Engagement, education, connection & positive life choices for young women & girls
Strive is a ‘girl space’ project supporting young women and girls aged 12 to 16 years. Participants enter the program in Year 6 and are consistently supported as they transition into Year 7 and onto Year 10. Its success is driven by the following components:
- Identification of participants through local schools, police youth liaison and existing programs at Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections;
- Engaging participants in consistent, preventative, early intervention programs that support key transition points from primary to high school, to pathways to further education and employment;
- Providing knowledge, social and life-skills to make better life choices about their bodies, health,safety and well-being;
- Providing foundational knowledge, skills in literacy, numeracy, and financial literacy;
- Removing barriers preventing access to help and support from police and local services
- Encouraging parents, family and community to become more confident in supporting their girls and young women; and
- Providing opportunities for leadership and mentoring.
Strive is being delivered through a number of integrated projects through Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections including the Shazaam Workshop for girls in Year 6; Girl Space for participants in Years 6 to 10; Links to Learning for 50 participants in Years 9 and above; and School to Work and Further Education which provides skills development and targeted work placement opportunities.
Two part-time Strive workers are now in place to accommodate different age groups. Anecdotal evidence is emerging that the Year 6 program is helping participants’ transition to Year 7 with more confidence and less fear. There is clear evidence emerging that the program helps prevent school suspension and involvement in crime. An emphasis on anger management, conflict resolution and mediation in the program is helping participants gain a longer-term perspective on the consequences of their actions.
“I like Strive because we can come to a safe environment to have conversations and I like that we have things like self-defence classes.”
“I like that Strive is all girls. It makes me feel comfortable.”
There is a strong partnership with Warwick Farm Primary School however the partnership with Liverpool Girls High School needs developing in order to gather data on attendance and engagement.
Based on the learning to date, Girl Space needs to be split into three sessions per week (Year 6, Year 7 and Years 8-10) to run effectively. Currently there are only two sessions per week. This will require additional funding for wages.
Additional funding is also required for the 2nd half of 2014 to document the Strive model and includes time for internal resources, studying best practice programs and a qualified resource to document and develop the model.
Since 2011, Sydney Community Foundation through its Sydney Women’s Fund (SWF) and Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC) have been working together to break the cycle of disadvantage, unemployment and lack of opportunity in Warwick Farm in South Western Sydney’s. Together they are pioneering a place-based philanthropic model that acknowledges the need for the private, public and non-profit sectors to join forces with the community to effect lasting change.
Girls and young women in low socio-economic communities like Miller face challenges like family poverty, intergenerational welfare dependency and limited local work opportunities. Strive works
with girls and young women in the community who are at risk of dropping out of school early, limiting their future opportunities. By providing consistent, wrap around support in both education and self- esteem development, young women and girls will be able to stay on the ‘education continuum’ and be empowered to make informed and positive life choices and access real opportunities for a better future.
Strive measures outcomes in three main areas: school retention, positive engagement in the community and eventually employment and further study rates. We are seeing positive early signs that the girls are on track to stay engaged in education and have raised aspirations for their future.