Young Women Leaders Program

16 03, 2017

Staff Spotlight: Sarah Jenkins

By |March 16th, 2017|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|1 Comment|

As Mentoring Coordinator for the Women’s Center Young Women Leaders Program, Sarah Jenkins has helped shaped the professional and personal lives of women in the UVA, Charlottesville, and around the world. She’s funny and stylish and quick and curious. And she owes it all (not really ALL) to the impact of – which musical artist? To find out, read more about our wonderful Sarah Jenkins:

Tell us about your path to UVA, to where you are now and the work you’re currently doing for the Women’s Center.
I was born and raised in Florida, and from a relatively young age I was interested in feminism and women’s issues. I went to UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad where I majored in Women’s and Gender Studies. I graduated in 2008, at the beginning of the recession, so meaningful work was scarce. I worked some odd jobs for a few years but finally decided I wanted to go back to school. I got my masters in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Almost immediately after that I was offered the position of Program Coordinator at the Ohio University Women’s Center, where I worked for three years before joining UVA’s WC last May as the YWLP Mentoring Coordinator.

Whose work (musical, artistic, professional, or personal) inspires you to work harder or think differently?
OK, many authors, including Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Gloria Steinem, bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, and Henry Giroux. During this time of uncertainty, many comedians are helping me feeling grounded. The Daily Show, Steven Colbert, and Samantha Bee make me laugh and keep me from hiding in a pillow fort all day.

21 02, 2017

Student Spotlight: Nicole Baker

By |February 21st, 2017|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big, Nicole Baker!

Year: First Year
Major: I plan to major in Communications Disorders
Hometown: Woodstock, Va

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I am involved in the YWLP program at UVA where I am a Big sister to a middle school girl. This program is important to me because it helps to begin empowering young girls, teaching them leadership skills, respect, and self development at a crucial point in adolescent development. I love helping and watching the girls grow in their confidence!

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I chose UVA because it has a welcoming and diverse community, endless opportunities to get involved in clubs and service, strong academic programs, and absolutely beautiful grounds. I loved the history and tradition behind the school, and saw myself building a new community of my own in Charlottesville by filling my life with all the amazing opportunities available to me.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
UVA is such an accepting place that seems to care about every member of its community. I was greatly surprised at how quickly I was able to adjust to such a large University in such a short amount of time. I knew very quickly after arriving that I would find a home at UVA due to the amazing people I have met here thus far.

7 02, 2017

Student Spotlight: Golda Houndoh

By |February 7th, 2017|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Golda Houndoh!

Name: Golda Houndoh
Major: Hopefully Global Development Studies and Anthropology
Hometown: Born in Togo, West Africa but Hometown is Leesburg, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I’m passionate about the YWLP program at the Women’s Center because my Little Sister has already showed me so much in the most subtle ways and I feel so lucky to have her and YWLP in my life.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I felt like I was at home the second I stepped on grounds– the people, the programs, etc. It was actually my tour guide who sealed the deal, he was walking around and saying hi to all his friends and they were all so diverse and cool and (seemed) accomplished and I kind of decided that I wanted to be like them.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
The thing thats surprised me the most at this wonderful university is the diversity within the people. I know you kind of expect to meet a lot of new people that you’re not quite used to at college but the passion that i’ve seen in people for such a broad range of things has been amazing and rewarding and inspiring.

30 01, 2017

Student Spotlight: Catherine Toro

By |January 30th, 2017|Blog, Interns, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP intern, Catherine Toro!

Year: 3rd
Major: Psychology and African American Studies, (AAS undeclared)
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I didn’t really know what mentorship meant until I came to college. My first year here I went out of my way to become friends with people who inspired me, but also people I could relate to and go to for advice. In myself, I quickly saw how having role models so close to you, mentors that could relate to what I knew and where I came from, empowered me inside and outside the classroom. The Young Women Leadership Program (YWLP) does exactly that, matching young girls with UVA women so as to affirm their own ability and value, to empower.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
Honestly, I chose UVa because I thought it was a great school academically and at the time I thought I wanted to be a doctor (lol). Although I am no longer pre-med, I have grown a lot at this university and have learned to appreciate the space that I occupy here.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
When I first came here, part of me was afraid of the Southern culture, something I hadn’t really encountered before. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to speak Spanish or find people of color in my classes. I know that might seem extreme but I was coming from a very diverse area in Baltimore and I had no idea what to expect from Charlottesville. So, what surprised me is how quickly I was able to find a community that I identified with at UVA. As soon as I got here I was welcomed into the IRC and joined LSA and met such a diverse group of people that I had never anticipated would exist at UVA. And these communities made me feel like I could genuinely call this place home.

4. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I drink a lot of coffee, especially in the evenings. My parents are both from places where coffee is just a big part of the culture. My mom is from Ethiopia and when we went to visit family, I was part of a coffee ceremony for the first time. My aunt burned some incense and we watched as she carefully prepared the coffee and poured us some in these really small cups. Hands down, the best coffee I’ve ever had. And with my dad’s family in Puerto Rico, we drink coffee with every meal. Especially after dinner. I don’t really know why, but it just what we do. My friends think it’s weird that I drink coffee at night, even if I don’t have to stay up late. I just really like coffee and it reminds me of my family.

27 01, 2017

Apply now! Join one of our mentoring teams in 2017-18

By |January 27th, 2017|Blog, Men's Leadership Project, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Through our Young Women Leaders Program and Men’s Leadership Project, we give students the chance to give back to the community they call home during their years at UVA. These community-based mentoring programs pair undergraduate men and women with middle schoolers from the Charlottesville area. Pairing course work with group meetings, as well as one-on-one activities with their littles, our Big Brothers and Big Sisters grow as leaders while helping their littles realize their own leadership potential.

20 07, 2016

Student Spotlight: Emory Yearwood

By |July 20th, 2016|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Emory Yearwood!

Year: 3rd
Major: English
Hometown: Christiansburg, Virginia

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
Since I grew up about ten minutes away from Virginia Tech’s campus, there are a ton of similarities between my hometown and Charlottesville, making the transition both new and familiar. However, the thing I miss most about home is being greeted by my two golden retrievers whenever I walk in the door!

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
YWLP has been a defining part of my experience at UVA, as it has provided an opportunity to engage with compelling individuals within the university, local community, and abroad. Outside time with the Littles and Leadership Days as a group are great ways to explore Charlottesville and check off activities that everyone should do before graduating (going to the Farmer’s Market, ice skating downtown, attending sporting events, picking apples at Carter’s Mountain, hiking Humpback, etc.). I am extremely passionate and have genuine faith in the power and potential of YWLP, and believing that it offers something for girls across the globe, I worked on a Jefferson Public Citizens grant project for the past year with three other individuals, which involved adapting YWLP to meet the needs of Ugandan culture and traveling to Uganda to assist in developing a “sister site” at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

16 06, 2016

Student Spotlight: Kadeidra Watson

By |June 16th, 2016|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Kadeidra (Kadee) Watson!

Year: 3rd
Major: Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Hometown: Nottoway, Virginia

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I miss my family the most, especially my mom.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I am passionate about YWLP because I love working with adolescent girls and I love being a mentor. It makes me so happy to know that I am helping to make a young girls life better just by spending time with her.

What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
UVA was my dream school. I came to grounds for the first time when I was in the eight grade and I feel in love with grounds and that’s when I made the decision to come here.

2 06, 2016

Student Spotlight: Katie Wilson

By |June 2nd, 2016|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Katie Wilson!

Year: 4th
Major: Global Development Studies and Economics (International Concentration)
Hometown: Palmyra, VA

What do you miss most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
Palmyra is a very rural area right outside of Charlottesville! There are lots of open fields and there is a small gated retirement community with a lake! When I am at UVA I miss the calm of Palmyra; I especially miss kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake.

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I am a facilitator for the Young Women Leaders Program. I enjoy having face-time with every person involved in YWLP. However, my favorite part about this experience has been getting to watch the Big Sisters develop their “leadership” skills. They are learning how to attune to the erratic behavior of adolescent girls (no easy feat) and practicing empathy and validation towards their Little’s seemingly immature feelings. I enjoy the active role I am able to play in their frustrations and successes with their Littles.

What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
UVA has it all; I initially believed I was going to be an engineer (Ha!). So, I applied to predominately engineering schools–when I had to make my decision I had a change of heart, and UVA was the only Arts and Sciences application I submitted. Alas, here I am! And I couldn’t be happier.

12 05, 2016

Student Spotlight: Erin Alleva

By |May 12th, 2016|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Erin Alleva!

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
I think the thing that I miss the most are the mountains. I’m from the Pacific Northwest and we have The Cascades, The Olympics, and other amazing mountains that are unlike anything in Virginia.

Why are you passionate about the Women’s Center?
The Women’s Center is a really great place for women to be empowered and I have personally enjoyed the caring attitude of the staff whenever I have walked into the building. I remember the first time I came there was for an interview that I was kind of nervous for. The great attitude of the staff calmed me down and made me feel at home and that was a really valuable experience for me.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
According to my old coach I run really weirdly, he called me out on it all the time and my assistant coach actually asked him on her first day what was wrong with me because I was running so strangely.

6 04, 2016

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Cameroon

By |April 6th, 2016|Blog, Young Women Leaders Program|0 Comments|

Written by Audrey Ogendi, 2016 YWLP Global Intern 

Most people in Charlottesville got up from their beds on March 8, 2016, as if it was a typical Tuesday. Some went to their jobs, others to classes, and still others to visit friends. But on that same Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the women of Cameroon didn’t get up and go to work, or school, or to visit their friends. Instead the women of Cameroon came together in different cities and regions and MARCHED.

It wasn’t just any ordinary Tuesday for me either. I got up and put on my symbolic traditional Cameroon attire that had “ March 8, 2016 International Women’s Day” embroidered on it. The sequins on the dress were so meticulous and exquisite. I promised I would show all my friends at UVA.

As I stood there and watched the women march in their traditional outfits, I was astonished and mesmerized. Not only were there women, but also the men came to support. Women from the business sector, health sector, and even the church sector came together on that day. There were over three hundred women in Kumbo, Cameroon who decided to march. But this was not the only city where women were marching. Throughout the whole of Cameroon, marches were happening.

The faces of the women as they marched revealed such pride and confidence in each other. I had never seen such pleasure to be considered “women.” These women celebrated and marched, showing that women can do anything they desire. The event started out with women