Dear Friend of Girls Inc.,
Our community has faced an abundance of challenges this year: a global pandemic paired with the continuous disregard for Black lives by law enforcement, the effects of climate change as evidenced by the wildfires sweeping the west coast, and most recently, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The compounded stress of these social phenomena are traumatic for adults, but especially our youth. When I was asked to step in as Interim Executive Director for Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest this past July, I said yes for precisely this reason: I want to help our collective healing by focusing on our youth.
I am honored to help Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest transition into its next chapter. With the support of our board of directors and partners, we are focusing on improving and adapting our programming to complement remote learning, and we are appointing professionals who are passionate about girl empowerment. We are hopeful for our future!
In this newsletter you will read of programming and staffing updates, and important advocacy opportunities that are relevant to the lives of our youth and mission. We are also excited to share a sneak peak of our upcoming fundraising campaign in honor of International Day of the Girl.
On behalf of the Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest’s board and staff, thank you for your commitment to our organization and I look forward to continuing to communicate with you over the next few months.
Cyreena Boston Ashby
Interim Executive Director
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL
Sunday, October 11th is International Day of the Girl and our theme this year is Build a Future! Please stay tuned for information on how we’ll be recognizing the day in place of our annual in-person luncheon.
We are excited to share that Donya Saunders, formerly our Seattle Director, has been promoted to Director of Programs!
Donya’s devotion to advocate for youth began over two decades ago, when she established a drop-in tutoring program for youth in her community, which was supported by the LA County Sheriff’s Youth Activity League. As a transplant from Compton, California, Donya immediately felt welcomed by the South Seattle community where she worked with a division under Seattle Parks and Recreation.
Donya’s leadership with young people has ranged from direct services, coordinating elementary and middle school programs, to managing multiple sites that served over 1,000 girls annually. Her passion for working with youth is embedded in breaking down racial and gender inequities, and the belief that direct resources offered have a lasting impact upon our communities. Donya’s commitment to young people, youth workers, families, and community will always challenge her to be a better leader, and we are fortunate to have her continued experience at Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest.
WE ASKED HER WHAT MAKES HER STRONG, SMART, AND BOLD
Marie Jobes, Development Manager
I start the day by reminding myself that I am grateful for everything I already have, then I pause to think about what I want more of from myself, from those around me, from the world, and I perceive that I already have it.
This practice helps me find strength when I feel weak, it reminds me that I am smart enough to know there is so much more I have to learn, and it makes me bold because I constantly strive for better knowing that if I do not step forward, I will always be in the same place.
HELP PROTECT OUR ELECTIONS
People should not be forced to risk their health to exercise their right to vote. Use this template to email your Members of Congress today and ask them to provide states with at least $4 billion in the next COVID-19 relief package to ensure fair and safe elections in November!
Today is National Voter Registration Day and Election Day is in less than 50 days! If you have not already done so, register today to ensure that your voice is heard this November.
Oregon residents must register to vote by October 13th, and Washington residents must register to vote by October 26th.
It’s not too late to complte the 2020 Census!
This is a critical moment for us to shape our communities for the next 10 years. The Census is more than just a population count: it helps allocate nearly a trillion dollars in funding for things like roads, hospitals, and schools. The Census is also used to determine political representation; it’s a powerful force in shaping how we are represented in government.
The Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency was created to help members of the Black community who have been hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $62 million dollar fund is open to both businesses and individuals. Individuals and families may be eligible to receive grants of $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000, depending on the financial impacts of COVID-19 and family size.
The application is on-line, and there is a partnership with Umpqua Bank to assist applicants that do not have bank accounts to establish bank accounts or to identify alternative routes to funding.
As a result of ongoing efforts from the undocumented community, Governor Jay Inslee has announced a $40 million Washington Worker Relief Fund that will provide one-time cash assistance to undocumented people! This step makes Washington a leader as the second state after California to provide public, state funded relief to undocumented communities.
There will be a separate sign up process to apply for funding. To receive updated information on the next steps for the fund sign up at the link below.
SIGN UP FOR MORE INFO
Our communities are facing yet another crisis: wildfires. Wildfire smoke can cause respiratory issues that make people more prone to lung infections such as COVID-19, according to the CDC, and disproportionately affects already vulnerable people including those with chronic illness, children, older adults, low-income communities, and communities of color.
We hope each of you stays safe and informed of evacuation orders in Oregon and Washington.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH
September is National Suicide Prevention Month and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth people ages 10-24. Listed below are several ways you can recognize the month.
LEARN the risk factors and warning signs for suicide.
HAVE a #RealConvo about mental health with someone you are concerned about.
ADVOCATE for smarter mental health legislation.
ADD crisis resources to your phone.
CONNECT suicide loss survivors to healing resources.
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