Rae's Hope Fitness for Life

What if all girls learned awareness, self esteem and confidence, challenging them to become more active and resilient?

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Asija Woodson, now 13 years old, has been a member of Rae’s Hope since 2011. Her family lives in a distressed and disadvantaged community with under-resourced schools and high unemployment rates. When Asija joined Rae’s Hope as a third grader, she was withdrawn, had little self-confidence and was overweight. Through Rae’s Hope, she has developed leadership skills and keeps physically fit. Currently, Asija competes on the debate team at the state level and is on a college-preparatory track.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian)
  • Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)

Website

http://www.raeshope.org

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Texas

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Dallas

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Texas

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Dallas

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The purpose of Rae’s Hope is to establish long-term relationships and build personal skills with at risk girls to develop resilience and offer an alternative to self-destructive behaviors such as gangs, drug use, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school.

The purpose of Rae's Hope is to establish long-term relationships and build personal skills with at risk girls to develop resilience and offer an alternative to self-destructive behaviors such as gangs, drug use, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Community Development and Empowerment

Year Founded

2008

Project Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Rae's Hope brings education to the girls. Corporate partners and organizations that specialize in the subject being taught provide many of our enrichment programs. This provides the dual benefit of exposing the girls to more caring adults in their lives, while nourishing the integrity and connection of the Rae’s Hope group to each other and to the organization. The annual calendar includes twice a week clinics in Physical Fitness, Life and Social Skills, Healthy Living and Community Life as well as monthly bike rides, spring volleyball leagues, community projects, special events and a summer camp.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The purpose of Rae's Hope is to establish long-term relationships and build personal skills with at risk girls to develop resilience and offer an alternative to self-destructive behaviors such as gangs, drug use, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school. Through its programming, Rae’s Hope improves healthy behaviors, increases social support and decreases social isolation to build self-esteem, ultimately producing happy, healthy, empowered and productive members of society. Significant outcomes include: • To date, Rae’s Hope has a 100% high school graduation rate from three under-performing schools as compared to 83% for DISD (includes magnet and other high-performing schools - DISD does not disclose the graduation rates of individual schools). • Only 1 in 41 of our girls have become pregnant as compared to 1 in 9 in in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Individuals, corporations and foundations in our community generously support Rae’s Hope. In addition, the board of directors has 100% financial participation and an annual fundraising event is being planned.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

Many organizations cover one or more of these components, however, only Rae’s Hope offers a comprehensive, long-term program from elementary school through high school. Our integrated program leads girls becoming women to: • Think long term • Make good decisions • Cope and recover from setbacks • Defer parenthood and graduate from high school.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

Empowering at risk girls to take charge of their lives and become productive members of their community. Most of Rae’s Hope at risk participants are Black and Hispanic where the family lives in poverty in distressed and disadvantaged communities with under-resourced schools and high unemployment rates. Rae’s Hope offers an innovative research-based, data driven, outcome focused solution to key challenges at risk girls face in North Texas. Risks include failing one or more grade levels, being expelled, legal troubles, becoming a parent or having limited English proficiency.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

Becca AbuRakia-Einhorn

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Team

I love the name, the mission and the impact! I am sure it would have been great to have your problem when I was a girl. So thank you for feeling a need!

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