Nia Gwenda: Program

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About Nia Gwenda: Girls with Purpose

Nia Gwenda is a girl focused youth based group for ages 12-21 years old. The group aims to educate and support girls to develop their life skills and build relationships within themselves and with others in their lives.  Process:  Each youth is interviewed individually prior to the group starting for an intake assessment.  This may take 1-3 sessions and is not included in the total group sessions.  The youth meets again individually with the facilitator during the group on one occasion and at termination of the group. Cost: There is no cost for participants. Nia Gwenda depends on the donations of others for space, facilitators, food, and materials. If you wish to donate to our program, please contact us at: ifaradainstitute@gmail.com. Program Length: These sessions are included in the total group sessions and are incorporated in the group fee.  The group sessions run for 1.5 to 2 hours at a time, for a total of 8 to 12 group sessions on a weekly basis. 

With Purpose…

Purpose: Nia Gwenda provides support, skills training, cultural awareness and mental wellness for girls.  The group supports youth develop connections with other group members, provide a space for them to address difficult challenges in their lives, and assistance to deal with mood and behavior difficulties.  The group teaches youth skills on how to manage their mental health and moods, to learn relaxation and mindfulness skills, to develop independent skills, and to enhance their communication skills.  The group incorporates social and cultural awareness within the group, teaches cultural norms and expectations, and encourages youth to connect their identity with cultural beliefs and standards.  The group incorporates treatment approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, narrative therapy, and art and music therapy.  We use social media within the group.  Snacks are provided within each group.

“every woman, was a little girl with hopes, dreams & purpose” Nicole Perryman

TOPICS

The following course content is some of the rich, success-based curriculum within our girls programming. In addition to using curriculum based for groups and girls, we also incorporate therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy and more.

  • What does it mean to be a girlexamining your identity, identifying your strengths, understanding support systems, and addressing challenges and benefits associated with gender and identity.
  • How to manage your emotionsidentifying a range of emotions, identifying your mood-a-meter rating the varied emotions you experience day to day, learning what distress tolerance is and how to manage moods effectively, learn ways to express your emotions to others and learn to understand how emotions impact your body.
  • What is mental health and how to care for itidentify significant mental health challenges faced by girls (anxiety, depression, eating disorders, conduct disorder) and describe the symptoms and stressors, learn how to develop a healthy lifestyle, discuss ways to care for your mental health and when to seek help, and identify strategies to promote mental wellness. 
  • Financial literacy 101an engaging workshop that prepares young woman for the reality of independence and living at home, each participant is provided with a start-up fund and over a series of scenarios makes choices around their finances and living situation.  Each scenario provided has a potential risk which are life situations which often impact youth in their lives.  At the end of the workshop, the youth with the most financial funds at the end of the group wins the game.
  • How to create your vision boardyouth are inspired to think about their past, their present circumstances and develop goals for their future.  Using art, they create realistic and dream visions for their lives and place on a board.  This workshop also connects with the following workshop which continues in the next session.  Youth learn ways to support their goals regardless of barriers, and learn how to use positive messages and affirmations to keep them focused.
  • Developing and achieving goalsyouth learn how to develop and achieve goals for themselves and how to address barriers and setbacks.  They start the session completing personality assessment which helps them to learn their personality style, career best suited for them, and strengths.
  • Addressing girl dramaMany youth engage in conflicts with each other for several different reasons.  This session would focus on enhancing youth to identify these conflicts and practice ways to address the conflict without allowing it to impact their sense of self and identity.
  • Reconnecting with yourselfThe session is focused on mindfulness, relaxation and yoga to help youth learn to develop ways to build self-esteem.
  • Cultural and community awarenessIn this two-part session, the youth begin to examine their roots in terms of culture.  We draw from these culture and develop an incorporation of the principles of each culture to help girls enhance their spiritual and community awareness.  Youth will learn about key beliefs such as: faith, collective work, and principles of social connection, family belief systems, and more.  Some of the cultural awareness is: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc.
  • Understanding familyIn this session, youth create a family genogram and explore and examine the relationships within their family.  They learn to identify negative patterns and messages which have developed over time in their family, as well as the values and principles they learn.  Youth also learn to incorporate their vision board what they hope to accomplish in their own future with relationships in their lives.
  • Effective communicationThis session would focus on understanding communication and communication styles, identifying ways to communicate to others and also understand communication from others (i.e. parents, teachers, peers).
  • Trauma and grief This session may take 2 sessions depending upon the group members.  It provides a psycho-educational understanding of trauma and grief to provide participants with a basic understanding.  The session encourages youth to identify personally experiences of trauma and grief and how it may have impacted their functioning.  The session will examine treatment options and strategies to manage the symptoms associated with these experiences.  The session incorporates art and clay work to encourage sensory work and to help youth to connect their experiences with their identity.
  • Relationships 101This group is a follow up from effective communication and understanding family to help youth learn ways to understand and develop relationships with others.  Role play and narrative are a big part of this session to keep the session engaging and a positive learning environment.
  • Intimate relationships and communication This is a follow up group from relationships 101 to identify healthy and unhealthy intimate relationships.  The group also addresses ways to maintain a healthy relationship and strategies to address conflicts which arise.  This session also uses role play and narrative approaches.
  • Social Media 101Social media is a new wave of communication used by youth in a variety of forms.  This session analyzes social media communication in addressing the effective and non-effective ways to communicate.  Address safety and ways to conduct themselves appropriately on social media.
  • Body Image & Self-Esteem- Body image has been a continued concern for young women.  This session focuses upon helping girls identify influences upon their self-esteem, identifying positive and negative body images.  As well as identifying cognitive distortions about body image, where those statements impact self-esteem.  Addressing ways and strategies to improve body image and self-esteem.  Identifying strengths and personal qualities to build sense of self. 

PROGRAM EVALUATION

Our first ever program evaluation was drafted by one of our students, Mariyam during her placement at Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services. The evaluation was a way to capture our past accomplishments for Nia Gwenda, with the hopes of continuing our efforts in the future, documenting our successes and stories, and improving our services to girls and their families. To read the document, you may find it here: Nia Gwenda: An Overview


SUCCESS STORIES

Join the conversation, if you are a girl, parent or care provider wanting to learn more about our programming, email us at: ifaradainstitute@gmail.com. If you would like to share your Nia Gwenda girl story, please submit your comments at: Share your Story.

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