Live Y’ers is the YWCA’s after-school and mentoring program for at-risk girls. We serve Lodge Community School and Glenwood Leadership Academy, both K-8 Title I schools with high free and reduced lunch rates, and then follow these girls through twelfth grade at Bosse High School. The goal of Live Y’ers is that these girls graduate from high school and delay pregnancy. If girls can achieve these goals, they are much more likely to further their education beyond high school and become productive women who can support themselves and their children.
From third grade through high school, staff hold age-appropriate discussions on female development and reproduction using video tapes and other resources along with guest speakers. Other activities for the elementary after-school program include math and science games and projects; cultural awareness programs; decision-making and peer resistance components as well as other important topics addressed through videos, group exercises, role play, and discussions; life skills such as cooking and swimming; and a variety of other activities.
Middle school girls are assigned mentors and activities include lunch with mentors and program staff where topics are introduced by staff and reinforced by mentors. A discussion calendar is developed for the school year and includes topics such as drugs and alcohol, smoking, decision making, education, jobs, female development, reproduction, sexuality, abstinence, peer pressure, etc. The mentors also spend time discussing spontaneous issues initiated by the girls. This mentoring relationship is ongoing from sixth through twelfth grade. There is also a career education program where girls participate in four sessions at each business location learning about career opportunities, potential income, and education requirements through collaboration with Deaconess Hospital, WFIE-14, Old National Bank, Evansville Police and Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department, and the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
The lunch-time mentoring program continues through twelfth grade for girls who go on to Bosse High School. An after-school component takes place in a house owned by the YWCA within walking distance from the high school. Discussion is continued on health issues and other components to encourage mature decision making. We provide tutoring and opportunities to enhance computer skills for research and homework.
Live Y’ers is unique in several ways––a strong collaboration with the schools and the large number of girls (80%) who choose to join Live Y’ers and continue in the program year after year. Most important is the length of time we maintain regular contact with the girls—from third through twelfth grade. This long-term relationship offers a greater chance for these girls to achieve the goals of the program— graduation from high school and delay of pregnancy.
Funding for this program is provided by CDBG funds through the City of Evansville, Department of Metropolitan Development