To honor the lifetime achievement, we have created a program called “Girls Shine” dedicated to Ms. Johnson’s memory.  She will continue to inspire our work in the community as we uplift young girls here in Pittsburgh. We are proud of the work Ms. Katie has done and are dedicated to continuing her powerful legacy.   Click here to read her entire legacy.


  • Effective strategies designed to encourage girls to reach their academic, social and historical and leadership potential.
  • Offers a set of developmental tasks relating to academic, physical, cognitive, self-care, social, and emotional benchmarks through which the girls demonstrate progress as a part of their appropriate development. These benchmarks demonstrate behaviors that inspire and challenge girls to become life-long learners.
  • Embraces three levels of transformational engagement and five measurable elements of transformation.


“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and had to make good.”  --Oprah Winfrey



  • Aligning the supports needed for African Americans girls with caring female adults to help guide and support them through their personal experiences.
  • The “collective coaching” concept uses a “Village Model” instead of a one-on-one mentoring model. The girls, “Villagers”, are supported during a very challenging time in their growth and development, by competent and caring facilitators, who offer age-appropriate, structured activities in a nurturing environment.


  • Developing one’s personal direction, guidance, self-confidence and power to create change as an African American leader.
  • Transformational leadership is an approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. Enacted in its authentic form, transformational leadership enhances the motivation, morale and performance of followers through a variety of mechanisms.


  • Cultivating cultural responsive needs as it relates to the growth and plight of African American girls, women and families.
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy is a centered approach to teaching in which the person’s unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote achievement and a sense of well-being about the person’s cultural place in the world.


  • Structured Learning Experiences
    Structured Learning Experience (SLE) for middle & high school age girls are experiential, supervised, in-depth learning experiences designed to offer girls the opportunity to more fully explore life and personal interests within one or more settings.
  • Collaboration and Partnership
    Collaborative partnerships with community organizations inform and support project objectives for girls and share resources to accomplish mutual goals, resources such as finances, knowledge, and people.
  • Expanded Horizons
    Monthly excursions intended to open the minds of girls to greater opportunities. Exposure to universities, governmental operations, STEM engagements and cultural and business communities where girls become aware of resources and options.
  • Training's/Workshops
    In order to offer focused examination of personal and social challenges that can lead to self-confidence, positive social and emotional behaviors, and empowerment. Girls get into action, practicing behaviors and styles of communication that augment their growth and inspire them to reach beyond their perceived limits.
  • Annual Retreat
    Includes team-building, self-esteem enhancement, developmental and recreational activities. Girls participate in a two (2) day educational and social excursion that begins Friday evening and continues all day Saturday and ends Sunday afternoon.


  • Individualized Consideration
    Mentor listens and attends to the girls’ concerns and needs. The Mentor gives empathy and support, keeps communication open and places challenges before the girls.
  • Intellectual Stimulation
    Mentor challenges assumptions, takes risks and solicits girls’ ideas. Mentor stimulates and encourages creativity in their girls. They nurture and develop girls to think independently as well as collectively.
  • Inspirational Motivation
    Mentor articulates a vision that is appealing and inspiring to girls. Mentor inspires, motivates, and challenges girls with high standards, communicates optimism about future goals, and provides meaning for the task at hand.
  • Idealized Influence
    Mentor acts as a role model for high ethical behavior, instills pride, gains respect and trust. The Mentor provides the energy that drives a group forward. The visionary aspects are supported by communication skills that make the vision understandable, precise, powerful and engaging to the girls.

For more information about the Girls's S.H.I.N.E. Program, please contact:

Michelle Weaver
Program Manager
412-665-2810 ext. 217

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