She is the Future
Project for Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE)

This International Women's Day, support WISE in our mission of empowering young women and girls.

Yu Ko grew up in the refugee camps of Thailand and moved to the United States when she was ten years old. Life was much different there. Restrictions were placed on where you could go and how much food you could have, and education was completely different. Yu Ko never thought that she would be able to get a chance to have an education and a job.

When Yu Ko landed in Minnesota, everything was foreign to her. The biggest barriers in her way were language and transportation. No one in her family spoke English or knew how to drive or navigate public transportation so they were completely dependent on their neighbors.

Flash forward to when Yu Ko starts school and hears about a program called Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership. She had heard from the older girls at school that that was where they learned English and decided that she was going to give it a try. Yu Ko along with some friends figured out how to use the public transportation system and make their way to Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership every Saturday.

At Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership, Yu Ko worked hard and learned English, grammar, and leadership skills. Yu Ko says that one of her favorite parts of the program was working on her writing skills and applying for scholarships. Her hard work paid off. She received all the scholarships she applied for!

Today, Yu Ko is a junior at Metro State and studying Human Services. Her experience with Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership and our college program, WeLead, has inspired her to work with others who are going through a similar experience. Yu Ko remembers how difficult it was when she first arrived and wants to help others as they transition to life in the United States.

Yu Ko is the future. This International Women’s Day donate to WISE so we can continue to empower young women and girls.

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