Youth Centered Programming

For nearly twenty years, GGE has run holistic youth-centered programs rooted in social justice, activism and advocacy for self and community.

We see programs as an essential entry point to creating change: by meeting young people where they are and providing enriching and educational programming, we can impact their lives immediately, raise their awareness of civic engagement, and train them to organize around changing the systems that bring them to us in the first place. 

GGE currently runs four youth programs: Young Women’s Advisory Council, JustUs, Sisters in Strength, and the Youth Speakers Bureau.

Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC)

YWAC was launched in 2015 and was born out of the Young Women's Initiative, an intergenerational, participatory governance process initiated that same year with former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

YWAC was created to center the needs and voices of New York City-based cisgender and transgender young women and gender-expansive and non-binary young people of color ages 12-24.  

YWAC engages young people in the work of informing institutional change by giving expert testimony, building policy recommendations, and organizing for the transformative change they imagine is necessary to live self-determined lives.

Sisters In Strength (SIS)

Sisters In Strength (SIS) began in 2004 as a program introducing cisgender and transgender girls of color to the basics of community organizing and training youth to investigate the inequities in their own communities and organize for change.

GGE served as the fiscal sponsor of the ‘me too’ movement, and evolved SIS’s programming to lead survivor-centered, healing justice approaches in the movement to end gender based violence, sexual violence, and child sexual assault.

Now the Sisters in Strength (SIS) Program is a survivor circle for youth survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their allies.


JustUs, launched in collaboration with Rising Ground’s STEPS to End Family Violence, is a gender-responsive diversion program for cisgender and transgender girls and gender nonconforming young people ages 15-20 that have ties to Brooklyn and are either involved, or at high risk of involvement, in the juvenile legal system.

In JustUs, young people will come together to support, empower, teach, and learn from one another's experiences and learn to advocate for change.

Youth Speaker's Bureau

The Youth Speakers Bureau is a brand new program developed to further engage GGE Program Alumni, and to provide opportunities for them to deepen their critical analysis around social justice issues.

Participants work in groups to study and address the criminalization of Black youth, education justice, and healing and gender justice.

Previous Programs

Urban Leaders Academy (ULA)

Since 2008, Girls for Gender Equity has been forging partnerships with schools to provide young people of color with quality, holistic after school programs rooted in social justice, activism and advocacy for self and community.

For ten years, GGE’s Urban Leaders Academy served hundreds of young people in six schools in Brooklyn, provided professional development for over 300 school personnel, and strengthened our community through restorative justice practices.

Several ULA participants have gone on to attend NYC Specialized High Schools or to the high school of their choice. All graduating seniors who participated in ULA have not only gone on to college but have been valedictorians, salutatorians and won numerous accolades and awards every single year that we were engaged in partnerships in their schools. 

It was our goal for the young people who participate in our programs to feel seen, heard, supported, valued and respected, because we know that a sense of self worth and safety can create a fertile ground for young people to develop empathy as well as leadership skills to make changes in their school communities and beyond.

We are grateful to the schools who partnered with us to make this dream a reality and to the young people who committed their time and brilliance to ULA.