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Nearly five months after launching the Progress Center for Black Women, Sabrina “HeyMiss Progress” Madison, has been cooking up several new initiatives as well as revamping some staple events.

One of the center’s upcoming events is a Yoga series for middle and high school girls.

Madison says she is frequently sought after to address issues of behavior and support for Black girls after an incident has already taken place, but she wanted to be more proactive.

“I’ve never provided a resource on what girls can do with their anger, their anxiety, and trauma,” she said. “I hear about mindfulness and trauma-informed care and I knew I could get people in a space and get yoga mats.”

The classes will be offered to middle school students from Sherman and Cherokee Heights and high school students from Memorial and Lafollete, schools in the Madison school district where Madison says she gets the most requests. Mothers of participants are also welcomed to join.

“I think for this group of girls we’re not addressing a way to help them know how to manage themselves in a holistic way,” she said.

Progress has been collecting new and gently used yoga mats over the past few weeks for the event. So far she has collected 120 of her goal of 200.

“Sometimes we put things on, but we don’t provide the tools,” she said. “We can’t say we’re going to do yoga for the girls and the girls get home and don’t have a yoga mat.”

Mats can be dropped off on the second floor the Urban League at 2222 S. Park St. or the second floor of Adorable at 122 E. Main St.

The classes will begin in April and be followed by a debrief with participants tô determine what they’d like to see moving forward.

“I could very well plan for a series of classes but I prefer to hear from the girls on what they want,” Progress said.

Also new is the center’s entrepreneur boot camp which will take place in August in partnership with Madison College.

The boot camp will take place every Saturday in August and teach website design and management skills, media relations and social media advertising.

Progress will host another summer Black Business Expo July 21, this time in conjunction with the Urban League’s Unity Picnic. The expo will highlight 50 Black entrepreneurs to celebrate the Urban League’s 50th Anniversary.

The Black Women’s Leadership Conference on May 17 and 18 this year featuring Ted style talks, fireside chats, panels, and some surprise keynote speakers. Registration for the conference is already open.

With the expanding programming, Madison is also looking to fill advisory committee roles in the areas of web development, content development, fundraising, volunteer coordination, and media and grant writing.

“One of things I wanted to do with the center is work for Black women,” she said. “So I quit my job two years ago to work for Black women, I’ve been pretty honest about that and it’s been happening.”

Written by Jordan Gaines

Jordan Gaines

Jordan Gaines is a cultural critic and Madison365 contributor.

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