Sisters for Success(S4S) is a club that was formed 21 years ago by Ruth Ann Gaines, a former East High School teacher, and along with other African American women. According to McCombs Middle School, the club supports students from diverse cultural backgrounds who are willing to strive for positive self-development and leadership in their communities. The girls join the club in middle school, which supports them through high school, up until they graduate. It also helps the girls prepare for college and makes sure they have a path for their careers.
Why S4S should be offered at all DMPS
S4S is sponsored by DMPS. Students need this club provided to them throughout junior high until they graduate.
“I think it’s very important that it’s incorporated in middle and high school. We should be taught the things we learn in S4S at a younger age because we have more time to allow it to shape and mature us before we really start to settle into who we are as people,” sophomore Lyric Sellers said.
Every club at East should be paid attention to especially clubs that represents such a large majority of students.
“Although I’m graduating this year, I hope to see it back in the future. I’m not surprised because it wasn’t taken seriously and I’m not saying by students but by staff and the school. It should be advertised and encouraged. I feel like clubs should be advertised just as big as sports are,” senior Damaris Nelson.
East is lucky to have S4S as a club for their students but what about the other schools? All girls of color that attend DMPS schools should have the opportunity to join the club because it provides them a foundation and creates positivity for the girls to look up to.
“We live in a world that speaks negatively about women all the time so having a group of girls who you can lean on is necessary for a healthy self-esteem. All women should treat each other like sisters and S4S lays out the foundations for healthy friendships,” Hiatt Student Engagement Coordinator Kayla O’Connor said.
Importance of S4S for girls of color
“It was a way for the African American kids to all come together and discuss about programs to sign up for. We also toured colleges, wrote essays and talked about scholarship opportunities,” sophomore Shukri Abdirahman said.
The club not only helps with supporting the students with college, but it also gives young women a voice to make an impact on the world.
“As students grow older, they need to learn new things about how to excel in these areas of their life. It is also a good way for students to build a positive sisterhood to build each other up and be more connected with other strong women in their school,” East high school coordinator Antonia Valadez said.
Working well and communicating with people is a big way of how our society works, so it’s important to have those life skills set.
“In middle school I was voted president of Sisters 4 Success after being the new girl at only my second meeting. From there on out, I carried that leadership role and ambiance into every room I walk into. I am not the spokesperson for black women. No one is, nor can be. But I am confident that I do my part each and every day, to make people realize how dope black women really are,” Sellers said.
The students who join the club have a sort of pride because they are with people just like them and they can all work together to help their communities.
How does not having a club like S4S at their school impact students of color?
It does not only affect students at East High School, but also young women of color at all DMPS schools are affected. According to Youth Mentor, there are 16 million students who are growing up without a mentor. That’s one out of every three young people who, outside of their home do not have a trusted adult or someone to give them guidance. For a while East didn’t have the club at their school, and it made students confused.
“I was sad it wasn’t at East anymore. I’m sad because it is such a wonderful organization and what better place than East, where we have hundreds of colored girls,” Nelson said.
East is known as second most diverse school in the DMPS district, which is a better place to keep the club.
“I think it is weird that we don’t have it at East, but some other schools had it. I don’t really see those girls anymore and this club was a way for us to meet and discuss,” Abdirahman said.
This club has much to offer from education and to helping the girls in the real world. It is a foundation and opportunity that young women of color should have the choice to join. Clubs like sisters for success are always booming and growing and it gives the girls essential tool which are need when you are a colored women growing up in America.