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Straight into College: YWCA Girls RAP Youth Get Inspired at Leadership Retreat

By La’Kisha Hollmon-Griffin, YWCA Girls RAP Program Coordinator
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Last month, YWCA’s Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) program collaborated with the University of Minnesota, Mankato for its annual Leadership Retreat. The Girls RAP program offers continued support to girls who complete the initial 12-weeks of programming, which includes a monthly graduate group, one-on-one and drop-in support, a one-year YWCA fitness membership and an annual Leadership Retreat.

Learning about Transitioning to College, Campus Life and Professionalism

At University of Minnesota, Mankato, more than 20 Girls RAP graduates spent the day learning about the high school to college transition, campus life, professional leadership, identity and empowerment. This full day retreat consisted of a campus tour, breakout sessions, lunch and an etiquette dinner. One highlight of the retreat was the passport scavenger hunt, where girls divided into teams to be the first to have their passport filled by the campus sites they visited such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Women’s Center and LBGTQ Student Affairs. To end the day, Ms. Juliet Mitchell from Eagles Wings L.L.C., conducted a session on professionalism while training the girls on proper dining etiquette.

Inspired to Prepare for College Early

Through the generosity of an annual donor, each girl who attends the retreat receives a backpack and school supplies to assist them in preparation for the upcoming school year. On the bus home from University of Minnesota, Mankato, one of the graduates who is currently in middle school noted, “I wasn’t currently considering college because I thought it was something I didn’t have to think about until my junior or senior year.” She went on to explain that the field trip to University of Minnesota, Mankato has encouraged her to start preparing for college and that she now understands the benefits of doing so.

Making Positive Life Choices

YWCA Minneapolis Girls RAP is an intervention program that works with 125 girls each year, ages 12 through 18, w­ho are involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. Program participants resolve their offense and stay out of the criminal justice system permanently by building skills and motivation for positive life choices.

Learn more about YWCA Girls RAP

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