OUR STORY We were founded in 1993 by a coalition of service providers working with young and adult women in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The guiding principle then and now is that young women are the experts on issues impacting their lives and they should be involved in running and directing the programs that serve them. In 1997 our founding director left and young women of color under age 26 assumed all leadership responsibility. Building on a model for self-determination, we began to organize to change the power dynamic in San Francisco itself. READ MORE
"The Center is a great
place because it gave me
the opportunity to
change my life."
Tiffany Trammell

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Our goal was to create a city-wide environment where young women were involved in all major decisions that impact their lives — using their ideas to find new solutions to old problems. This model meant that young women who were formerly incarcerated or working in the street economies had the support to become leaders, policymakers, researchers, employers, and activists. As a result, we have created a place for young women to come together, heal from past experiences, dream and achieve their visions for the future through leadership development, youth organizing, employment training, and health and wellness.

Our mission is to empower and inspire young women who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and/or the underground street economy to create positive change in their lives and communities.

We envision a world in which culturally diverse young women in crisis are supported and healed with care and compassion so that they can proactively resist the impacts of all forms of oppression.

CYWD answers first and foremost to the young women we work with - young women who have had involvement with the juvenile justice system and the underground street economy. We believe that young women of color, poor young women, and queer young women are best positioned to inform, guide and manage the development of CYWD.

We respect and honor individual, cultural and spiritual beliefs and traditions and invite young women to bring them into their work at CYWD. We model cultural competence at all levels of our organization. We want young women to have opportunities to develop emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in culturally appropriate environments.

We believe that fighting oppression is central to a process of healing. We believe that it is crucial for young women to have an understanding of systemic oppression and how it manifests in their lives. We believe that to heal, young women need to recognize and understand the systems of oppression that affect their lives. We inspire young women to be fierce: to commit to social change and to resist the abuse of power at all levels.

We believe in the power of sisterhood. We believe in young women helping other young women. We believe every young woman has the capacity to become a leader.

We believe that every young woman deserves opportunities to learn and grow. We believe young women need a caring and compassionate environment in which to learn about themselves, to acquire new skills, and to advocate for their needs and those of their sisters. We know young women need a safe space where confidentiality is ensured. We believe that in order to recognize their worth, young women need to be supported in their efforts to grow to become stable and centered women in control of their decisions.

The Center for Young Women's Development
832 Folsom Street, Suite #700
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone 415.703.8800
Fax 415.703.8818

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