Homegirl Project trains girls of color to become political change-makers through mentorship, digital resources, and community-building.
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Eligibility: Date of Birth
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1315 Calypso Way Oviedo FL 32765
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
@homegirlproject on Instagram
@homegirlP on twitter
Homegirl Project on Facebook
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Although women of color are statistically more likely to be impacted by crises like climate change, gun violence, and others, we make up only 8.4 percent of congressional representatives. WOC lack sustainable political representation, which inhibits the possibilities for future generations of girls to become political leaders. This cycle stops when girls of color are empowered to take on political leadership.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Homegirl Project is a youth-led organization that trains the next generation of girls and non-binary youth of color to become leaders in our communities. More simply, we choose to create a national culture where girls of color are amplified, mentored, and prepared to lead change.
Our digital training program, Homegirl Fellows, provides mentorship connections, individual support, and organizing skills to high school girls of color each semester, preparing them to undertake a Political Action Project in their communities.
Our mentorship program, Homegirl Ambassadors, matches girls with women in their career fields, helping them develop self-advocacy, agency, and guidance.
Lastly, our storytelling program, #GirlTalk, is a digital hub for girls of color to disrupt and reclaim narratives about who gets to create change. We continually foster community and networking through our dynamic social media presences, where we coordinate live content with political organizers, share opportunities, and start conversations on issues that matter. For example, Homegirl Project lead a contingent in the 2019 US Climate Strike and broadcasted the event live.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
When I was 15, my hometown, Orlando, was devastated by the Pulse shooting, targeting LGBTQ+ individuals of color. As a queer girl of color, I couldn't remain silent.
In the political wave that followed, I saw the determination of young WOC across the country to mobilize, organize, and demand change. I passionately led March 2018 National School Walkouts, served nationally for Women's March, and interned in Congress. However, as I grew more involved, I noticed a significant lack of infrastructure for girls in politics. Because we were underrepresented in all forms of political leadership, change-making wasn't accessible for all.
I wanted Homegirl Project to serve as a place for mentorship, skill-building, and leadership training, for us, by us. Now, Homegirl Project is a youth-led political training incubator. A mentorship community. A revolution.
And we're just getting started.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Kelly Dao is 15. In her hometown, Nashville, she's afraid that her brother, who has autism, will be brutalized by police, since she knows they aren't adequately trained to respond to citizens with intellectual disabilities (IDD). Kelly applied for the Homegirl Fellowship and joined the cohort of 11 girls from 9 states. Through our program, she is developing a project: to pass a Nashville city law that requires police officers to undergo IDD-response training. Through Homegirl Fellowship, Kelly is participating in monthly training calls led by Homegirl Project mentors and guest speakers, learning skills like event-planning, lobbying, fundraising, press, and others. She was also matched to a youth mentor, Zaynab, who sits on UMich's campus police advisory council, and helps her navigate the system. All 11 Fellows, including Kelly, will complete their projects by December 2019.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Homegirl Project is revolutionary because it uses the Internet to make activism, political organizing, and training completely free and accessible to girls of color. You don't have to live in a major city or commute to trainings to make a difference: all of our training services are digital, and this expands our impact. For example, our mentorship network spans 32 states and 4 countries, creating immense possibility for connections.
Also, we intentionally serve girls of color, an underrepresented community that few other programs make efforts to engage or uplift. We are for youth, by youth.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Toni Morrison once said: "If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” Homegirl Project has created a community where hundreds of girls of color support one another in leadership development.
150 girls from across the country applied for the inaugural Homegirl Fellowship program, and 11 were selected to participate in our monthly training calls and mentorship networks. Our Fellows' projects include: mandating menstrual products in her school bathrooms, passing a mental health bill at her school board, and more.
Also, our mentorship program has matched 45 girls with mentors including CEOs and NYT editors; 50% of mentees would otherwise lack access to mentors, and 86% said they felt "more aware of opportunities and resources within their chosen career path" afterwards. Mentees have reported building long-term relationships and friendships with their mentors.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Homegirl Project intends to continue expanding the reach of our political training programs. This will take three forms: digital resources, on-the-ground chapters, and a national convention.
We want our digital resources to increase the accessibility of political information. We will host public webseminars and release informational packets in partnership with policy nonprofits to educate our audience about important issues.
Our chapters program will allow girls to create intimate, local communities to engage in projects, organize political events, educate their peers, volunteer, and attend events.
Our long-term dream is to host a national convention, which will bring together girls of color and allies for training and lobbying.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $1k-$5k
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community) (10)
Middle Eastern or North African (for example: Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian) (11)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
Religious minority (non-Christian)
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Word of mouth
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?