As part of International Women’s Day, Hope Communities celebrates the extraordinary women throughout our communities. About 41% of all Hope residents are refugees, speaking more than 20 languages. Young women who come from refugee families often face extraordinary challenges: an incomplete understanding of American social nuances; the need to bridge practices and norms that honor their parents’ cultural expectations while pursuing their own needs; and attempting to integrate fully into the community. Additional factors such as prejudice and poverty contribute to diminishing feelings of self-identity and self-worth and can inhibit their pathway to success.
In response to these challenges and at the request of these amazing young women, Hope Communities offers our Girls’ Empowerment Program. This program focuses on leadership development, career/education planning, social/emotional learning, and stress management, with the goal of building confident young women who understand their value both to society and themselves.
The group’s theme for March is self-advocacy. Our program directors are helping the girls develop their advocacy muscles — understanding how important it is for them as individuals but also for their community. These young women (ages 10–16) are learning how to support their ideas and stand up for what they believe in — strengthening their leadership skills. One young woman in the group shared a recent experience where school friends were making fun of a homeless person. Empowered by recent conversations in the group, she urged her friends to consider how they could help some of the homeless people in their neighborhood instead of making fun of them.
Hope Communities is unique, as it is built on an integrated model of affordable housing. With safe, affordable housing as the foundation, we offer customized programs, resource navigation, and support services that advance economic opportunity. Programs are resident-informed and tailored to meet client needs, with a focus on economic mobility, adult education/life skills, youth development, health and wellness, and community building. You can help Hope Communities provide these vital programs and resources by making personal or corporate contributions, by advocating for more affordable housing in your community, or by becoming a volunteer. Please contact Gwen Kochman today at 720-593-4605 to share how you would like to support this life-changing work!