ESSENCE overview

The ESSENCE little sister program


The purpose of the E.S.S.E.N.C.E. Program is to create an opportunity for young women of color to intentionally participate in activities and relationships that work to improve on who participants are. This involves discussions, workshops, field trips, and service projects that relate to building a positive self-esteem, cultural identification, leadership abilities, and strengthening academic goals.

Structure of the Program:

Beginning June 8th, for three (3) weeks over the summer, ladies of E.S.S.E.N.C.E. will participate in a fairly intense series of workshops, discussions, projects, and field trips. This portion of the program is available at the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus. At the end of summer program, on June 26th, participants will be officially inducted into the program that will continue throughout participants’ 8th grade year. You will partner with the college-aged ladies of E.S.S.E.N.C.E. at the University of Louisville to continue the series of workshops, discussions, and activities that strengthens participants’ core. At the end of the year, young women in the program will participate in the evolution ceremony, which signifies their preparedness to move to the next phase of their life.

Understanding that change is difficult, the program provides the option for participants to continue in the program through their freshman year of high school. Participants would continue to work with UofL ladies of E.S.S.E.N.C.E. to support and guide them through the transition. The program will offer opportunities to demonstrate the skills gained during participants’ first year in the program through leadership roles, workshop facilitations, and self-constructed and implemented service projects. At the end of the second year, participants will officially graduate from the program.


One of the greatest benefits of being a part of the program is the knowledge of self-awareness, how individual actions impact others, and how to create change in the community. This self-awareness will not only delve into topics like body image, relationships, and issues of safety, but also lessons on Black history and culture as well as the contributions of Blacks in building America.

Participants will also gain experience. Through role-play, field trips, interviews and panel discussions, shadow opportunities, and guided responsibilities; participants will have an opportunity to be exposed to other successful Black females, demonstrate a new skill set, and visit new educational settings.