Heading to Sacramento to Lobby for “Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women” April 20-21
I’m excited to be heading to California’s state capitol with NCJW/LA’s team for NCJW-CA Lobby Day 2015! The focus of our visit will be several bills concerning equal economic opportunity for women. A broad coalition of women’s groups and other progressive organizations, led by the Women’s Foundation and Equal Rights Advocates, is putting forward an historic package of bills. This effort – Stronger California: Securing Economic Opportunity for All Women – is being launched in concert with the Women’s Legislative Caucus. NCJW-CA is an active member of the coalition and on its Steering Committee. The package of over twenty bills being put forward by A Stronger California includes the bills we will be lobbying for.
Learn more about this outstanding effort HERE.
A Special Trip to USC’s Keck School of Medicine
What high school experiences inspired you most? Besides my work as a literary curator and organizer, I’ve taught Creative and Academic Writing to middle and high school students once a week for several years. This year, I’ve had the incredibly rewarding experience of also teaching a high school Sex Ed course. My Writing students enhance their course with trips to public readings. My Sex Ed students expressed the desire for their own field trip–a glimpse of life at a medical school. We are incredibly fortunate to be working with a Keck School of Medicine, USC student and the school’s gracious administration to take my students on a behind the scenes, interactive tour of the school this month. My students are hard at work researching the school and preparing questions in advance–over Spring Break! Our hosts are designing a superb program for the students–we hope that this will be one of those high school experiences that truly inspire!
Seeking Funds to Run a Leadership Program for High School Girls in Malawi, Africa
This last year, I had the pleasure of sitting down with two extraordinary people, Marie Da Silva and Luc Deschamps, President and Executive Director, respectively, of Jacaranda Primary & Secondary School in Malawi, East Africa. Jacaranda serves over 400 AIDS orphans, annually, and has enjoyed incredible success. Marie was recognized as a Top 10 CNN Hero in 2008 for her work. Despite the school’s success, teenage girls continue to have the school’s highest dropout rate due to various social pressures.
Working with Marie and Luc, I developed a leadership program proposal for Jacaranda to spend several months working with their students, teachers, student guardians, community leaders, and local universities to create a pilot, sustainable leadership program that continuously builds a network for the girls’ success. The program will include workshops, activities, discussions, mentoring, and community projects. Teachers, administrators, and others will participate in developing the program as we go along.
Why is this important? Much research shows that the health of a community and its environment is linked to the status and education of the women living in the community. The health of Africa is increasingly key to the health of our planet, overall, and it is critical to engage communities in creating innovative models for human development. On a more personal level, I simply believe that girls deserve to have great opportunities and I’m excited to be able to work with a school to make this happen.
Jacaranda School is supported by the nonprofit Jacaranda Foundation based in the United States. If you are interested in reading the full leadership program proposal and possibly supporting the program, please contact me directly.