Wonderfully Made is a Black-led grassroots organization, led by youth that aims to cultivate emotional, mental and career wellbeing for Black girls and women. Wonderfully Made is designed to support girls and women build their self-esteem, cultural and self-identity, and guide them through their careers, professional and personal lives. The leaders seek to reinforce the importance of representation and supporting girls and women to see themselves reflected through the program.
Wonderfully Made Girl creator, Adrianna Perryman found the inspiration for this program through her work with the Kisaruni girls in Kenya. Their residential program established an unique mentorship program with the senior high school girls, “mamas’ would mentor and nurture younger junior girls entering the system. Similarly, Wonderfully Made recruits women ages 16 and up to conduct workshops and programming for younger girls from 12 to 16. The program ends each year with a girls led conference and overnight retreat.
Faith Buchanan, Justine Allen, and Tracy Amponsah are Board Members of Wonderfully Made. Through their expertise as artists, social workers, educators and psychotherapists, the organization became to be. Justine Allen believed that this program would support the health and wellbeing of Black girls. She writes, “for myself, growing up in spaces that lacked healthy representation deeply impacted my self-esteem and self-worth. There is so much power in feeling seen, understood, and supported in a safe space. Having the opportunity to be part of this program as a mentee would have been so meaningful to me as a young girl through early adulthood”. Creative Director and future educator, Faith Buchanan described art as a safe space for girls, and expressed I am incredibly passionate about mentoring black youth and being the role model, I wish I had as a young artist”. Tracy Amponsah is a seasoned case manager in her career and shares her hope for Wonderfully Made and the youth and families who would benefit. She exclaims, “This project is something I wish I had more of growing up as a young black womxn, who is first generation”.
Wonderfully Made Pilot
Wonderfully Made is a piloted program funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and supported by the Durham AIDS Committee. The DAC focuses on supporting youth and adults impacted by AIDS, and fits nicely with the vision and mission statement for Wonderfully Made.
Ontario Trillium Foundation- Youth Innovations Fund
The OTF provided a three-year test grant to the youth-led and driven program. Through the grant, the organizers are provided funding that helps the organization to realize its goals. The funding includes staffing, workshops and webinars, advertisement, an annual retreat, and yearly youth conference.
Pillars of Change
Wonderfully Made has four pillars that guide the work within the team. and in the program. The pillars guide how youth are supported throughout the program, and how our mentors and elders guide the mentees.
Help to guide the passion underlying Wonderfully Made, and the vision developed by the founders and the community.
Launch Agenda and Activities
Wonderfully Made founders will host and guide the agenda and activities for the launch party. The founders will invite people to participate in the group or remain in listen-only mode. The launch party features poll questions, prizes and knowledge questions.
Our team will explore our vision, mission, and pillars. We will discuss our programming and upcoming workshops. and our annual retreat designed for youth.
Wonderfully Made strives to develop and foster a respectful, collaborative, and inclusive environment for each other, our service users, and the community. Through this environment, we promote innovation and initiative and encourage our team to grow and expand within this environment. As a team we practice an inclusive and anti-oppressive practice that dismantles and addresses discrimination, harassment, victimization, and other forms of violence against each other, our service users, and the community. We acknowledge that we strive for perfection and, on that journey, we actively engage in self-reflective practice and improve our interpersonal skills.
We Desire to Inspire Change and Opportunity for Mentors and Mentees
The program aims to help address the barriers young Black girls encounter and offset the potential outcomes associated with them. To this end, the program has seven goals:
providing mentors and mentees with the opportunity to give back to their own community,
supporting and encouraging young Black girls to achieve their goals,
helping young Black girls to acquire leadership skills, such as coaching, social skills, decision making, and emotional intelligence,
connecting girls with professionals to increase their employability skills,
improving their mental health and their overall well being,
guiding girls towards greater health and wellness, and
being a positive role model and representing hope and change.
Benefits our mentors and mentees experience
The program aims to provide six core benefits: hope, inclusion, resiliency, acceptance, courage, and unconditional love. We believe each of these can help to the issues associated with many of the social barriers that young Black girls often encounter.
Many young Black girls do not see themselves reflected in the world around them and may feel as though there are no opportunities for them. Thus, they may be reluctant to set high goals for themselves and instead settle for less fulfilling opportunities. the purpose of the mentor mentee program, then is to ensure that they are exposed to Black women who have excelled in various fields and can serve as a role model for them. this well ideally provide them with hope so that they set goals for themselves that will be fulfilling and rewarding.
Inclusion and Acceptance
In addition to the lack of role models that young Black women often see in broader social contexts, there is also concern with inclusion. many young Black women feel excluded from the world around them. Thus, the purpose of the mentor mentee program is to ensure that these young women no that there is a place for them and that their needs and desires are important.
Resiliency and Courage
Because young Black women will often encounter a variety of barriers and challenges in familial, social, academic, and professional contexts, it is critical that they develop their resiliency to take on these challenges and thrive rather than allow themselves to be discouraged by the barriers. To this end, the mentor mentee program seeks to build their resiliency.
Culturally based Knowledge
Our culture based knowledge workshops will help mentors to facilitate in an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, understanding, and created on principles for living. The workshops will also explore cultural strengths, beliefs and practices using anti-oppress approaches that will guide young women to define their identities. Since our histories are richer than an experience of oppression. In the workshops, we will learn, explore, and understand our history together that was developed by our ancestors. We will employ and encourage knowledge to enhance wisdom based on our own truths, we will learn to develop our own identities to empower ourselves for becoming strong future leaders. Wonderfully Made seeks to address the lack of culturally appropriate services and programs that understand Black women and girls’ needs and are designed specifically to meet their needs. Our program aim seeks to build connections and foster healthy relationships with the mentor and mentee program that will assess the identified target issues with a pre and post surveys.
Our workshops will explore history outside of what is taught in schools, and highlight excellence with African, Caribbean, Indigenous, and Asian cultures. These workshops will examine and encourage critical thinking and analysis in understanding principles and beliefs incorporated in culture, and how society was developed. Some of these workshops will examine early beliefs and practices within culture, knowledge, and healing practices. Our elders share their stories, and histories with participants, and guide them to a greater understanding of the trials and successes of their ancestors.
The Wonderfully Made program seeks to support young Afrocentric and Indigenous girls and women who need to enhance their cultural knowledge and connections to their elders, as well as leadership and life skills based. While our programs are culturally based, we are open to and encourage youth from all backgrounds to attend our group as their inclusion in culturally-based programs can provide them with the essential skills needed to work with others from diverse backgrounds as well as enhance their employability skills. Likewise, through our workshops, young girls can learn and enhance their skills by developing and discovering their identity, enhancing their emotional intelligence skills, supporting their healing from past trauma and difficult experiences, and establishing goals and leading by example.
Workshops are led initially by a subject matter expert and focus on teaching mentors how to develop key relationships, and support youth to grow and develop.
Our Key Learning Objectives
Successful mentor-mentee relationships are through positive changes and through mutual trust.
Mentors and mentees grow and develop while working together and participating in workshops.
The mentors are able to develop their own leadership styles that is unique with them.
Workshops will train youth how to manage challenges that may occur while mentoring.
Mentors build their capacity to develop include facilitation in delivering workshops
Mentors learn skills to communicate with diverse people, including stakeholders and partners
Mentors will learn how to encourage girls how to speak their truth, communicate their ideas, and generate discussions.
Mentors facilitate workshops in schools, community centres and special venues that reinforce:
Girls are princesses and treated as emerging queens
Girls have opportunity to connect with each other
Girls are encouraged to engage in cultural and artistic expression
Girls can define their own identity
Girls can choose their own gender identity and role
Values we promote is a holistic environment promoting wellness, safety, and inclusion
Wonderfully Made program seeks to empower and motivate young women to develop the interpersonal skills. Sessions will be offered every two weeks over five months for a total of ten workshops. The mission of this program corresponds to the agency’s mission of developing and fostering a respectful, collaborative and inclusive environment for each other, and the community. Likewise, practising an inclusive and anti-oppressive practice which dismantles and addresses discrimination, harassment, victimization, and other forms of violence against each other, service users, and the community.
Some staff are volunteers and others are program coordinators, and each has been working in the field for different lengths of time, some staff have different and/or more experience than others. This program will specifically have one program outreach and four interns from the masters and bachelors of social work programs or diploma programs. This will help provide input and perspective. The youth outreach must be experienced and have been at the agency for more than two years to be able to facilitate the workshops. Program staff need to follow proper code of ethics of confidentiality and respect the inherent rights and dignity of all persons (CASW Code of Ethics, 2020). Those with a social work background are aware of this; however, other staff will need to undergo training of the code in order to help with the program. All program staff and “professionals should be culturally competent when operating in social service settings” (Nadan, 2017, p. 76). This means that facilitators should have the knowledge of oppressive systems and power structures that marginalize young Black girls. Facilitators should also adopt strength based and anti-oppressive frameworks that are filtered through a feminist lens.
Wonderfully Made develops culturally-informed, holistic programs that inspires girls to achieve their best outcomes with guidance from girls who look like and represent them.
During session days, staff will divide their time up between three tasks: face-to-face contact, which will comprise approximately 75% of their time; supervision and consultation, which will comprise approximately 25%; and advocacy, which will comprise approximately 5% of their time. This overall use of workers’ time places more emphasis on providing direct support to participants. However, on non-session days, the workers’ time will be divided differently: 35% will be dedicate to report writing, 20% to telephone contact, 20% to consultations, 15% to advocacy, and 10% to face-to-face contact. This prioritizes back end work to help the participants to succeed while still maintaining contact with participants to further their outcomes.
Program Interventions and Activities
The program activities include workshops a variety of subjects, including eating well and staying healthy, self-care, mindfulness, and resilience. The workshops will cover the topics that directly affect Black girls’ mental health, such as isolation, social justice, and the ability to cope with stigma and intimate partner violence (IPV).
To enhance the professional identity, résumé and cover letter training will be offered for mentors. The training workshops session will focus on employment to identify challenges that young Black women encounter when applying for jobs. Résumé and cover letter workshops can help women write their own effective résumés and cover letters. The workshops will be held once every two weeks, and there will be one-on-one counselling sessions provided if participants need additional information.
Participants can attend as many workshops as they wish, and participate in the rites of passage program. We understand that mentors lives may change, and thus once they enter the program they continue to remain involved as much as they wish. Mentors are encouraged to remain in the program for a minimum of one year. Mentees can remain involved from 12 years old, until they wish to become mentors at 16 years old.
Satisfaction of the Program and the Stakeholders
Once the participants have completed the program, they will be given a program evaluation survey. The survey will provide a general questionnaire about the program and the service delivery. By conducting the survey, the family ourteach will be able to implement changes to the program according to the recommendation mentioned by the participants for the next cohort. Through the success of the cohort within the program, the stakeholder satisfaction will increase. For example, implementing these changes will improve the quality of the program and will allow program to reach its mission goals and program objective. The participants will also be given a survey after completing their placement. This will give the outreach staff a chance to evaluate the placement, the readiness of the participants, and whether or not the workshops met their learning needs. These measures of satisfaction will help program coordinators evaluate the effectiveness of the placement in conjunction with the material covered within the workshops. By making the necessary changes and adapting to the needs of the cohort, the program can be more efficient and effective. In addition, the social workers will also provide the participants with support during and after the completing of the program, though the support will vary depending on the participant’s needs.
Data Collection Methods
Quantitative data can indicate how many participants completed the program and how many were able to get a job at a livable wage. Quantitative information is often expressed in terms of percentages, ratios or prices, and quantitative methods of data collection provide assessment for results, rating scale surveys, and methods of observation that count how many times something has occurred (Smart, 2020). The data collection will include a rating scale survey to determine how many participants reported getting benefited. Qualitative data will also be implemented as it can collect feedback from participants regarding the program and what they found helpful or challenging.
Cultural Appropriateness and Ethical Considerations
Since we are focusing on young Black, Indigenous and racialized women, it is important to ensure that evaluation methods are relevant and appropriate. For example, the assessment tools used, or questionnaires could be first implemented as pilot methods with participants to improve them according to the participants’ suggestions. Since our participants might be from different racial backgrounds, it is important to have participants’ perspective on assessments and ensure we use tools that are appropriate (Smart, 2020). The principles for ethical conduct of the Canadian assessment society indicate that evaluators should be culturally and socially sensitive to the stakeholders in an appropriate manner to this environment (Canadian Evaluation Society, 2014). Ethical considerations are essential when working on data collection and involving stakeholders as part of the evaluation process (Anderson Draper, 2006). For example, when working with other community organizations, it is important to keep participants’ personal information confidential. This program aims to minimize any ethical issues, and, because participation is entirely voluntary, participants will be able to discontinue participating with no consequences at any time. Moreover, the questions asked in questionnaires or surveys are not intended to be sensitive where it may trigger emotions.
The Story of Wonderfully Made
Why we do what we do, who we service, and why young people are powerful agents of change?
We developed Wonderfully Made due to the lack of appropriate services for Black and racialized girls, and to address the barriers they experience their daily lives. Black girls and young women feel disconnected from others. In the media, they are bombarded with images that either do not reflect or represent them or their identity or that misrepresent them and promote harmful stereotypes. In schools, Black girls often do not have positive connections and do not see themselves reflected in the teaching who are supposed to support them. Moreover, they are not represented thoroughly in the curriculum and are therefore at risk for poorer outcomes, including low self-esteem, disengagement from community, and mental health challenges. Furthermore Black girls and women experience barriers to their education and employment goals due to systemic racism, poverty, lack of support, and exposure to high risk communities.
People of colour experience a disproportionate rate of stress-related health conditions due to various reasons compared to privileged population. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be effective for managing stress and various stress-related health conditions.
The importance of being still
The workshop will focus on mindfulness which refers to live more consciously and to deal with stressful thoughts, emotions, and it is a form of meditation. This workshop will emphasis on improving concentration and performance, being able to relax, reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. The facilitator will include activities that will connect the participants to familiarizing with the spiritual ideology and cultural practices in order to enhance cultural relevance. Likewise, to demonstrate that mindfulness meditation can be a beneficial therapeutic intervention, the facilitator will employ the benefits of mindfulness. For example, learning how to handle and get rid of stress, become more focused and happier, enjoy more, work more effectively and sleep better.
There will be exercises for the group members to enhance their awareness about physical and mental sensation and being able to present in the moment. For example, the facilitator and group will practice a simple breathing exercise that involves a four-count inhale, hold it for a count of two, and then a four-count exhale. Later, they will discuss how the exercise worked when they were feeling overwhelmed or their mind was racing. Allowing themselves to pause, take deep breaths, and notice their thoughts again and without judgment.Breathing and just noticing their thoughts will not only reduce their feeling of anxiety but it will bring them to the present moment where they will feel more peaceful, clear and energetic for making their future decisions.
Ready to start? Practice with the Creators for Change: A guided Meditation for Stressed Out Girls
This course is geared to support mentors access tools needed to develop themselves both professionally and interpersonally. The course covers developing achievable goals, healthy communication, managing conflict and emotional regulation. The course consists of short videos, self-reflection and articles. The course should take 1 hour to complete and is a prerequisite course for the mentorship […]
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Every organization has a story that explains our reasons for being here, in this place, at this time. Our story began with an idea, generated five years ago, and nurtured by experiences, elders, and key opportunities. To learn more about our story visit: We developed Wonderfully Made and Girls who Lead due to the lack […]
Every organization has a story that explains our reasons for being here, in this place, at this time. Our story began with an idea, generated five years ago, and nurtured by experiences, elders, and key opportunities. To learn more about our story visit:
The Story of Wonderfully Made
Why we do what we do, who we service, and why young people are powerful agents of change.
We developed Wonderfully Made and Girls who Lead due to the lack of appropriate services for Black girls, and to address the barriers they experience their daily lives. Black girls and young women feel disconnected from others. In the media, they are bombarded with images that do not represent them or their identity. In schools, Black girls often do not have positive connections, are not exposed to teachers who look like them. They are not represented thoroughly in the curriculum, therefore they are at risk for poorer outcomes (low self-esteem, disengagement from community, mental health challenges). Furthermore Black girls and women have difficulties with achieving their education and employment goals due to systemic racism, poverty, lack of support, exposure to high risk communities and home life.
Other Ontario statistics report that Black girls are disproportionately represented in child welfare. During their experience in child welfare, black girls and women are disconnected from their culture, their families, their faith-based beliefs and spirituality, and their traditions. They are less likely than other youth to return to their home communities. Many Black girls and women reside in homes where there is limited support in their families due to their parents’ need to provide for the family, disconnection between youth and their parents, and lack of parents’ understanding of issues that impact their lives. Statistics also show that Black youth experience higher rates of disproportionate numbers in the criminal justice system. These statistics do not indicate that Black people are more violent, it means they are over-policed, are diverted away from diversion programs, and are falsely accused of crimes. It means that their communities lack the meaningful representation of mentors, programs, and interventions designed to create greater opportunities of success. Further, our Black girls are not given the equal opportunity to be successful in school, or are encouraged to pursue careers in STEM programs, skilled trades or university and graduate programs.
Wonderfully Made seeks to address the lack of culturally appropriate services and programs that understand Black women and girls’ needs and are designed specifically to meet their needs. Our program aim seeks to build connections and foster healthy relationships with the mentor and mentee program that will assess the identified target issues with a pre and post surveys.
In the United States, research with Black and Latino students demonstrate that mentorship programs significantly improve young people’s engagement in services. Further, research shows that group programs help build youth’s connections in their community, and representation in groups improve success.
Course Objectives: the purpose of this course is to discuss and unpack the impact on systemic oppression upon Black and Indigenous peoples. During the course, participants will understand and appreciate the differences between people and learn to facilitate diversity. To facilitate discussion on the impacts of racism, the historical and ongoing effects of colonization on this land and the linkages existing between different forms of racism. This program aims to shift the focus to the resiliency and strengths of those who face racism and how we can all build-all-ship. It is also very important for girls to be mentored by those who are as diverse as they are; to be able to see themselves in a position of power.
Goal: to understand the impact of systemic racism, to learn how to appreciate diversity and equity, and to understand the unique role of mentors in supporting girls.