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Hi Everyone :) 

Inspired by my friend Sahra Nguyen's annual tradition of holding a birthday fundraising campaign, this year I am celebrating my birthday for two weeks by raising money to create a grant that will be given to the Young Womyn's Leadership Program (YWLP) in New Orleans.

From February 28th to March 16th, I would love it if you could celebrate my birthday with me by creating a gift that keeps on giving!

My Goal is to raise: $1,500

THIS CAUSE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOU WILL BE A PART OF NURTURING THE GROWTH OF THESE YOUNG WOMYN  TO BECOME STRONG AND FEARLESS FEMALE LEADERS WITHIN THEIR LOCAL AND GLOBAL COMMUNITY.

By supporting this cause, you will:

  • Provide training opportunities for the young womyn to increase their skills and knowledge in their areas of interests, such as (but not limited to): social justice, ethnic studies, and reproductive justice.
  • Support the members creative and artistic pursuits of holding a production of a youth-led and youth-friendly Vagina Monologues.
  • Grant the opportunity for the program to invite keynote speakers for the very first time. 
  • Fund opportunities for members to attend events that will nurture the development of upcoming workshops. 

For a more detailed list of events click here

THIS GRANT WILL BE THE VERY FIRST GRANT 

AND SOURCE OF FUNDING GIVEN TO THE YWLP.

 

Yet despite not receiving any source of funding since it first began in 2009, the YWLP has been able to:  

  • Create a safe space for young womyn in the New Orleans’ East community
  • Diversify the organization VAYLA, where once upon a time it was a male-dominated space 
  • Have an increase of over 65 members within the span of 5 years
  • Raise $650 to participate in the Susan G. Komen’s Walk for the Cure of Breast Cancer
  • Raise $250 to host a YWLP Retreat
  • Hold workshops on the following topics:
    • Writing Campaign Letters in support of the Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act (In 2010, a full time working Louisiana woman was typically paid only 67 cents or less for every dollar that was paid to a man) 
    • Womyn’s History Month: National & Local Womyn’s Leaders
    • Domestic Violence
    • Gender Stereotypes
    • Body Image
    • Healthy Relationships
    • College 101
    • Breast Cancer

 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

This cause is important to me because of my own personal theme for myself this year. In 2014, I’ve decided to dedicate this new year added to my life by spending more time celebrating, supporting and collaborating with women, healing and nurturing broken & existing relationships, as well as nourishing the feminine energy within myself. 

I believe it’s important for us as women to support the process of confronting our own insecurities with each other; to hold a safe space for dialogue in order to understand not just our purpose as women on the global scale, but how we have the power to uplift each other and future generations of young girls by first working towards becoming more kind and more mindful of the words we speak about ourselves and each other. 

My birthday wish is for the young womyn of this program to not just believe, but to know, as a fact, that their dreams and goals can all come true with hard work, determination and an unassailable belief that anything is possible. 

YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION WILL GRANT MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THESE YOUNG WOMYN TO CONTINUE THE PROCESS OF DISCOVERING THEIR LIFE PURPOSE AND PAVING THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL PATHS TO BECOMING THE WOMYN THEY HAVE ALWAYS ASPIRED TO BE.  

Be sure to check back here for any progress and updates!

AS A THANK YOU,

  • In collaboration with my friend Cynthia Lin & Lucky 8 Letterpress: The first 100 donors who donate at least $10 will receive a limited edition letter pressed print of a poem I wrote originally titled “Dear Fellow Dreamer,” addressed to you and signed by me. (Only 100 prints available)
  • In collaboration with my friend Tu-Anh Nguyen creator of Awkward Boobies: In addition to being a part of the first 100 donors and receiving a poetry print, donors who give $20 or more will be entered into a raffle to receive a limited edition Awkward Booby print (Booby Lift & Mardi Gras Boobies) created exclusively for this birthday campaign. Even if you aren’t a part of the first 100 donors and you donate $20, you will still be entered into the raffle. (Only 15 available per version; 30 winners total) 
  • I truly believe that we receive and attract to us what we give and project to the world, my thank you and wish to you is that the Universe will ever be in your favor! May the beautiful support you have given me be returned to you tenfold :)  

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH

&

I HOPE YOU’LL CELEBRATE WITH ME!

If not, no worries, I would be ever so grateful if you shared this with your friends and family! :D

Love, Jennii 

 

Click here to support Support Building VAYLA's Community Center

About VAYLA
Since 2006, VAYLA has fostered the development and empowerment of youth in New Orleans East, through educational services, recreational activities, cultural enrichment, and youth-led community organizing in our city where youth have faced both natural and man-made disasters, we understand the great need to support youth with services as well as leadership development. Our approach allows us to address both the immediate needs of our youth while empowering them to work for systemic social change that will provide long-term benefits for the entire community. 

History and Past Accomplishments
VAYLA serves Vietnamese, Latino, and African American youth through engaging their families to holistically address the issues and barriers they face, developing plans that help them meet their goals. As previously mentioned, we offer multiple services that focus on their education, health, and their leadership while fostering the development of relationships with a network of caring adults to further support them. For parents and guardians, we offer ESL, GED, and civic engagement classes that help them tap into a broader range of resources for their families. Through our work we have successfully served over 1,000 youth annually. 

Evidence in how we have been able to shape the lives of young people can be underscore by the following examples of evidence-based practices:Raise Your Hand Campaign, Family Circle, and the Villages of the East Coalition. 

Goals and Strategies 
- Provide opportunities for families and individuals to learn, grow, develop, and become self-sufficient, productive citizens.
- Provide effective advocacy services to families and individuals to empower them to advocate for themselves and actively engage and participate in community and society.
- Provide social support services to families and individuals by promoting education, health, leadership, cultural, and generational connections.
- Develop VAYLA to become a resource center where families and individuals can get the information they need to make effective decisions.

Needs and Opportunities
In the past few years, VAYLA has grown from a small staff of 4 to a team of 14. The staff expansion allows the organization to serve more youth in the community and more recently, with their parents. VAYLA is currently housed in one small central office area and is rapidly outgrowing the space.

the college admissions debate & the asian american 1%

undercoverinthebay:

For the past three months I have been in New Orleans, supporting the youth leaders and organizers at the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA). It’s striking to me that while social media is blowing up with questions of anti-Asian bias faced by the Asian American 1%, the debate is rather irrelevant to the community with which I work. Not one VAYLA youth member or staff member has had a conversation, even in passing, about the latest anti-Asian admissions policy uproar.

(click-through for article)