YWCA Greater Charleston launches Toastmasters Art Edition for high school girls

May 30, 2019

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.



For 111 years, YWCA Greater Charleston has worked to eliminate racism and empower women in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties. A historic local association of YWCA USA, one of America’s oldest and largest multicultural women’s organizations, it seeks to create opportunities for personal growth, leadership, and economic development for women, girls, and people of color. Its annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration is one of Charleston’s longest running events, predating Spoleto Festival USA and other events. One of the first MLK tributes in the nation, today it attracts thousands of celebrants each year. In 2016 YWCA Greater Charleston brought the first Girls Who Code club for middle school girls to Charleston; its subsequent Y Girls Code program has since expanded to nine clubs across elementary, middle, and high school age groups. In 2017, it brought the Racial Equity Institute, an ongoing training program, to Charleston to help local leaders understand and address racism in their communities. And in 2018, it introduced What Women Bring, an annual power lunch attended by sold-out audiences of hundreds to celebrate and empower South Carolina’s women in business, community, and culture. For more information, visit ywcagc.org.


Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization with a membership of more than 357,000 people in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, it has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. For more information, visit www.toastmasters.org.


The Gibbes Museum of Art is recognized among the oldest arts organizations in the United States. Housing one of the foremost collections of American art from the 18th century to the present, its mission is to enhance lives through art by engaging people of every background and experience with art and artists of enduring quality and by providing opportunities to learn, discover, enjoy, and be inspired by the creative process. For more information, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org.


A landmark traveling exhibition created by the American Federation of Arts in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, Black Refractions surveys close to a century of creative achievements by artists of African descent and is the first traveling exhibition in 25 years from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection. The Gibbes’ showing of the collection will include over 70 works by more than 50 artists across all media. For more information, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org/news/the-gibbes-museum-of-art-to-exhibit-black-refractions-highlights-from-the-studio-museum-in-harlem.