Core Values:

  • Sisterhood/ Siblinghood
  • Social Justice
  • Self-Determination
  • Spirituality.

Guiding Principles:

  • Young Women are fierce and powerful experts, leaders and partners in all our work. We believe that formerly incarcerated, girls and young women of color, young women living in poverty, young mothers, transgender women, men and youth, gender non-conforming and queer women are best positioned to inform, guide and manage the development of YWFC and to transform the world.
  • Fighting Oppression is central to a process of healing. We believe that to heal, young women need to recognize, understand and be prepared to dismantle the systems of oppression that affect their lives and fight for social justice.
  • Grounding in our cultural and spiritual beliefs and traditions are essential to achieving a sense of self-determination. We expect, invite and support young women in bringing their whole selves to their work at YWFC. We demand that young women have opportunities to develop emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in culturally appropriate environments.
  • The power of sisterhood is limitless. We believe in young women supporting, challenging and nurturing each other to heal, thrive and be advocates for change. We believe every young woman has the capacity to become a leader.
  • Every young woman has the right to the support, access, and opportunities needed to achieve her potential. We believe that in order for young women, who have experienced oppression, violence, discrimination and exploitation to step into their and have agency over their own lives, they must be supported in safe environments to grow and heal.

Core Methodology:

  • Leadership of those most Impacted: We believe that those most impacted by incarceration and other forms of intimate, community and State violence to be best informed and positioned to lead efforts to end cycles of violence and incarceration and build the alternatives that create individual and collective safety, well-being and justice
  • Harm Reduction: We meet people where they are at and reduce harm while building agency to make positive change
  • Economic Self-Sufficiency: We believe that for girls, women and TGNC youth and adults to escape cycles of violence, exploitation and incarceration we need economic opportunities and independence
  • Decriminalization, Decarceration & Abolition: We are committed to contributing to a world in which prisons, jails, probation, parole, monitoring and family separation is not necessary and in which they are replaced with community-based alternatives
  • Gender Justice & Liberation: All of our work (programming, campaigns, decision making, organizational structure, and culture) is grounded and informed by our own and others experiences as cis and trans women and girls and gender non-conforming people. We challenge the patriarchal structures in our own lives and collectively as an organization – by deepening our collective analysis, operating in our own innate brilliance, and challenging patriarchal structures and systems that oppress women, girls and TGNC people.
  • Education as a Practice of Freedom: Our lived experiences are a political framework for examining and understanding the world – individually and collectively – through a political, social, economic, spiritual, and historical lens. Through this process we develop our critical consciousness, build personal and collective power, and begin to heal from historical trauma. This framework is how we teach, learn, develop programs and engage with each other.
  • People-Centered & Transformative Leadership: A deep recognition of a non-linear personal transformative process that is ongoing and has the ability to transform along the way. “My own transformative journey is different than my sisters.” Its recognizing that the journey itself is core to how we want to transform. Transformative experiences, coupled with opportunities, support, and access to resources, increase girls, women and TGNC’s self-determination.
  • Transformative Justice: We are committed to addressing incidences of intimate and community harm in ways that transform the conditions that create violence and injustice and that do not leverage State violence against our people, families and communities
  • Healing-Centered: We acknowledge our resilience and strength with which we have survived and work to transform the collective, intergenerational and individual trauma that drives a lot of our choices, behavior and harm we experience and do and seek healing that gives us more choice to build safe, healthy, self-determined lives

1. YWFC defines ‘formerly incarcerated and system involved’ as having experienced incarceration and/or life on the streets. Additionally, having been impacted by systems including ICE/Immigration, Foster care, Child Protective Services (CPS), Probation, Public Housing, Welfare, etcetera.

2. YWFC specifically supports and lifts up the voices, experiences and leadership of cis- and gender non-conforming girls and women and transgender youth, women and men. Throughout this document we use girls, women and TGNC people as short for these specific populations.