The prevalence of risky behaviors can have a negative impact on a young person’s ability to grow and develop into a healthy, productive adult. Research shows that when young people achieve academic success, have significant relationships with caring adults, and are involved in community service and extracurricular activities they are empowered and less likely to engage in risky behaviors. YWCA Wheeling’s Youth Empowerment Program provides a positive impact on young people’s ability to improve their leadership and communication skills, self-expectation and resilience. We focus on empowerment by teaching the practices of emotional intelligence, assertive self-expression and healthy relationships, giving girls the skills and confidence to live as leaders.
The YWCA Wheeling’s Youth Empowerment Program, established in 2016, has seen many successful events that have reached numerous youth throughout the Ohio Valley.
The Youth Advisory Board consists of 15 high school girls, from various schools, that focus on hands-on leadership training throughout the year. They hold monthly board meetings, they participate in public speaking events, hold team building exercises, and participate in various local events and fundraisers. The Youth Advisory Board’s major accomplishments include:
Attending the United Nations Leadership Summit and lobbying on Capitol Hill for girls’ education rights with senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin.
Competing, and winning, for Show of Hands Community Award.
Planning and holding fundraisers such as the Princess Tea, Summer FEST, and Purse Bingo.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities to educate and encourage young girls and women to explore STEAM fields and careers with hands-on activities. – Girls Who Code, Google Coding Party, Blow Some STEAM Off hands on activities.
Additionally, the girls took part in the Leadership Challenge. The Leadership Challenge is a yearly retreat style immersion in the program focus areas that is open to 50 high school students throughout the Ohio Valley. Youth spend four days working on communication and leadership skills, STEM activities, healthy life choices, goal setting and using teambuilding to explore the issues that effect youth in our area.
- Teen Homelessness
- Pink Tax
- Human Trafficking
- Mental Health
- Self Harm