In a city with a growing divide among economic classes and races, YW Boston chooses to focus on the reduction of systemic racial and gender disparities and the improvement of social cohesion in neighborhoods where health, educational, and safety inequities are most significant. YW Boston seeks to accomplish this work by partnering with beneficiaries, direct service providers, leaders, and organizations in the target neighborhoods. Throughout the history of YW Boston, there have been a variety of programs to serve youth, including a girls’ health initiative and dialogue groups between youth and law enforcement officers.
The Youth Leadership Initiative (InIt) was selected as YWCA Boston’s target offering for the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Challenge. InIt develops young leaders with nascent leadership skills and supports them as they implement projects that further race and gender equity and social cohesion in their schools and communities. InIt’s goals are to build students’ confidence, their abilities to work across differences, and ultimately design, implement, and engage other teens in community action projects that address social inequities in their school, community group, or neighborhood.