This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
17 May, 2017

Change The Narrative: Focusing on the Strengths of Young Women of Color

By | 2017-05-17T01:28:55+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Categories: Reproductive Justice|Tags: , |0 Comments

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Over a year ago, I was invited to join a New York City-based initiative to provide recommendations on improving the health and lived experiences of New York City young  women of color.  In one of our first meetings, we were asked to identify the struggles that young women of color face in the city. With flip chart papers labeled as “reproductive health”, “education”, “access to physical exercise”, and others, we divided  into groups and developed lists of things we felt were impacting young women of color negatively.

When we were done, each flip chart was filled to capacity. It seemed good because we were able to identify so much that we can pull from related to providing recommendations to the city. But as I looked around the room at the other flip charts, I felt incredibly drained. “What are the solutions to all of this?” I asked myself.

I’m glad I wasn’t alone in my concerns, because another person in the room made a crucial observation: First, we were a room full of adults, and while we may work with (or do research on) young women of color and have a pulse on what the issues may be, we’re nowhere near being youth. Second:

There's danger in focusing solely on what's wrong with young women of color. This leads to fear-based solutions. Click To Tweet

It’s draining to focus on what’s wrong, especially when those problems are highlighted within your communities or within the communities you serve or ally with.

This isn’t to say that we should turn a blind eye to the challenges facing our communities. But what if there’s a better way?

What if we identified not only the problems, but the ways in which young women of color show resiliency? What if we asked young women of color to show us what the solutions are?

(more…)

22 May, 2014

Program Evaluation for Women and Girls of Color: Develop The Evaluation Questions You Want To Answer

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 May 22nd, 2014|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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This is part three in a four-part series on program evaluation, dedicated to organizations and businesses that provide programs and services for women, girls, and communities of color (and for people with an interest in evaluation practice). Throughout this month, I will be discussing certain aspects of evaluation practice –from how I became interested in evaluation, myths about evaluation, knowing what type of evaluation to perform, and bringing your community together to support evaluation – with the intent on highlighting the importance of evaluation not just from a funding perspective, but from an accountability and empowerment perspective.

So far, we’ve discussed some possible “WHYs” of evaluation practice (from the benefits of evaluating your programs and services, seeing if the objectives of your program or service is currently meeting the needs of your participants, to looking at the misconceptions of evaluation and how they can affect your work). Now, let’s switch gears and focus on WHAT you’re evaluating and WHEN to evaluate. This part of the series is trickier than the others, but I want to touch on the basics so that you have a working knowledge on this important part of evaluation. This is by no means complete list. If you have a question about anything in particular (logic models, strategic plans, etc.) or would like me to give more examples of this week’s topic, please let me know in the comments below and I can follow-up with additional blog posts outside of this series.

What Are You Evaluating?

In order to get to your destination, you need to know where you’re going. In order to do this, we need to develop a strategy that will guide you in how you will look at your data. This will help you determine if your producing the results you’re expecting. This is where evaluation questions come in. An evaluation question helps you look at your data to see if your program or service is producing its intended objectives.

There are two types of evaluation questions: a process evaluation question and a results-focused question. A process question wants to know how the program is functioning. How a program functions depends on a variety of factors, such as the length of the program, the number of participants, the activities being offered in the program, how the participants interpret ad interact to the activities, and so forth. In other words, the who, what, when, and how of the program’s implementation. Process questions are especially useful when you’re in the beginning stages of planning your program; however, they can be asked throughout the program so that you’re always thinking ahead and adjusting your program’s implementation.

A result-focused question, on the other hand, wants to know if the program is accomplishing the results you’re expecting. In other words, how effective is your program, and are your participants benefiting from the program in the way you’ve intended? Results-focused questions typically follow the completion of a program.

Now that we know more about the types of evaluation questions, let’s look at when each question comes into play. (more…)

14 May, 2014

Program Evaluation for Women & Girls of Color: 7 Reasons Why Evaluation is Intimidating

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 May 14th, 2014|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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This is part two in a four-part series on program evaluation, dedicated to organizations and businesses that provide programs and services for women, girls, and communities of color (and for people with an interest in evaluation practice). Throughout this month, I will be discussing certain aspects of evaluation practice –from how I became interested in evaluation, myths about evaluation, knowing what type of evaluation to perform, and bringing your community together to support evaluation – with the intent on highlighting the importance of evaluation not just from a funding perspective, but from an accountability and empowerment perspective.

You know that feeling you get when you’re sitting across from your supervisor during your annual job performance review? You think you’re doing a great job, you’re engaging with your co-workers, your projects are completed on time, and you manage your time well. Your supervisor agrees with you and talks glowingly about your performance, but then proceeds to give recommendations on “ways to improve”.

And now you’re uncomfortable. We all believe that we can handle constructive criticism, but who wants to hear how they’re not doing well? And we already know what improvements need to be made! They’re supposed to make us a better worker. Your supervisor gives you this list of things you need to improve on, and tells you that she would like to check in with you to see how you’re doing. You walk out of her office, feeling frustrated. You see what isn’t going well, and are too self conscious to ask how to improve. With “ways to improve” come concerns that if you don’t measure up, you’re reprimanded, you don’t get your raise, you’re demoted, or you’re let go.

Or…you welcome the challenge. You still feel a little uncomfortable, because it’s human nature to want others to see us at our best. But you already knew which areas you needed to work on but weren’t sure how to go about it, and you’re glad that your supervisor is providing you with concrete ways to do so. You ask your supervisor to provide you with more resources, trainings, literature, and other tools that can help you out as well. She even offers to provide you with additional support by checking in on a monthly basis to see where you are in your improvements. You begin to feel more confident, and your quality of work improves.

This is an example in how shifting your mindset can bring about a better outcome. And our mindset is what Part Two is about.

Last week in Part One, I shared what I believe are common concerns that go through the minds of nonprofit, agency, and business staff when it comes to evaluating a program or service.

… You’re tasked to carry out an evaluation and you don’t know where to begin. You lack the staff capacity needed to carry out an evaluation, or you want to build the capacity and are leery of hiring an external evaluator or don’t have the money in your budget to hire an internal evaluation staff member. When the evaluation is finally completed, you’re disappointed because the results you receive aren’t what you were expecting, and now you have to report it to your stakeholders and your funders. You’re trying to meet the expectations of the people you’re serving and also the expectations of your stakeholders and funders, and you feel that you’re at the mercy of an entity that can end your organization’s work, especially if a good portion of your funding comes from a primary source.

It’s a lot to think about, which can make it very easy to approach program evaluation with a “Why do we need to do this again?” mindset.

And just like how you feel as you sit across from your supervisor, how we look at program evaluation determines how successful we’re going to be at monitoring and evaluating our own programs and services, or being successful at working with an external evaluator. (more…)

8 May, 2014

Program Evaluation for Women and Girls of Color: How I Developed My Passion for Evaluation Practice

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 May 8th, 2014|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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This is part one in a four-part series on program evaluation, dedicated to organizations and businesses that provide programs and services for women, girls, and communities of color (and for people with an interest in evaluation practice). Throughout this month, I will be discussing certain aspects of evaluation practice –from how I became interested in evaluation, myths about evaluation, knowing what type of evaluation to perform, and bringing your community together to support evaluation – with the intent on highlighting the importance of evaluation not just from a funding perspective, but from an accountability and empowerment perspective.

Outside of being a licensed social worker and an activist, what’s lesser known about me is that I’m a program evaluator. In fact, program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation are the focal point of my consulting business, and it’s what I studied primarily in my social work graduate program.

Admittedly, evaluation doesn’t sound as trendy compared to activism or even social work. It just sounds like a bunch of data collection and analysis, meetings with staff and stakeholders, presenting evaluation findings, and writing reports. Tedious and boring stuff that not many people pay attention to. (These are also key components of evaluation practice, and I’ll speak more about them in next week’s post.)

I’ve also noticed that when I talk about aspects of my work, I lightly touch on evaluation because most audiences I’ve spoken to have been more interested in the social work or activist side of me. So, to start off this series, I wanted to share with you how I got started in evaluation practice, what I enjoy most about it, how having a sound evaluation practice can lead to more funding and community support for your programs and services, and how it’s the glue that holds together my love for social work, activism, and working with women and girls of color. With this series, I’m giving program evaluation the spotlight it deserves. (more…)

10 Apr, 2014

Ask Nicole: “Why Do You Only Care About Women and Girls of Color?”

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 April 10th, 2014|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Do you have a question that other Raise Your Voice community members can benefit from? Contact me and I’ll answer it!

I recently received the following question from a woman who is interested in starting her own nonprofit:

Hello, Nicole.  I am very impressed with your blog and I enjoy reading it for more ways to get inspiration.

I’m interested in creating a nonprofit organization for teen girls, focusing on empowerment, education, and sports. I am Latina, and while I enjoy working with young Latinas, I’m wondering if I should focus my business around working with all teen girls, regardless of race or ethnicity. I see that your business focuses exclusively on women and young women of color. Do you ever get asked, “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” Do you ever feel that you may be limiting yourself? I feel that if I create a business that focuses on all teen girls I will look more attractive to potential clients and will be able to grow my business more quickly, but if I focus on Latina teens, I would feel that I have more of an investment beyond getting paid for my services. I believe deep down that I know what I should do, but I don’t want to limit myself. And I’m afraid of overextending myself.

Thank you again for your inspiration! I look forward to your reply.

This is a really great question, and I’m happy to answer it!

I’ve been asked “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” in a variety of ways for a long time. I think the first time I was asked was years ago, long before I could even envision what my business would look like today. But instead of being asked by a woman, I was being asked by men, who wanted to know what makes women and girls of color more important than working with entire communities of color. I was given advice on how I can include more men and young boys of color into what I wanted to do, how young men and boys of color “have it worse” compared to young women and girls of color, and how communities of color needed someone like me to provide inspiration to all young people, not just young girls of color. I’ve also be questioned on why I, as a Black woman, focus on all women and girls of color and not just Black women and girls.

(It’s always interesting how people who have the most ideas on what you need to do, never seem to have the time or interest in making these improvements themselves. But that’s another matter!)

I’ll answer this question in three parts: 1) Why I’m invested in all women and girls of color, 2) the benefits of creating a niche and 3) the fear of limiting yourself:

Like our reader, I’m invested in women and girls of color because I am one. While I don’t doubt that men and boys of color need services that cater to their needs, and while I believe that want I do as a program evaluator and speaker can lent themselves into working with men and boys of color, I tend to point interested people to organizations and people I know who are doing the work of providing services for men and boys of color (and to the organizations that serve them). I don’t believe that women and girls are superior than men and boys. My life experience as a girl of color and now as a woman of color just lends itself more to wanting to devote my time to improving the quality of life for women and girls of color in any way I can. Also, I feel that what I do with program evaluation and speaking works great for all organizations that provide services for women and girls of color. It helps me to be more culturally competent and helps me to recognize the strengths of all women and girls of color, not just Black women and girls. Communities of color are resourceful and there are many people (regardless of gender) who are on the ground offering their perspectives, talents, and insights that we are the better for.  (more…)