YWCA Greater Charleston Launches Toastmasters Art Edition for High School Girls

Black Refractions traveling exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art – photo credit MCG Photography

YWCA Greater Charleston has launched its second Toastmasters Youth Leadership program for high school girls. Part of the nonprofit’s Career Success Series for women and girls, the free, five-week program will begin on June 11.  

Following YWCA Greater Charleston’s inaugural Toastmasters International Youth Leadership program held in the autumn of 2018, this edition of the program will also teach participating girls communication and leadership skills designed to help them succeed in college and career, including evaluating their speaking ability, preparing and giving speeches, controlling their voices and gestures, and giving and receiving constructive feedback. 

This new summer edition will have a twist: it will focus on girls interested in art. A collaboration between YWCA Greater Charleston and the Gibbes Museum of Art, it will also expand participants’ knowledge of art and history.  

Each high school girl accepted into the program will attend twice-weekly small group workshops from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Gibbes Museum of Art in downtown Charleston at 135 Meeting Street, with a final one-hour presentation taking place on July 14 at 2:30 p.m. Each participant will select a work of art from the traveling exhibition Black Refractions: Highlights of the Studio Museum in Harlem and create a tour and presentation to deliver to her family, facilitators, peers, and interested members of the public. 

This art collection (pictured) will reside in Charleston at the Gibbes Museum from May 24 to August 18, 2019 as one of only six venues across the U.S. and the only Southeastern site on its tour. 

Djuanna Brockington, women’s empowerment coordinator at YWCA Greater Charleston, is excited about the opportunity the program will bring to girls. “Communication and leadership skills are so important in a successful school and work career, and this mix of art and girls learning to express themselves well can have such an impact on their lives,” she said.  

“It’s all about the idea of girls becoming confident enough to take the lead, to be front and center as a junior docent, and to be able to tell others about a piece from this remarkable African American collection, its artist, and its history and social background,” she said.  

The program is free of charge but limited to the first 15 high school girls who sign up. To be eligible, girls must be at least 14 years old and have completed the eighth grade, have access to a reliable means of transportation to and from the Gibbes Museum, possess a passion for learning and the willingness to work with diverse audiences of all ages, and have a love for art and a desire to serve the public through art education. 

To apply, girls or their parents should contact Djuanna Brockington at [email protected] or 843.722.1644.

To schedule an interview or to visit the final presentation on July 14, members of the media should also contact Djuanna Brockington at [email protected] or 843.722.1644. 


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