to pass the ERA!) here.

Q&A with Marta:

What was the Tech Trek Science Camp like?

"I was at Tech Trek's Camp Marie Curie at Stanford. They basically gave you a whole week to learn all the different types of science and math. We got to stay in the dorms and took challenging classes, including a robotics class where we had to figure out how to build and maneuver a Lego Mindstorm Mini Golf, which I’ve never done before. My favorite part was when, one of the nights, we heard from many women talking about their jobs and all the things women can do. That stuck with me because all these different women tried and they’re now at this point where they have a professional job and they’re good." Read the rest of Marta's interview here.

Victoria's Kid Report:

"Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is a fun place! It’s an all-girls space where we can go to learn to play instruments, create a band, make new friends, experience fun workshops, and perform at a showcase at the end of the program.

There are two programs in Bay Area Girls Rock Camp.

The first one is the summer camp. You get to go to Oakland School for the Arts for one week. It’s not an overnight camp, but you still stay there for a while." Read more from Victoria about what it means to be a camper here. 

Do you know a girl who'd like to submit a piece for our next Newsletter? Contact Kailin Chou at

The World of Girls

This section provides links and summaries of current news and reports surrounding girls and women from the past few months.

Research & Resources

Safe, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Policy Recommendations

Alliance member Future Without Violence published a report, Safe, Healthy, and Ready to Learn: Policy Recommendations to Ensure Children Thrive in Supportive Communities Free from Violence and Trauma, that lays out policy recommendations for promoting positive school climates, strengthening supports for families, and dramatically reducing violence and the effects of trauma on youth. With more than 60 percent of children in the U.S. exposed to crime, abuse, and violence – many in their own homes - we must come to terms with the fact that repeated exposure to trauma and violence can disrupt brain development and increase the risk of chronic illness, psychological issues, and dangerous behavior later in life. Access the full report here and the executive summary here.

Gender Injustice: Juvenile Justice Reforms for Girls

The National Crittenton Foundation, recently released a ground-breaking report, Gender Injustice: System-Level Juvenile Justice Reforms for Girls, that is the most comprehensive to date on girls in the juvenile justice system. Written by Francine T. Sherman and co-author Annie Black, the report’s troubling findings confirm that despite progress in juvenile justice, girls are locked up and left behind because of the lack of intentional focus on girls. Current large-scale juvenile justice reforms are leaving girls on the sidelines, and this is a missed opportunity to offer girls effective solutions and a healthy path forward. Access the full report, executive summary, and infographics here.

Op-Eds & Other Articles

Teens Protesting New Dress Code Policy

"You're selling yourself in the wrong way." "You're asking for it." These are examples of what students hear from teachers in regards to the way they dress at Charleston County School of the Arts in Northern Charleston, South Carolina. Young women at the school are protesting a new dress code that kicks girls out of class for the way they dress. Inspired by The Scarlet Letter, junior Reese Fischer wrote an Instagram post calling on her classmates to wear an "A" on their outfits to protest the way girls' bodies are being policed. The next day, more than 100 students arrived at school. Read more about their  growing movement here.

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