DML Non-Profit Spotlight: You Grow Girl!
DML non-profit spotlight “You Grow Girl!” blends equal parts wisdom, heart, perseverance and a whole lot of passion!
Founded in 2002 YGG has helped hundreds of girls and young women realize new potential, express artistic talents, learn new skills and discover a future that is brightly lit and full of promise.
“You Grow Girl provides comprehensive services for young women to reach their
authentic self through the development of life skills, confidence and self-respect.” You Grow Girl! Mission.
Lynn Coleman is the founder of YGG and every bit the hero of our story. She is smart, tough, talented and has a vision for her organization that looks far into the future. Having persevered through a challenging and sometimes heart-breaking childhood, Lynn defines what it is to be an architect of your own future. She embodies the core of compassion, optimism and is fueled by a hope-filled future for the girls that she inspires.
Lynn credits her foster mom Grace as an inspiration, a woman who literally saved her from a path of self-destruction. When Lynn speaks about the impact her Mom has had on her life you begin to understand where the spark of passion and love of service took root. Grace is a counselor and social-worker and has dedicated her career to making a difference in the lives of the people that she encounters.
“I am a better counselor and a better mother because of my Mom. Through it all,
either good or bad, my mother Grace has been there for me. She accepted me with
open arms into her family when I was seven and has been holding on to my heart ever since.” Lynn Coleman
YGG helps girls find their “authentic selves”. This is a concept that teaches young women to look inside and find their own unique and powerful voice. To embrace themselves, express their inner talents and most importantly accept who they are, not what others would define for them. YGG helps these young people understand what it means to be happy in your own skin and that everyone is worthy of respect, love, happiness and success.
“I truly want girls to identify with positive relationships and to
focus on education and career.“
YGG provides a wide variety of services designed to impact girls in very specific ways. At the Expressive Arts Recreation Center YGG provides a free after-school and late night drop-in program for girls 10-17. There are also affordable school-break day camps for girls in grades 4-8 with high-quality creative, recreational, educational and prevention programming. The center has the capacity to serve 150 girls on a regular monthly basis. Programs offered through the center combine hands on art education and skills development activities in areas such as:
High School / GED Completion
Job Readiness / Career Exploration
Fitness Classes / Nutrition Education
Service Learning Project
The YGG School Based Programs combine expressive arts therapy methods such as art, role play, music, dance, poetry, creative writing and journaling. The girls who attend the skills-building groups throughout King County are able to discuss issues such as bullying, stress management, coping skills, life transitions, relationships and body image. The program serves approximately 80 girls in grades 5-9 on weekly basis in Seattle, Highline, Renton and Auburn School Districts.
Case Management and Mental Health Services. Provided to individuals who are socialized and/or identify as female, our case management, mental health and expressive arts services through our program, Annara Counseling Services work within all of the systems that affect an individual – school, family, legal, employment, peers and community – to build consistency and support to live successfully.
"According to recent studies, young women who “aged out” of the foster care system
face greater challenges and risks to their success than other children. These risks include
less likelihood of completing their education, finding safe, affordable housing, obtaining
and maintaining jobs and utilizing community resources."
In response to this YGG has developed a program that will offer Transitional Housing Resources to young women throughout King County.
An online crowdfunding campaign on CrowdRise has been launched to help YGG raise funds to expand and modify the current programming. The hope is that this program will serve as
a one-stop resource for young women and also serve as a resource for schools and community providers, thereby improving the lives of young women by streamlining service delivery.
The future of YGG depends on community support and fund raising. Currently Lynn and her army of volunteers are searching for a new home. If you would like to join the amazing list of organizations such as YouthCare, Atlantic Street Center, NAVOS, Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, the YMCA, Spectrum Consulting and others in supporting the amazing work that YGG is doing, go to www.yougrowgirl.org.
DML is proud to work with and support the remarkable work that You Grow Girl! accomplishes every day. We salute and thank Lynn, her mom Grace, the staff at YGG and the volunteers---you are truly making our community a better place.
You Grow Girl!