The Young Women Leaders Program is a mentoring program sponsored by the UCF Women’s Studies Program and was launched in the Seminole County community in 2007 by Tresta DeLater, Amanda Irvin, Meredith Tweed, and Dr. Lisa Logan. The UCF Chapter is a satellite program to the University of Virginia, where YWLP was first founded in 1997 by Edith Lawrence and Kimberly Roberts.
The Young Women Leaders Program is an after-school, curriculum-based mentoring program that assigns one 7th grade girl to one UCFundergraduate or graduate woman student. UCF mentors meet for sessions with their 7th grade mentees eight times per semester. These meetings last 90 minutes and use equal parts group discussion, group activity, pair discussion and pair activity.
The Young Women Leaders Program is founded upon the ideals of collaborative leadership, wherein all college-level participants are invited to offer constructive criticism and suggestions to accommodate evolving curriculum, policies and protocols, and learning techniques.
Mentoring sessions run in the Fall and the Spring at Lawton Chiles Middle School, South Seminole Middle School, and Tuskawilla Middle School.
Our program is made up of multiple school groups, one at each of the participating middle schools. School groups are comprised of two Facilitators, and one Big Sister mentor per Little Sister participant.
The Young Women Leaders Program strives to foster competence, autonomy, and connection with others as core strengths of all young women leaders and asserts that all girls are influential leaders with innate leadership abilities. Our program builds on themes of problem-solving, teamwork and cooperation, cultural identity and ethnic pride, advocacy for positive change, identification of unconventional leadership roles, development of goals for the future, and body appreciation to develop girls’ leadership abilities both organically with others and in the world online.
In examining the social and cultural expectations for girls, investigating existing themes of girlhood and leadership, and engaging girls to empower themselves, YWLP seeks to revolutionize how society constructs girls, girlhood, and girls’ leadership by inviting girls to create spaces where they can share their real-life experiences, build themselves up and learn from one another.