Our Sisters’ House is a Tacoma nonprofit organization aiming to reduce domestic violence, particularly by targeting gaps in service for Black and African American women and children. However, they also have quite an extensive array of youth programs.
“In Pierce County, there are several mainstream domestic violence agencies but only OSH is able to provide culturally specific advocacy and services to African American women and their families.”
Claire Gerard and Khamille Jei, who both work with the Tacoma nonprofit, agree that their own experiences make them passionate about domestic violence advocacy, and that their lived experiences inspire them to do what they do. Claire, an Americorps member, specifies, “I feel like it’s my job as someone who’s made it out to help other people come out of it as well.”
Beyond the Bell
Our Sisters’ House is one of many providers working to provide enriching activities that support social and emotional learning for youth in Tacoma Public Schools through Beyond the Bell Programming. Beyond the Bell and Club B support students at the elementary and middle school levels, respectively, and partner with Greentrike in order to serve students and their families better and closer to their homes.
Our Sisters’ House uses this space to talk to the youth there about media literacy, social media, and healthy relationships.
Claire and Khamille both agree that the best part about the Beyond the Bell programming, for them, was watching the children expand emotionally and participate more in activities as time went on.
“I think the biggest thing for me is seeing the changes in the youth,” Khamille says. “Since we’ve done the program, some of their relationships with each other and then with us have really grown within a short time span. So that’s always great to see. And also, just as time went on with this last session, you could see that the youth in our program were definitely expanding emotionally, and they were participating a lot more.”
Register for Programming
Families – don’t forget to register your student for Beyond the Bell or Club B activities through the COMPASS app! For details, visit BeyondTheBellTacoma.org.
Become a Provider
We invite partners to join us in the after-school space. Interested in making a lasting impact on the lives of children and youth in our community by bringing enriching afterschool programs and activities to students in Tacoma Public Schools? Consider becoming a provider with us! Visit our Out of School Time Intermediary page or Contact Us to inquire about becoming a provider.
For younger friends, Vibe Check is part of the nonprofit’s Healthy Relationships program, geared more towards elementary school children. According to Khamille, “it’s taking [the idea of relationships] out of healthy relationships in the form of ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ and bringing it back down to healthy relationships in general when it comes to family, friends, and how to build those positive relationships.”
Another program that Our Sisters’ House has been building to support the wellbeing of youth is their Mental Education Diversity and Inclusion Alliance, or M.E.D.I.A. Clubhouse. This program serves high school age youth by teaching media literacy through a cultural lens and uses different artistic topics about how media influences mental health and wellness, how to be safe on social media, and the different ways that social media conditions us to think in a certain way.
Some ways that they do this is through Mental Health Workshops and Ifokanbale, or Peace Meetings, during which they incorporate traditional African cultural practices, such as the telling of African folktales, to reflect and engage in constructive and respectful dialogue.
To learn more about Media Clubhouse, view the catalog, request to join the Discord server, and more, visit linktr.ee/oursistershousemediaclubhouse.