Challenge

Girls Effect is our new initiative to meet the severe lack of culturally responsive programs for Asian girls amongst the Greater Worcester community, ages 11-21.

The Southeast Asian Coalition currently offers a Youth Effect program inclusive of all genders. The program has grown to be one of the most impactful programs for at-risk Asian youth throughout Greater Worcester, however, SEACMA saw the need for a girls specific program to focus on their unique obstacles. From Mental Health America, “ The National Asian Women’s Health Organization (NAWHO) sponsored a study, Breaking the Silence: A Study of Depression Among Asian American Women:

  • Conflicting cultural values are impacting Asian-American women's sense of control over their life decisions

  • Feeling responsible, yet unable to meet biased and unrealistic standards set by families and society, contributes to low self-esteem among Asian-American women

  • Asian-American women witness depression in their families, but have learned from their Asian cultures to maintain silence on the subject

  • Asian-American women fear stigma for themselves, but more so for their families

PROGRAm

Academic tutoring and college preparation courses are offered to support girls excel in school and encourage the pursuit of higher education. Our trained youth advisors also utilize the One Circle evidence-based curriculum to address mental health and social challenges. Our weekly focus groups, one-on-one mentoring and community engagement activities provide a healthy outlet for girls to develop as leaders and embrace their cultural traditions. The One Circle curriculum focuses on addressing risky behaviors and building self-protective factors. Topics covered range from body image, family and friend relationships, safe dating, embracing individuality, financial literacy, and more. We hope our programs will help girls take pride in their unique cultural heritage, while giving them self-confidence, a strong heart, daring mind and kind soul to overcome stigma and other barriers they face. We hope they become inspired to advocate and lead with acceptance and love.

We are always accepting and encouraging new members to enroll in Girls Effect. For further details, please contact our program advisor, Lina Nguyen: LinaNguyen@seacma.org