Get F.Y.R.E.’d up for the F.Y.R.E. Initiative’s first Symposium, Igniting Your F.Y.R.E. Within!
YW Boston’s F.Y.R.E. Initiative (Fierce Youth Reigniting Excellence) is excited to invite you to our first ever F.Y.R.E. Symposium titled “Igniting Your F.Y.R.E. Within: Navigating COVID and the impact on social and emotional wellness of Black and Brown girls in Boston.” Join our 2021 cohort of igniters (program participants) on June 5th, 11:00am to 3:00pm, as they reflect and share their learnings with the Greater Boston community.
During our F.Y.R.E. Initiative leadership and empowerment program, middle school girls around Greater Boston explore social justice education, positive identity development, healthy relationships, and civic engagement. As part of the program, participants present a community action project at the F.Y.R.E. Symposium and have the opportunity to engage with other youth leaders from across Greater Boston.
The event will include interactive elements, intergenerational activities, and several guest appearances including a keynote from Vice President of Apparel at Reebok, Portia Blunt, and remarks from Representative Liz Miranda. Everyone is invited to join us, such as program participants’ families, fellow youth activists and mentors, and YW Boston community members looking to learn more about the program. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear how young girls are changing Boston and making an impact in their communities!
Hear from the F.Y.R.E. team about why they are pumped for the Symposium on June 5th.
The F.Y.R.E. Initiative team at YW Boston is thrilled to be hosting the first ever F.Y.R.E. Symposium. The program began in 2019 and in coming together for this event, the F.Y.R.E. community is celebrating their beginning and the igniters’ resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic. TiElla Grimes, Senior Program Manager, and Caiana Luse, F.Y.R.E Initiative Program Coordinator, shared what holding this event means to them.
What part of the Symposium are you most excited for?
TiElla Grimes: “I am most excited for the gxrls to be celebrated and acknowledged for working through a difficult year and showing up for themselves. The level of commitment that they have shown to participating and sharing their expertise has kept the F.Y.R.E. lit! This event is an opportunity for them to also learn and engage with other gxrls and adults who can attest to the courage and strength it takes to reignite excellence and navigate a “new normal”.
Caiana Luse: “I am most excited for the riveting discussions that will be happening on during our “Table Talk” segment because it will not only create a cross generational dialogue, but it will also connect Igniters from different cohorts on these topics while also showcasing to a variety of people what they have learned during F.Y.R.E Sessions.”
Why is it special for Igniters and community members to come together after participating in the FYRE Initiative?
TiElla Grimes: “It provides the Igniters with an opportunity to engage with other Igniters and share their expertise and learnings from the program. It provides an opportunity for all F.Y.R.E. partners, parents and supporters to come together and have intergenerational conversations about topics we’ve covered in the FYRE program on a larger scale – getting a taste of a F.Y.R.E. session! And most importantly, after a challenging year due to COVID-19, it’s a time to celebrate the gxrls and acknowledge the power of their resiliency and ability to ignite their F.Y.R.E. within.”
Caiana Luse: “One of the key values of F.Y.R.E. is “Community” and youth are an integral part of the majority of diverse communities and the growth of them. It is not only special, but important for Igniters and community members to come together because F.Y.R.E. aims to support youth in discovering their power and passions by providing tools (like intergenerational dialogue) to make a positive impact in their communities, and when we are united in a community, we’re stronger.”
Tell us about any special FYRE Initiative-related moment that has stayed with you over the past year.
TiElla Grimes: “One of my most memorable moments is when two of the most amazing young ladies like to stay after our F.Y.R.E. session for a dance party. Now the greatest part of this is – they may have their camera off during the session at times but for the dance party the camera comes on and the dancing takes over. They truly are just being themselves and it really warms my heart that they chose me as the DJ for our sessions. It’s literally the highlight of my day!”
Caiana Luse: “My most memorable moment is when a student told me that our session is their favorite class out of every school day. I understand that with this pandemic, igniters spend hours on the computer/ zoom every day and that an extra hour can sometimes be daunting and feel like a lot for them. So, the fact that they show up and enjoy the time we have together indicates that our sessions are a great change of pace from the rest of their day.”
What do you hope Symposium attendees will learn about and take away from the event?
TiElla Grimes: “I hope they understand that they are a part of the collective community and they have power to take action and support voices who are usually marginalized based on their intersecting identities (e.g., race, gender, etc.). F.Y.R.E. at the core means a fierce you(th) reigniting excellence and that requires courage to be your authentic self, ability to self-advocate and advocate on behalf of your community. I hope they will walk away from the intergenerational dialogues understanding the importance of being able to listen to each other, knowing we are each the expert of our own experience and we each have our own unique contribution to make to society as change-makers. And most importantly, I hope our Igniters and other gxrls feel ignited and empowered to be change-makers and that their imagination is sparked! I think it is so important for our gxrls to see representation of women who look like them who are change-makers and trailblazers who have and continue to bring their dreams to life.”
Caiana Luse: “I truly hope that the symposium attendees will take away that we all hold a lot more power than we think especially when in solidarity of community and that all people, in particular women of color, should be working together and subsequently be more willing to support whoever that needs it, especially those belonging to underserved communities.”
Don’t miss the Symposium’s most exciting highlights:
- A poem performed by a F.Y.R.E. Igniter;
- Our keynote address will be presented by Portia Blunt, Vice President of Apparel at Reebok and a major advocate for racial equity within the footwear industry;
- Also hear from Beth Chandler, YW Boston President and CEO, and Representative Liz Miranda, former community organizer and State Representative for the 5th Suffolk District;
- A youth panel entitled “Navigating COVID-19 and the impact on the social and emotional wellness of Black and Brown Gxrls”;
- Intergenerational table talks which will bring event guests together to discuss topics such as social-emotional health, the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on youth, and financial empowerment;
- F.Y.R.E. Igniters sharing the impact the program;
- A celebration of those who completed the F.Y.R.E. program;
- And much more!
You are invited to join the first-ever F.Y.R.E. Symposium.
June 5, 2021
11:00AM – 3:00PM
Free of cost
About YW Boston’s F.Y.R.E. Initiative
With the F.Y.R.E. Initiative, launched in the Fall of 2019, YW Boston facilitators conduct a 12-15-week leadership development series for girls grades 6th through 9th. The series brings together social justice education, positive identity development, and civic engagement, culminating in small group civics projects. This model takes place in schools or Out of School Time programs, and it is developed to operate in a “girls group” structure rather than a traditional classroom structure. Core to the program is an effort to provide experiential learning opportunities and dialogue to build understanding and increase social-emotional learning.