In This Issue...
Note from the Director
Alliance for Girls' 4th Annual
Alliance for Girls Update
Voices of the Alliance
A Girl's Perspective
The World of Girls
Digital Romance: How Teen
Boys & Girls Differ
Compulsive Texting & Girls'
Members in the News
We still want to hear from you! If you haven't yet, please take 10 minutes to complete the annual membership survey here. We want to make sure all of your voices are represented so we can support you best.
In the fall, everyone who submitted a survey was entered into a random drawing to win a year of membership. We're excited to share that Girls Leadership won!
This time, we are offering a chance to win two free tickets to the 4th Annual Conference on April 27th. If you fill out the survey by March 26th, you'll be automatically entered. (Members who already filled out the survey will be reentered.) Thank you!
Interested in sharing a story or op-ed, highlighting a girl, or being the next Member Spotlight? Check out the guidelines on this page and contact Kailin Chou at
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Creating an Inclusive Environment for Girls with Disabilities
Wednesday, March 23
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Ed Roberts Campus
Alliance for Girls' 4th Annual Conference
Wednesday, April 27
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The Event Center at Saint Mary's Cathedral
"Breaking the Silence" Advisory Committee Meeting #9
Tuesday, February 2
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Impact Hub Oakland
"Breaking the Silence" Advisory Committee Meeting #10
Monday, February 15
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Impact Hub Oakland
About-Face 2016 Embody Awards
Wednesday, February 24
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Impact Hub San Francisco
Celebrate Fiona Ma's 50th Birthday!
Friday, March 4
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
The Red Elephant in the Room
Thursday, March 10
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
California Endowment Center
Deadline to Apply: AAUWSF Silver Jubilee Scholarship Fund
by Saturday, April 30
The Council for Boys & Young Men Facilitator Training
Thursday - Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM both days
The Women's Building
San Francisco, CA
Girls Circle Facilitator Training
Wednesday - Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM both days
Maple Hall, #4, at Alavarado Square
San Pablo, CA
Events for Girls
National Girls & Womens in Sports Day
Wednesday, February 3
Dare 2B Digital Silicon Valley
Saturday, February 27
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
"Breaking The Silence" Town Hall on Girls & Women of Color
Saturday, February 27
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Impact Hub Oakland
Robots: The Mind in the Machine
Monday, February 29
IGNITE's Young Women's Political Leadership Conference
Saturday, March 5, 2016
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM
5th Annual Margaret Geis Wright Wellness 5k Run/Walk
Saturday, March 12
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Marin Teen Girl Conference
Saturday, April 2
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Marin County Office of Education
The Power of Gaming
Monday, April 18
We'd like to post more events that girls can attend. Please help us by submitting your events to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Research & Communications Committee
Alliance for Girls is grateful for the Research & Communications Committee for helping us put together the content of this newsletter. They are:
Helynna Brooke (Co-Chair) 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 (Co-Chair) 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 Masters degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy.
Sarah Jane Hyde works as the Public Education Programs and Campaigns Intern at Futures Without Violence, where she is the community manager for teen dating violence prevention program That's Not Cool. She is passionate about having an equal and violence-free world, and spends lots of time browsing publications on feminism and racial justice. In her spare time, she cooks gluten-free vegetarian recipes, practices yoga, and reads lots of books.
Kara Sammet is the Research and Evaluation Manager at Techbridge, a national non-profit that strives to diversify the STEM workforce by empowering underrepresented girls to pursue STEM careers. She is passionate about supporting culturally-responsive initiatives and organizations that serve girls and women. Kara has a Ph.D. in Education from UC Berkeley with an emphasis on measurement and evaluation, and an undergraduate degree in Women's Studies. Kara has worked with girl-serving organizations for over 15 years, including as a consultant for Girls Leadership and as educational field staff for GirlVentures and Outward Bound.
Interested in joining the Researh & Communications Committee? Email Helynna at
email@example.com or Kelli at
to learn more.
Note from the Director
2015 was an amazing year for Alliance for Girls. Because of you. Your commitment to collaboration and collective action, to sharing best practices and resources, and to advocating on behalf of girls. Because of you we have accomplished a tremendous amount this year.
Check out our top 10 accomplishments of 2015:
I cannot wait for what we will achieve in 2016. Every year we are becoming more powerful as a voice for girls, more capable as a coordinated girls' service sector, and better able to help our girls achieve their dreams!
- Significant membership growth. From 60 to 75 organizational members and from 2 to 25 individual members!
- Increased organizational capacity. Alliance for Girls operating budget increased by 30% this year, from 155,090 to 213,695, allowing us to do so much more!
- Launch of Alliance for Girls member-driven, quarterly newsletter. The newsletter features the incredible work of our members and amplifies the voices of the girls they serve.
- First Membership Meeting. With a growing membership, Alliance for Girls hosted its first members-only meeting to give members a chance to learn about each others work, support one another and better understand how to leverage the services Alliance for Girls has to offer. Read more about it below.
- Mixers! In addition to trainings and professional development opportunities, Alliance for Girls started hosting members-only mixers. These mixers are run by members, for members, to encourage relationship-building and camaraderie among members. As feminist shero Emma Goldman famously said, "If I can't dance, it is not my revolution!"
- Alliance for Girls' 3rd Annual Conference. With 38% growth in attendance, and 300% growth in sponsorships, Alliance for Girls' 2015 conference represented tremendous growth for the organization. Moreover, feedback from the conference was also positive. 97% reported that the conference made them feel renewed and more energized to do their work, 94% reported that the content was useful and relevant, and 90% reported that the conference will help them be a stronger champion for girls.
- National Girls Initiative Innovation Award. This award will enable Alliance for Girls to ensure that the unique needs of female students in Oakland Unified School District are prioritized and appropriately addressed by strengthening the relationship between the Oakland Unified School District and girl-serving, community-based organizations as well as crafting and informing new policies and protocols that address girls lived experiences and implement gender-specific, culturally responsive, strength based and trauma informed approaches to working with girls.
- Opportunities to present about Alliance for Girls and its members to funders, including more than 100 funders at the Grantmakers for Education conference.
- New fiscal sponsorship with the Women's Foundation of California! Alliance for Girls (AFG) is deeply grateful to the Eva Gunther Foundation for incubating Alliance for Girls and providing fiscal sponsorship for its first few years in operation. However, this was always a time-limited arrangement. Now, AFG is excited to have found a new home at the Women's Foundation of California. This will allow AFG to access a broader, statewide network, and benefit from the professional support provided by the Women's Foundation of CA to its fiscally sponsored projects.
- Supporting our members by facilitating connections and collaborations. As a final note of inspiration, check out the amazing post below by Alliance for Girls member Nakia Dillard, writing about her organization Y-LEAP's recent collaborations.
Alliance for Girls' 4th Annual Conference
Registration Now Open
It's official! Alliance for Girls' 4th Annual Conference is happening on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 in San Francisco.
Register now at the Early Bird rate! (Members get 50% off their tickets.)
At this all-day conference, hundreds of service providers, parents, researchers, legislators, businesswomen and visionaries will convene to learn from one another, and from girls themselves, about how to prepare today's girls to be tomorrow's leaders. We'll be exploring four critical tracks: Education, Health, Leadership, and Collective Impact.
If you believe in girls and young women, join us on April 27th!
Alliance for Girls Update
Decembers' Members-Only Meeting
On Wednesday, December 2, 2015, Alliance for Girls held its first members-only meeting, convening 70 members at the Women's Building in San Francisco. It was an exciting and dynamic day full of inspiring stories, presentations on pressing issues affecting girls and young women, and collective priority-setting on Alliance for Girls advocacy agenda. Most importantly, it was an effective platform for members to connect, learn from one another, and determine how best to strengthen the girls' service sector as a community.
- We plan on hosting longer or more frequent member meetings moving forward.
- Members provided clarity on the advocacy issues that matter most to them:
- Leadership Mentorship & Community: Ensuring every girl has positive relationships with adults and peers who are helping her thrive
- Health Mental Health: Recognizing and addressing girls' mental health needs by prioritizing her social and emotional development
- Education: Giving girls equal access to high quality educational opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom
- Media Visibility: Making sure girls are seen, heard and valued in our society
- We’re at a critical juncture in the girls’ and women’s movement, and our collective efforts are more important than ever. This includes supporting the campaigns of our members:
- Marilyn Fowler with the Women’s Intercultural Network: Pressure the United States to ratify CEDAW.
- Lupe Rodriguez with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte: Protect girls’ and women’s access to reproductive health services.
- Help Planned Parenthood regain funding.
- Advocate for access to an abortion provider in the 50%+ counties in California that lack one.
- Fight the ballot initiative that would force disclosure to parents/guardians of abortion by young women.
- Falilah Aisha Bilal with MISSSEY: Educate everyone on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
- Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888) if you see anything.
- Advocate for policy and legislation that recognize CSEC youth as victims in need of services, not jail sentences.
- Join in collaboration with CSEC-serving agencies to strengthen the support network.
- Mary Ann Ellison with Flowering Hope: Invite survivors of violence to fill out Flowering Hope’s survey at http://www.floweringhope.org/survey-results.html
- Jane Segal with Turning Heads: Sewing & Fashion Design and Ophelia Williams with the Young Women’s Freedom Center: Join the Girls In Crisis movement to allocate resources to the growing number of women and girls trapped below the poverty line, particularly in San Francisco.
- Collect and/or send stories about girls and young women who have fallen through the cracks to Alliance for Girls: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, check out the full highlights, PowerPoints, and photos from the meeting here.
Member Spotlight: Shalom Bayit
Shalom Bayit Co-Founder Naomi Tucker
For this issue's member spotlight, we spoke with Naomi Tucker, co-founder and Executive Director of Shalom Bayit, the 100th member of Alliance for Girls and the Bay Area Jewish community's resource center for abuse prevention and response. Read about their powerful story below:
What is your personal story behind co-founding Shalom Bayit?
I've been working in the battered women's movement for 32 years now. In 1992, I started working at the battered women shelter in San Mateo. During that time, I was invited to chair the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) to address the needs of Jewish women.
But I didn't feel that I could represent the needs of Jewish battered women at a national level because I was actually not seeing any Jewish women coming through the doors of the shelter where I worked. Yet, I knew the data, that domestic violence knows no bounds and happens in all communities. Why were Jewish women not accessing our shelters?
Before I would consider serving on a national board to represent Jewish women I wanted to gather other voices. So I called everyone I knew who worked in the battered women's movement and happened to be Jewish. We held a meeting, and around a kitchen table I asked the women, What would you like to see on a national agenda for battered Jewish women? They were not so interested in any national agenda, but were very eager to ask why no one was talking about domestic violence right here in the Bay Area Jewish community. And so, right then and there, we drafted a name and mission statement, and Shalom Bayit was born.
Eventually I left my job at the shelter to found Shalom Bayit. Our first key question was to understand the extent of the problem, and why local shelters weren’t seeing Jewish clients coming through their doors. We wondered, If we start a dialogue from within the community about domestic violence, then will Jewish battered women come forward?
And they did! Each time we spoke within the community, women would come up to us afterwards to say, “Wow, you just told MY story – but I’ve never told anyone.” So we continued community education efforts. It was not easy – at first, we couldn’t even get in the doors of Jewish organizations. The biggest obstacle was getting people to believe us that domestic violence could happen in a Jewish home. Clergy and community leaders would literally say “Domestic violence? Sorry, we don’t have that problem here.” They wouldn’t even let us borrow a meeting room. It would be a long road ahead of forming alliances and building relationships to change that culture.
In the mean time, we set up a P.O. Box and voicemail and started receiving calls for help. We met women in cafes and borrowed spaces for counseling. We partnered with Jewish women’s organizations to help get us in the door in congregations and community groups to break the silence about abuse, and it just took off from there. A group of activists/volunteers met monthly as a collective to run the organization. For eight years, we functioned in this way as a grassroots, all volunteer task force.
How has Shalom Bayit grown since then?
After those eight years, we completely outgrew what we were able to accomplish with just volunteers alone. In 2001, we had our first office and hired staff. Today, we’re a team of six staff with 3.5 part-time employees. We’re the only domestic violence program serving the Jewish community in nine Bay Area counties.
In 2002, we started a teen dating violence prevention program, reaching more than 1000 youth from middle school through college each year. That includes our companion programs for parents and teachers of teens. We also wanted to reach youth in Jewish community groups or synagogues, communities that secular domestic violence agencies aren’t reaching. We had to use our own internal networks to get into the door, because often the school administrators wouldn’t think dating violence was relevant to their demographic of kids. But in every school we’ve ever been, once we are in the classroom the kids are so happy to have us there, because they know how relevant this topic is to their lives.
Have you seen any shifts in attitudes towards domestic violence?
It’s been a slow shift but absolutely. It’s so important to be working towards social change, beyond just the direct services. That doesn’t always make us popular, but it is what needs to happen to make our communities safe for women and girls, whose voices and issues are generally marginalized in Jewish conversations.
Since day one, our educational model was to form alliances between Jewish community organizers and battered women’s advocates. We continue to be that bridge, doing our work to end violence against women through the lens of faith and culture.
We’ve seen a tremendous attitudinal shift among clergy in particular, from a culture of denial and disbelief in those early years to a place where the majority of rabbis in the Bay Area Jewish community now believe in and support our work. We have built a clergy council with 80 members who publicly endorse Shalom Bayit and join our efforts to confront abuse within the community. Rabbis call upon us as a resource, refer people to our services, and bring us into their congregations to consult on specific cases. They are talking about violence against women from the pulpit. Their level of awareness has totally changed.
What's next for Shalom Bayit?
We’re working on bridging the theory and practice gap. For example, even our supportive clergy often don’t know how to handle situations when the perpetrator is someone they know, especially if it’s a leader in the community. It’s one thing to say domestic violence happens and it’s not OK: it’s another thing to have real accountability within a small community. That’s why we are now working with congregations to create response protocols so that when a situation arises, it’s handled based on policy, not people. Often in domestic violence cases, people side with the perpetrators because they can’t fathom that their friend or colleague would behave that way. Or because the terrible truth is unimaginable. Or because the abuser is so convincing. They don’t want their heroes taken down. So in the end, they choose not to believe it happened. We have to change that if we want to break the cycle of violence.
Another plan in our future is to develop a peer educator program for high school students. In our youth program, we engage and train college students to become dating violence prevention peer educators. We would love to be able to offer a similar model for high school-aged youth.
What kind of collaboration is Shalom Bayit seeking?
Collaboration is the cornerstone of our strategy. We were built on the premise of being a bridge between the domestic violence movement and the Jewish community. Our job is to build strategic partnerships both within the Jewish community and externally with the broader community to transform the way our community understands and responds to abuse. We are available to other Alliance members to help build cultural competencies within their agencies, and are also happy to offer Alliance members in all faith and cultural communities our interfaith trainings on faith-based and cultural-lens approaches to ending violence against women.
We’re thrilled to become an Alliance member this year and appreciate all the work you do on behalf of women and girls!
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.
by Nakia Dillard of Y-LEAP
"I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to not only attend Alliance for Girls 3rd Annual Conference but to have had the amazing opportunity to speak on stage. This experience was so empowering for me as it was my first time speaking to a large crowd about Y-LEAP and the importance of investing in girls and young women. After I spoke I was surprised to get a standing ovation and to see so many people approach me afterwards. Not only did people come up to me to speak about future collaborations or to share their thoughts on my speech, people also followed up within a few weeks of the conference through Facebook, LinkedIn, and email." Read more about her recent collaborations here.
We're starting something big at YWCA!
by Laura Eberly of the YWCA of San Francisco & Marin
"YWCA San Francisco & Marin got its start by elevating women's voices. At the core of our work is the recognition that a more equitable world is possible, and it is our job to build it.
That's why we are building a new advocacy program, and inviting you to join us.
We know that lasting change requires changing the system in addition to changing the lives of individuals. For over one hundred years, YWCA has advocated for policies to enrich the lives of women and girls in our communities. In the 1880s, women from the Kansas City YWCA advocated for better working conditions at the Armour Packing Plant, and won them. In 1886, the YWCA in Dayton, OH petitioned legislators to give women better legal protections against assault. And Chicago's YWCA was at the forefront of the civil rights movement when it began integrating its services in 1930." Read more about the YWCA SF & Marin's new advocacy program here.
Menstruation in the 4th wave: How my period helped me find my (feminist) voice
by Emma Shachat of the Red Web Foundation
"In most cultures, a girl's first period is emblematic of womanhood. Her first period not only indicates that she is fertile, but welcomes her into the world of women rather than girls. For me, my first period was not so sacred. I began to realize I was a woman not because I was met with admiration and respect, but because my body and my ability to menstruate were regarded as vulgar and obscene. My period marked my coming to womanhood in that I learned how I was meant to feel about being a menstruating woman. And it was because I was so angered by the old-world attitudes towards my period that I began to grow into my feminist-self and develop my feminist thought. My period marked the beginning of a new awareness of unjust attitudes and language regarding women." Read the rest of Emma's post on how menstruation is a feminist issue.
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 five young women: (1) Vanessa Miller, a 7th grader and participant of Girls Leading Girls (GLG) talking about her experience playing on GLG's competitive soccer club, SF Sol FC, and (2) Robin Weathers, Jenna Cheli, Jessie Marshall, and Soli Tays, students of Cloverdale High who recently won Best High School Film at the Alexander Valley Film Society for their short film, "STOP."
Q&A with Vanessa:
How long have you been with Girls Leading Girls?
"I have been with Girls Leading Girls for about 1/2 a year."
What do you get to do there? What do you like most about it?
"SF Sol is a soccer team that has leadership classes as well. I get to play and develop my soccer skills and this summer we're going to go to Nicaragua on a service trip. I like my coaches, and everyone on the team is really nice." Read more about what Girls Leading Girls means to Vanessa.
From Robin, Jenna, Jessie & Soli:
Insecurities are something that everyone faces no matter the age, race, or gender. This unifying theme connects us all together throughout generations and will continue to connect us. Then why do we target these insecurities within other people? Why are they one of the most frequently used topics to hurt others with? People throw words at each other that target these insecurities whether they know it or not. Friends even make comments to them as jokes. These jokes are sometimes the ones that hurt the most. Read the rest of the young women's blog post and check out their short film.
Do you know a girl who'd like to submit a piece for our next newsletter? Contact Kailin Chou at email@example.com.
The World of Girls
This section provides links and summaries of current news and reports surrounding girls and women from the past few months.
Digital Romance: How Teen Boys & Girls Differ
The Pew Research Center recently published the report, Teens, Technology and Romantic Relationships, which looks at the digital dating habits of teenage boys and girls. One could read this article from one perspective and feel that nothing has changed in teen dating relationships in the last 50 years, because it states that nearly half (47%) of girls say they usually wait for someone to ask them out first, compared to only 6% of boys. Interestingly, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram make boys feel more connected with their significant others' life than they do girls. Read the article here and access the full report here.
Compulsive Texting & Girls' School Performance
According to research published by the American Psychological Association, adolescent girls and boys are similar in their frequency of texting with an average of 167 texts per day, but their texting differs in content. Surveying 403 students in eighth and eleventh grade, researchers found that girls typically use texting to nurture relationships while boys use texting for information sharing. Furthermore, the study was the first to identify that compulsive texting is significantly related to poor academic adjustment. In fact, girls who compulsively text exhibit poorer school performance, while this was not evident in boys. Read the article here, and access the full study here.
Did we miss something? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members in the News
Girls Leadership's Executive Director and Co-Founder Simone Marean was interviewed by Fortune Magazine, speaking on the importance of girl-serving organizations and why it's essential that we encourage girls to learn to fail. Check it out here.
One Circle Foundation's Girls Circle (GC) model has been proven to reduce recidivism for girls, making it the first gender-specific program in the nation to demonstrate effectiveness in reducing delinquency! In the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention-funded study, recidivism rates were significantly lower for girls who attended GC regularly, and significant increases were found in use of condoms, educational aspirations, and educational expectations. Read more here.
One Circle Foundation's Girls Circle and Boys Council were mentioned in Finger Lakes Times by guest author Edith Mann, Executive Director of Central New York-based Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc., as a "Primary Prevention" solution to sexual assault. Mann encourages adding Girls Circle and Boys Council for every student starting by fifth grade. Check out the full article here.
Techbridge released a press release to announce the stepping down of its founder Linda Kekelis as CEO/Executive Director effective December 18, 2015. Under her 15 years of leadership, Techbridge grew from an idea to a national organization that serves thousands of girls. Read the press release here.
Futures Without Violence's "That's Not Cool" Campaign was profiled in Bustle, highlighting its creative use of media platforms such as YouTube and Kik to reach teens online and prevent dating violence. Read about it here and check out its resources for teens.
What is one thing that girls and women experience every month and don't talk about? Menstruation! If you work with girls, don't let this topic be The Red Elephant in the Room. On March 10th, the Red Web Foundation is hosting a conference on how to talk to girls about menstruation. Participants will learn how to create a safe space for girls from the Red Web and Megan Hamilton from Oasis for Girls.
The 7th Annual Dare 2B Digital Conference and Innovation Challenge is taking place at the PayPal Town Hall in San Jose, on Saturday, February 27th. The conference inspires middle and high school girls to explore exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM). It is a day not to be missed by young women grades 7-10 and their parents! Register here.