The Innovators in Young Women's Health Award Program is a leadership training program and funding opportunity for young women to design, implement, and evaluate an innovative project or program addressing a young women's health issue in their schools. The Innovators program is based on a positive youth development approach that emphasizes each young woman's strengths and assets. This program provides a health and leadership development curriculum, training, and support on designing, implementing, and evaluating a young women's health project. The Innovators program is designed to be a safe and open place where young women can share their thoughts, ideas, and strengths, develop self-confidence, build leadership skills, and impact their school communities.
Two young women from a high school are nominated by a high-school staff person. Once selected, the students participate in a weekly training, held at the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, learning how to create a timely, relevant, and feasible young women's health project for their high-school.
Students work in pairs to develop their project and proposal. The students then submit their proposal, including a budget, to a Review and Advisory Committee, which may then be selected for funding of up to $2,000. Students with a funded project receive continued support and mentoring from UCSF staff throughout the implementation of their projects at school.
For 2011-2012, five SFUSD high schools received award funding to implement young women's health projects designed by our Innovators:
Abraham Lincoln High School
Student Innovators: Ashley Carreon and Ariana Wilson
Adult Ally: Ian Enriquez
Ashley and Ariana's project, "I am not my hair. I am not my skin. I am the soul that lives within" (india.arie) was awarded $1,295 to provide two workshops to a group of 20-25 young women that will inform and inspire them to realize their true inner beauty. The first workshop will educate girls on the unhealthy messages media portrays, and how it can be avoided. The second workshop will focus on building girls' self-esteem through writing, and guide the girls through a process of telling their "story." These stories will then become "monologues" and form the basis for a school-wide play. It is Ashley and Ariana's hope that through participation in this project, young women will experience a new sense of girl-pride, sisterhood, and support, and help them to understand that they are not alone.
International Studies Academy
Student Innovators: Dominique Albanese and Tamecia Wakefield
Adult Ally: Devon Rath
Dominique and Tamecia's project, "True Love Is Healthy Love" was awarded $1,996 to provide a one-day retreat for 45 young women focused on increasing their understanding about healthy relationships and providing them with the skills and experience to be part of one. Filled with interactive workshops and bonding experiences, the day focuses on increasing the young women's knowledge, confidence and self esteem.
Mission High School
Student Innovator: Erica Nguyen
Adult Ally: Chandra Sivakumar
Erica's project, a one-day "Stress Retreat" was awarded $1,610 to provide 20-25 girls with workshops focused on understanding stress, identifying their own stressors, learning strategies for managing stress (such as self-care, yoga, and mindfulness-based stress reduction), and increasing self esteem. To share the information with the larger school community, youth leaders will capture the main points of the day in a PowerPoint presentation that will used by Youth Outreach Workers and Peer Leaders.
George Washington High School's Young Women's Mentoring Club is being funded to replicate the "Stress Retreat" at their school. The lead student implementing the project is Luwina Zheng, accompanied by the team of Sharon Zhu, Angela Mak, and Gloria Tam. (Of note, the Young Women's Mentoring Club was initially launched through a grant from the Innovations in Young Women's Health Awards Program.)
Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School
Student Innovators: Josephine Zheng and Lily Hung
Adult Ally: Alicia Rozum
Josephine and Lily's project, focused on increasing young women's self-esteem and creating a sense of school-wide sisterhood, was awarded $1600 to provide a six-week program to 15-20 girls. The first five weeks of the program will provide after-school workshops focused on creating a safe and supportive group; respecting oneself and others; self-esteem and self-expression; and understanding how the media influences how girls think and feel about themselves. The last part of the program is a one-day celebration when the girls will make bracelets and buttons with positive "girl" messages that they will distribute to the larger student body at the school-wide "Healthtopia."