Joy, Power, Possibility - Support for the LESGC

We've been admirers of The Lower Eastside Girls Club for years, connected both by a close friend and by location - our name Loisa is an homage to "Loisaida", the Spanglish name for the Lower Eastside neighborhood in Downtown NYC where we lived while starting this business, and where the organization is (no surprise) headquartered. 

If you know, you know, but if you haven't heard what the Girls Club is and has been doing for local youth, prepare to feel some power...

~ Founding Mission ~
 
In 1995, The Lower Eastside Girls Club didn’t exist. No staff, no programs, no building. And, quite frankly, no manual to follow on how to build an innovative and sustainable organization for girls. After identifying this huge gap, we had a mission: start a place that provides services for girls and women in our own backyard. We have consciously set out to create a new model of community agency, creating a culture that values creativity and experimentation, while putting girls and women at the center of community development and revitalization. Our founding vision was a dual one: to reframe the field of youth development as a ‘whole community’ issue, and to construct a building to house that vision.

As a community-based organization we work to overcome the fragmentation of youth services through partnerships with non-profit organizations that share our mission, with local businesses, academic institutions, faith-based communities, and with our members’ families. By creating a ‘whole-girl’ approach – emphasizing a broad range of cultural competencies needed for success – curiosity, poise, happiness, resiliency, compassion, health and job readiness – we use more than academic performance to benchmark our impact.
 
~ Today ~
 
Our 35,000 square foot state-of-the-art community center offers a safe haven with programs in the arts, sciences, leadership, entrepreneurship, and wellness for girls in middle and high school. Facilities include a Maker Shop for engineering and coding; Biology lab for STEM programming and research; Alphabet City Art School for visual arts and crafts; Center for Media and Social Justice for digital media and photography; Sound Studio for music production and our radio station/podcast, WGRL (Where Girl Radio Lives); Design Shop for fashion design; a rooftop farm; full culinary kitchen and cafe; and 64-seat state-of the art, 30-foot dome planetarium. We offer over 50 unique programs a week, at no cost to girls and their families.

The Lower Eastside Girls Club is training the next generation of ethical, entrepreneurial, and environmental leaders. Girls Club members overcome adversity, perceive opportunity, develop self-confidence, make ethical decisions and healthy life choices, thrive academically, embrace leadership, and have the ability to enter college or the workforce as fully prepared and connected adults.
 

It's no surprise then, that during challenging times like today, the LESGC is doing everything in their power to support their community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the critical service grassroots organizations, like the Girls Club, provide in New York City. Without pause, they've been delivering invaluable support, services and virtual programming to low income families...


In response to COVID-19, the LESGC has:

  • Built a ‘virtual’ online Girls Club to enable their staff to continue teaching classes and provide safe social spaces for their members
  • Provided online mentoring and tutoring
  • Conducted daily check-ins with their members, assessing the needs of each family
  • Sent books, art supplies, computers and sewing machines to members
  • Are sourcing produce from local organic farms, and distributing food and takeout dinners for families of 4+
  • Are launching a virtual series of health and wellness programs. While their forthcoming Family Center for Wellbeing & Happiness will open to the LES community in early 2021, they are excited to pilot a variety of online activities for our community now.

And here are just a few of the messages they've received from families over the past few months: 

  • "I wanted to extend my gratitude to you and the rest of the staff in this very difficult time you girls are a BEACON OF HOPE, LIGHT and FAITH. DON'T think that for a second your efforts are going unnoticed. I am so grateful for the chef that prepared the food all the way to the person who passed me the box."
  • "As I received the laptop and the extra items I felt my heart get so heavy and eyes rapidly filling with water. I’m forever grateful and thank you and your team for all you do in this time of great need."
  • "We just wanted to say, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU FOR CARING WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY APPRECIATE IT."
If you've followed Loisa and our efforts to build community and connections around food, wellness, and culture - you can probably imagine how proud we are to support these efforts, and likewise, pledge our commitment for continued support in the future. 

We donated seasonings to the Wellness Kits that went out in late June. We joined their Virtual Gala a few weeks back. All of this is exciting, but it's only the beginning. As we've said before, and you all know, there's lots of work left to do. 
 
So most importantly - if you can - please join the LESGC in helping to raise the next generation of environmental, entrepreneurial, and ethical leaders by DONATING HERE and spreading the word!

 

1 comment

I love what you do and stand for. As a Latina women who has been held back from promotions and opportunities, I am striving to achieve success by starting up a small company that’ll hopefully grow! Muchísimas gracias!

Rosemary A. Pérez July 14, 2020

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