Who We Are
Adolescent girls are at the stage where developmental changes coincide with other transitions, more specifically the transitions from elementary to middle school and middle school to high school (Belgrave, et al., 2008). Not only are their bodies changing, but their lives, goals, behaviors, and personalities are in transition as well. Sisters of Nia sets out to help girls strive during these difficult changes by providing curriculum in which girls are supported, nurtured, and empowered. Each lesson is based on Afrocentric principles and are grade level specific. Below are the key topics that will be discussed by grade level.
Theme: Who Am I?
Focus on developing the self
Create a sense of sisterhood
Introduction of African history
Theme: Am I Who I Say I Am?
Focus on developing the self, and developing oneself
Focus on leadership
Developing a sense of unity
In-depth study of African history
Theme: Am I All I Can Be?
Focus on leadership
Focus on entrepreneurship
HBCU/Black history tour
Rites of passage preparation
Each lesson is designed around one of our eight principles, or our Nguzo Nane. These principles, which are Kiswahili words, represent eight values of African culture that help build and reinforce community among African-Americans. We expect our program directors, facilitators, and girls to live their daily lives according to these principles.
Umoja - Unity
Kuumba - Creativity
Imani - Faith
Heshema - Respect
Nia - Purpose
Kugichagulia - Self-Determination
Ujima - Collective Work & Responsibility
What We Do
Through our meetings with the girls, we aim to:
Strengthen knowledge and appreciation for African American culture, ethnic pride, and identity.
Inspire self-motivation leading to the achievement of academic and personal goals.
Reinforce positive peer relationships and decrease negative peer interactions.
Develop a strong sense of social responsibly.
Provide health education.
Core Beliefs & Values
We believe each girl has the potential to be successful.
We believe each girl has the ability to change and to create change.
We believe it is essential that each girl be taught to maintain a balance between personal and emotional health, personal growth, and self-care.
We value each girl as a unique individual with unique gifts and talents.
We embrace Afrocentric values.
We value direct and honest communication between the leaders and the girls at an effort to maintain authenticity of the program.
Programs & Events
Programs for Nia Participants
Before starting the the new Nia year, the 7th and 8th grade Nia girls attend an annual overnight retreat together focused on strengthening their self-esteem, sisterhood, and problem-solving skills. After attending the retreat, the girls tend to have a stronger bond with one another, in addition to stronger self-esteem, having accomplished tasks together they never viewed as possible. They come back from the retreat stronger, and ready to start the new Nia year with a bang!
HBCU/Black History Tour
As part of their culminating rites of passage, the 8th grade Nia girls attend a Historical Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)/Black History Tour. They visit various HBCU’s and locations focused on African and African-American history. The purpose of this trip is to bring the African history lessons from our weekly sessions full circle, and to reinforce each of the Sisters of Nia principles. During the trip, the girls are able to make visual connections from many of the weekly lessons. Upon returning home, each girl will prepare a presentation to be given to the 6th and 7th grade Nia girls , and will share highlights about her experience on the trip.
Rites of Passage Ceremony
The program culminates with a rites of passage ceremony, symbolizing the girls moving to new levels of maturity, as purposeful, confident, and motivated young women. Prior to the ceremony, each girl must complete a series of eight tasks, each representing one of the Nia principles. Tasks include research, presentations, and interviews enabling the girls to learn about and connect with a variety of African Americans in their families, communities, and career interests. Upon completion of the program, each girl will be armored with a set of tools to be well prepared for her future.
Programs Open to Community Youth
Summer Performing Arts Camp – Camp Nia
This is a low-cost, 2-week, full-day program open to girls ages 11-14 and includes lunch and snacks. With an Afrocentric foundation, the camp addresses self-esteem, self-confidence, self-control, self-expression, cultural awareness, health & exercise, and proper diet via the performing arts. Four classes are offered: vocals, dance, drama, and stage design, and the girls select two classes to focus on for the duration of the camp. Classes are taught by high school students, college students, and/or professionals experienced in the craft being taught. The entire two weeks of Camp Nia are spent preparing for a culminating performance which is open to the community.
Youth Leadership Conference
Each year, Sisters of Nia hosts a leadership conference targeting boys and girls ages 11-14. Nia alumni and community leaders give their time to present workshops which provide youth with information and skills for building self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse awareness and avoidance, peer pressure, self-control, sex education and health, and the law. The main goal of the conference is to educate and inspire youth to work to their fullest potential, live their lives with a purpose, and to take on leadership roles in their families, schools, and communities.
Each spring, Sisters of Nia hosts a talent show where youth are encouraged to share their talents with the community. Acts include song, dance, spoken word, and comedy, among other talents. In addition, Sisters of Nia girls are highlighted, sharing special performances while demonstrating their increased level of confidence.
Programs for Nia Parents
Parent Outreach Workshops
The workshops focus on creating and strengthening the bond between parents and their daughters. The purpose of these workshops is to provide intervention resources to increase parent-child connectedness among the girls and parents with which we work. The workshop is free and includes a nutritional dinner for the entire family. Using curriculum produced by ETR Associates (Education, Training, Research Associates), our workshops focus on four main topics:
Workshop #1: Parent-Child Connectedness
Workshop #2: Understanding My Adolescent Daughter
Workshop #3: Increasing the Connection with My Adolescent Daughter
Workshop #4: Listening to My Adolescent Daughter
Other Parent Outreach Programs: Each program is focused on building and strengthening communication between parents and their adolescent daughter.
Mother/Daughter Brunch & Father/Daughter Brunch -
Mother/Daughter Spa Party
Father/Daughter Bowling Competition