Problem & Opportunity

Education. Mentoring. 

According to a 2012 report jointly published by the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and the African American Policy Forum entitled: Black Girls Matter-Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Under Protected, “Black girls receive more severe sentences when they enter the juvenile justice system than do members of any other group of girls, and they are also the fastest-growing population in the system. Despite these troubling trends, there is very little research highlighting the short and long-term effects of over discipline and pushout on girls of color.”  


In other words, while we are very aware that disproportionate trauma is being visited upon young black girls at alarming rates, attention is not being paid to the long term effects, which can only mean adequate supports and solutions are not being brought forth to not only help the trauma but create cultures that prevent it in the first place.  


The dual strategy of education and mentoring (EM) is the key to the program’s design and the framework used to-create solutions to this alarming problem with the most important partners at the table, the girls themselves.   


Black. Girls. Empowered.

Black Girls (EM) Power is a YMAN initiative aiming to increase the education and mentoring opportunities for Black girls. This initiative brings Black girls into focus as we listen to them, make deeper connections with them, and provide opportunities and resources informed by them. 


Recognizing that Black girls are an under-served population, we aim to advocate alongside them for their needs in schools and communities, produce research briefs focusing on their unique perspectives around mentoring and education, and will work to increase their participation in beneficial programs around the region.

Meet The Team


Torie Weiston-Serdan

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Torie is a scholar and practitioner with over 13 years of teaching and youth programming experience. She is also author of an internationally renowned book called; Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide. 


Isabella Chavez

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Isabella is a YMAN alumnus and former scholarship winner. She currently oversees all of our programs and provides LGBTQ+ technical training assistance for organizations internationally.


Wendy Whitmore

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Wendy is a licensed MFT with over 15 years of experience working with couples, families, children, adolescents, and individuals seeking treatment for depression, survivors of trauma (abuse) and life adjustments.  

We're Raising $1 Million With 4 Big Goals

Provide education and mentoring programs for Black women and girls that include, academic support, health and wellness, career exploration, intergenerational dialogue, and international exchange.

Conduct research on the personal, mentoring and educational experience of Black women and girls to amplify narratives and identify best practices in service.

Establish a summer travel program for Black women and girls to include Ghana and the United Kingdom. 

Establish an international center for women and girls of the diaspora located in Ghana. 

Unique Value Proposition

Since its inception in 2007, the Youth Mentoring Action Network has ensured that 95% of students who completed their program attended college. 100% of YMAN alumni who enroll in college, graduate.


This success rate is across all demographics (Black, Latinx, LGBTQ) served by the program and is credited, in large part, to YMAN’s laser focus on serving the holistic needs of their students, especially those that pertain to culture and identity, while providing intensive, personalized academic support to a population of students in that only make it to college at less than half of that rate in the state of California, and roughly 40% of that rate in the Inland Empire. 


YMAN now seeks to replicate this success at scale with a specific focus on the key demographic of students at the greatest risk for academic disengagement, over-discipline, and underrepresentation, African American girls.


With Us