Girls' Empowerment

Sister S.A.G.E. (Strengthening Advocacy for Girls' Empowerment)/ COMPASS EXPLORE

Funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (NYC DYCD).
For 4th and 5th grade girls, and 6th -12th grade girls.

Sister S.A.G.E. is a culturally informed, gender responsive, service learning/leadership program, for girls in Brooklyn aged 10-18 in 6th-12th grades to engage in positive youth development and cultivate leadership skills.


This program operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm,
or Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, at the RiseBoro Youth Center.


RiseBoro Youth Center
1474 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237
T: (718) 381-9653


Sister S.A.G.E. is specifically geared toward the needs of girls in Bushwick. Through multicultural activities, S.A.G.E. members are provided with knowledge that will help them successfully resist historical, social, and cultural assumptions made about girls and women of color. Our forums of mutual support provide an emotionally safe space for girls to experience personal development. In addition, an understanding of collective responsibility is nurtured through character education and community service. Sister S.A.G.E. is a community conscious, action-oriented group of girls and women who actively participate in changing the world in which they live.

The culturally informed gender responsive focus of the program focuses on service learning and leadership. Girls honor their heritages by upholding cultural values, which elevate service learning, leadership, peer education, media literacy and mentorship. The program maintains a structured safe space for girls of color to engage in supportive relationships, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, and cohesiveness between family, school and the community. The program provides a safe space for girls to establish and sustain authentic connections with older girls and women, who will serve as mentors. We provide a positive developmental setting for girls to raise community consciousness, offer service learning opportunities, support for efficacy, and create opportunities for skill building. Our culturally informed gender responsive program advocates for systemic change by encouraging girls to be proactive in changing the world in which they live through service.

S.A.G.E. incorporates cultural concepts, principles and codes which will be relatable to and reflective of the program participants. These concepts include:

Ujima (African term for Collective Work and Responsibility) will focus on service learning. Explore program staff will facilitate service learning curricula weekly (DYCD Teen Action) to provide content-based learning opportunities, offer space for individual and group reflection, promote enhanced knowledge and increased personal growth.

Lak'ech (A Mayan precept that translates to "You are my other me") describes the interconnected relationship between ourselves and others. Leadership development activities in the program and in community at large will include public speaking, community organizing and educating the others about their experiences.

Umoja (African term for Unity) will empower girls to share their truths and become intellectually prepared to support their views through constructive debate while respecting the perspectives of others. Girls will develop leadership skills and embrace their unique identities through educating their peers and younger children.

Nahui Ollin (in Nahuatl, the native language of Mexico); critical self-reflection, knowledge, will to act and transformation. Through media literacy education, participants will cultivate critical thinking skills, examine structural barriers experienced by marginalized populations and cultivate positive leadership and communication skills through social media outlets.

Sankofa (Adinkra symbol meaning, "In order to know where you are going, you must know from where you have come") is the element that speaks to the legacy of women. Staff and mentors will play an integral role in providing guidance, direction and meaningful connections that the youth might not otherwise have.

Total Hours and duration

Meetings will be held 6:00 pm-8:00 pm twice per week for all weeks. Service projects will be held once a month and will take place on weekends and during school breaks. Participants will meet 2 hours twice weekly (150 hours total of in-education/activities).

In the Community
for Good