About Us

Identifying the Need

Sixth grade girls graduate from familiar, smaller elementary schools. As they enter seventh grade, they are scattered throughout the Rochester City Schools and placed in large, unfamiliar high school settings. This new environment introduces many complex challenges that require preparation beyond academics.

Ladies Attaining Self-Sufficiency, (LASS), is a program designed to guide sixth-grade girls at the Rochester City School #35. School can be a battlefield, widespread with intense peer pressure, competition, and judgment. The LASS initiative has been developed to stem the escalation of female aggression and inappropriate interactions with adults and peers.

LASS is a bold plan to foster alternative options as mentored and taught by known and respected teachers and volunteers in the building. LASS has the life-changing potential to impact and strengthen pre-teen girls at this impressionable, vulnerable time in their lives. Through discussion and activities, participants in LASS will be better prepared to transition from sixth-grade girls to seventh-grade young ladies.

About LASS

LASS is an after-school based, gender-specific, teacher-volunteer initiative that is designed to supplement formal education. The initiative focuses on increasing positive identity, breaking down social barriers, encouraging cultural exchange and understanding, and defining personal values. LASS members represent a variety of backgrounds, but they share a common interest to make the most of their future. The creative team of credentialed teachers and volunteers engage participants in themed topics, and provide emotional support and guidance.

A tailored youth-development curriculum, written by founding members, concentrates on self-sufficiency skills:

  • Long-Term Goals (education, interesting work/career, family)
  • Life Skills (economic literacy, nutrition, etiquette, and activities of daily living)
  • Critical Thinking (decision making, literacy)
  • Personal Affirmation (negotiating relationships, building character, developing a positive identity)

Developing these skills helps girls assess negative options that may lead to substance abuse, physical confrontation, high-risk behavior, and juvenile delinquency.

In early October, every sixth-grade girl at School #35 may apply to LASS. Approximately twenty students will be selected. Acceptance is based on a teacher recommendation, parental/guardian approval, and the student's willingness to commit to mandatory attendance.

The LASS initiative strives to provide a safe and accepting environment, encourage self-confidence and support authenticity in relationships with peers, family, and other members of society.

Volunteers and guest speakers are recruited to help support these activities. An event at the end of the program is planned and executed by LASS participants to celebrate their successes and demonstrate the skills they have acquired.