My colleagues from Project Ujima and I participated in National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, earlier this spring. A number of national events took place to let victims know what their rights are and to inspire communities to take a stance against crime victimization.
Project Ujima was invited by Wisconsin’s attorney general J.B. Van Hollen to participate in a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony at the Capitol to highlight the work we, as well as other organizations like ours do. The Project Ujima Youth Leadership Council attended the ceremony. Following the ceremony, we were invited back to the Governor’s mansion for lunch with Wisconsin’s First Lady Jessica Doyle. We also met Governor Doyle.
The Youth Leadership Council specializes in developing young leaders through community service and raising awareness about the issues young adults face. The Youth Leadership Council aims to build a peer–to-peer support for teen victims and empowers them to make a difference in their community. Some sample activities that teens are involved with include serving food at homeless shelters and coordinating a community rummage sale to support youth activities. Several park and neighborhood clean-up events are planned for this summer. The Youth Leadership Council also has served dinner to families at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for its monthly “Dinner on the House” event, which provides dinner to patient families receiving treatment at the hospital.
Project Ujima’s Youth Leadership Council has become a great resource for the community while developing young leaders. We are very proud of these teens, including Donniesha Gregory. Below she describes how she became involved with Project Ujima and the impact Project Ujima has made in her life:
When my sister was thirteen, she got shot leaving a party. This is how my family found its way into Project Ujima.
When I think of Project Ujima, I think of a loving and caring family – someone you can call no matter what time of the day or night. Project Ujima is like a backbone or shoulder to lean on when you need to cry.
With all of the Independent Women of Tomorrow groups and Youth Leadership Council, as well as a variety of other programs Project Ujima provides, I have learned how to become a positive, confident leader. I have learned that it does not matter where you come from, but where you are going.
I am going to Spellman College in Atlanta to become a social worker. I want to become a social worker to help children in situations similar to my own. Project Ujima helped me, and I feel like I can make a difference in another child’s life. Being with Project Ujima, I have learned to achieve my dreams.
-Gabe Doyle, Youth Intervention Specialist, Project Ujima