In her six and a half years at the Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP), Shreya Janssens-Sannon has dramatically changed the way the organization operates. She was hired in the summer of 2003 to facilitate a class of her own design as part of SNLP’s summer programming. Competing with more than 120 other candidates for the summer teaching position, it was the powerful and unique class she had designed—“Power, Identity, and Privilege”—that would give her the edge.
The class had a remarkable impact on both the youth taking it and on the organization itself. The curriculum reflected the fundamental issues that SNLP attempts to address throughout all their programs: It offered young women an extraordinary opportunity to examine their identities, their experiences, and the realities of oppression and injustice in society. The class also gave young women a chance to explore different types of power, concepts of solidarity, and case studies of resistance and leadership, developing in them in them a commitment to advocate for social justice in their lives and communities.
“Power, Identity, and Privilege” swiftly became the first class participants were required to take during the summer programming and soon thereafter, Shreya joined the staff at SNLP as a co-Program Director, placed in charge of launching a new fellowship for young women. The ELLA Fellowship calls on participants to Engage, Learn, Lead, and Act in the spirit of the social justice leader Ella Baker. Fellows carry out 9-month projects that focus on bettering the communities they live in. Like Shreya’s class, the fellowship has been an outstanding success and serves as another clear demonstration of her commitment to the youth she serves and her constant efforts to help young women reach new heights of personal achievement.