The Women, Girls, and Global Justice program here at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center confronts problems and challenges that are common to women and girls around the world. The interns in this program combine their academic community-based course, Front Lines of Social Change with research and service in the Charlottesville area and beyond to advance gender justice.

Conscious social change, where leadership, mindfulness, and social entrepreneurship coincide, is at the core of Global Grassroots. This non-profit seeks to catalyze women and girls as leaders in their communities. Established in 2004 by UVA alum, Gretchen Wallace, Global Grassroots believes that, “a woman who has the capability, resources, power, and courage to initiate positive change for herself and others is one of the most effective means of achieving this change.” The organization offers the Academy for Conscious Change, the Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change, and an eAcademy, offering an online version of and resources from the Academy.

Our WGGJ team is no stranger to the work of Global Grassroots. A combination of exposure to Conscious Social Change in the fall course, Front Lines of Social Change, and one intern’s direct experience working with Gretchen Wallace, led the group to make a connection with the organization.

Jaronda explained, “I used a number of Gretchen’s teaching resources (videos, handouts, charts) to teach the section [Conscious Social Change] that is clearly her area of expertise. Erin East, one of my most senior interns had as well previously taken a j-term course with Gretchen Wallace, but either way, with those two things in mind and after 2 hours of idea sharing, we decided to make a connection with Global Grassroots.”

Our WGGJ interns carried out three projects for Global Grassroots over the course of this academic year: 

Makayla Palazzo provided statistical support for Gretchen, utilizing the software program STATA to determine the statistical significance between a pre-program survey and post-program survey carried out by Global Grassroots. 

"Thank you also to Jaronda for the many ways you have supported this internship and independent endeavors. I’m so grateful for your partnership." Watch Gretchen Wallace deliver her Ted Talk on Mindful Development at TEDxUVA.
“Thank you also to Jaronda for the many ways you have supported this internship and independent endeavors. I’m so grateful for your partnership.”  Watch Gretchen Wallace deliver her Ted Talk on Mindful Development at TEDxUVA.

Researching software programs that focus on data compilation and analysis, Katie Johnson connected a nonprofit software consultant to Global Grassroots, providing further professional advice on technological implementation and staff training. Katie also provided a report on the research she compiled on effective software programs for Global Grassroots.

Erin East, Thamanna Nishath, and Rebekah Kim collaborated to determine the cost of providing clean water to districts in Rwanda and Uganda, and then compared them to the costs of Global Grassroots. They went on to calculate the social value of clean water to a village or district, culminating in an extensive research paper for Gretchen to reference.

To conclude a successful year working with Global Grassroots, Gretchen extended her sincerest thanks to our WGGJ team. “Your thorough research and detailed contributions have been of great service to our organization this year.  I hope you have found your work meaningful and enjoyable, as your efforts helping us analyze our programs, data and software choices to improve our efficiency and impact have offered critical insights for our operations and decision-making.”