“When I feel embodied I feel strong and powerful and confident and nothing can bring me down.” Sophie, 19 year old Golden Girls Global participant
Upijata, founded in 2019 by Yolanda Cordova Swalley, is dedicated to creating safe, inspiring, and empowering spaces for women, girls, and families to express themselves and heal themselves through the arts.
Upijata provides relief from historical trauma and impacts of reservation life by combating the public issues of suicide and pervasive substance abuse through arts education on the Oglala Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, USA and surrounding areas. This form of education empowers the community and gives students an emotional outlet by giving them access to therapeutic artistic expression, providing fun and enriching experiences, practical skills and healthy challenges. Upijata programming is focused on personal growth, and developing healthy community identity and pride serving everyone from young children to senior members of the reservations.
“Golden Girls Global has helped us in so many ways including access to 4 years of leadership and movement therapy training. Melissa’s support program helps Upijata’s Leaders through the emotional journey involved in chasing a dream, provides access to funding for office equipment necessary to execute a nonprofit, and access to a positive loving support system helps Upijata thrive and continue to move forward. Translating the knowledge of the skills gained from Golden Bridge and applying it to personal growth and therefore into Upijata’s growth”. ~Yolanda Swalley, Founder, Upijata Arts Company
To learn more, please visit: www.upijataartscompany.org
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
* Funding for salaried full-time employees
* Purchase a van/bus to transport youth to classes and events
* Secure professional insurance for our programs.
Founded in 2019, Nguvu Ya Africa provides a unique economic empowerment model that combines both psychosocial and creative artistic tools to equip marginalized girls and women. Engaging men as powerful partners helps fulfill Nguvu Ya Africa’s mission for a more equal, healthy, and peaceful society.
In addition to entrepreneurship and self-development training, women receive tools and grants to support their family and build their communities. Nguvu Ya Africa stays connected with these women on the ground to evaluate how they are doing with their small businesses to help build their self-esteem and confidence. Women who were successful, repaid the initial grants and sometimes applied for a second round of funding. Women who were not as successful continued to receive training and grants. These grants were made possible by funding from Golden Girls Global and the Watson Accelerator.
“The support we have received from Golden Girls Global (GGG) and Golden Bridge is the foundation of all of our successes. GGG mentoring and the community of colleagues to support our inner life and outer plans have been invaluable to us. The curriculum for teachings was generated from the SomaSource (Golden Bridge) curriculum (menstrual health, micro-grants, financial support, and day to day leadership). Our affiliation with Golden Girls Global gives us status in our country” ~ Claudine Migisha, CEO & Founder, Nguvu Ya Africa.
To learn more, please visit: www.nguvuyaafrica.org
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
We have narrowed our goals to the following three in order to focus our efforts:
Rajaveni, fondly referred to as Raji, created Golden Girls Mohanam under the guidance of Melissa Michaels, Golden Girls Global Founder and Co-Director. Raji has followed in the able footsteps of Bavanna, a now Ancestor and long time mentor, who started women’s village work after meeting Melissa in Kottakarai in 1987.
Golden Girls Mohanam is working to preserve and teach the traditional Tamil cultural arts, natural healthcare and diet. The programming serves as an antidote to the infiltration of western ways, phones, TV, drugs, early sex etc. Raji has cultivated freedom and empowerment to go work with the girls and is lifting the veils of oppressive cultural protocol. Her work has been so transformative that the girls’ mothers want to learn what their children are doing. They want to participate.
“I did not have guidance or idea about how to create this future fully. This Golden Girls Global group gave me enthusiasm and vision to continue the work. My sisters are there surrounding me, making me more strong.” ~Rajaveni, Executive Director, Mohanam Village Heritage Center
To learn more, please visit: www.mohanam.org
B & B Project believes that all girls are bright and beautiful because they carry the soul of the universe with beauty and grace. It supports new generations of Chinese young women by building self-confidence, breaking myths and stereotypes, and coping with physical and psychological changes throughout their adolescence. Since 2013, their programs have reached thousands of young women across the country.
“Many thanks to Melissa Michaels for sharing #Herstory with us on Sunday. We are proud and inspired to empower ourselves and more girls around the world like Golden Bridge does.” ~ Juliet Zheng, Founder, Bright and Beautiful
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
Founded by Johannah Reimer, Wakeful Nature is led by educators and ceremonialists trained in soul-centric human development, Rites of Passage through SomaSource, wilderness education, and most importantly deeply blessed and guided by the wisdom of their elders including Sage Hamilton and Melissa Michaels.
Wakeful Nature currently works with 30 girls between the ages of 10-17 on a weekly and monthly basis. What makes this project unique is that they offer long-term, not short-one-time or even year long programming. This allows the leaders to track and support the youth throughout their adolescence and all the changes that come with it.
“Golden Girls Global has helped connect my work to the larger body of "girls work" happening in different communities throughout the world. I have been fortunate to have mentorship and group dynamic/embodiment tools through SomaSource as well.” ~ Johanna Reimer, Director and Girls Group Leader
To learn more please visit: https://wakefulnature.com/
The biggest challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic has been finding ways to stay connected with the online/computer saturated lives of the girls.
There is more interest than ever before in the girls group facilitated by Wakeful Nature. This is a result of the high praise the facilitators have received for their incredible work with their current girls group.
GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR
Continue to support the teens and tweens in my life and work.