Girls RAP Gets Glow-up
Our Girls Resolution and Prevention program supports middle schoolers and high schoolers in developing conflict management skills. Recognizing that this transformative work requires a welcoming setting is what compelled YWCA Minneapolis to invest in renovating the Girls RAP room. The makeover has won rave reviews. As program manager, DaVonna Rucker explains, it also aligns with new approaches the program is taking and the impressive strides participants are making.
In the 2022-23 school year, we will partner with 5 schools:
- FAIR School – Crystal
- FAIR School – Downtown
- Northeast Middle
- Richfield Middle
- Sanford Middle
Each school will provide us with multiple contacts each week, ensuring growth, continuity and better relationship-building opportunities. We also guide school partners in identifying participants. This means examining data such as attendance, write-ups, suspensions and grades to identify youth in need of support. As we work with students, the schools evaluate program impact.
Teaching and learning testimonial
S.W.A.T. is an acronym in our lesson about consent and negotiation:
- S (say no)
- W (explain the why)
- A (provide an alternative)
- T (talk it out)
In a challenging dialogue with her boyfriend, one of our middle school participants articulated how she told him no by effectively putting a Girls RAP teaching into practice.
“I really be learning stuff from this program y’all. I just kept remembering Mrs. DaVonna saying, ‘S.W.A.T him.’ I did it and we went back to watching TV. It was less corny in real life and it really worked. He didn’t even get mad.” -Girls RAP middle schooler
Like the education system, the workforce, and all means of social engagement, the Girls RAP program has had to make many adjustments to continue to support youth during the pandemic. Girls RAP is designed to work with 12-18 year-old girls at-risk for engaging with the juvenile justice system. The three components of our programming include:
- Empowerment groups
- School-based with school identified youth (2x/ week for 1 hour)
- Site-based diversion with juvenile justice involved youth (1x/week for 2 hours)
- Individualized case management
- After-care services
Shifting our approach
We recently realigned Girls RAP to strengthen the impact of the work. This means Girls RAP has:
- Established new partnerships.
- Revised participant criteria.
- Renovated our youth space.
“This is cooler than my room. Can I come to Girls RAP every day?” -Esmeralda C.
Overall, Girls RAP is centralizing youth and their outcomes. YWCA Minneapolis transformed our youth space to appeal to teens and serve as a lounge. We are hopeful that these adjustments foster achievement, wellness and create a supportive community for our youth. Youth are welcome during drop-in hours to relax in the space and connect with RAP staff.