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 Your Sister's Project Inc     

 Congratulations Your Sister's Project, Inc
Recipient of the 2017 Woodson Center's Joseph Site Award
Awarded the Woodson Center 2016 Fellow
Welcome to Your Sister's Project, Inc. 

Thank you for stopping by Your Sister's Project's web site
We hope that you find our website enjoyable and informative 
Call Us at (412) 377-3358


YOUR SISTER'S PROJECT is often recognized in the media. Here are summaries of our latest accomplishments.

Shirley Muhammad Dedicated Black Woman


Written by Louis 'Hop' Kendrick   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 10:22
I met Shirley Muhammad a few years ago at several meetings that were focusing on solutions to problems that threaten the existence of Black families and communities.
Over those years she convinced me to become an active board member of Your Sisters Project, Inc. It was the first program that I joined in a number of years, because I don’t have the time.

Shirley explained that in 1994 the Nation of Islam had a convention in Ghana, Africa and toured what is described as the Door of No Return where 90 percent of all slaves bound for America passed through. It had a profound and permanent effect on her. Upon returning to America she became involved in a program that fed the needy in the Unity Lutheran Church in Homewood and this was the beginning for Sister Shirley. She founded a program named Sankofa Females Rights to Passage and they produced a play titled “A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than its Women,” and it was a tremendous success. It now became an eye opener to Shirley about the magnitude of problems that Black women, particularly young single mothers were confronted with almost everyday of their lives.

Shirley now makes a lifetime commitment to correct, eliminate and to prevent these problems that were destroying our females and their children, and she filed for a 501c3. On Sept. 11, 2001 she was granted a 501c3 in the name of Your Sisters Project with a commitment to ensure and provide young females with children the tools to become loving, caring, compassionate mothers. The program has helped a number of young parents to finish school, provided them with free brand new computers, college tuitions and even helped secure down payments for several on down payments for houses. Your Sisters Project has expanded and it is now involved in teaching youths the importance of preparation for tomorrow, sewing and financial literacy.

There are an untold number of programs funded by governmental bodies, foundations, and others and 90 percent of these programs are overwhelmingly problem oriented.

However Your Sisters Project is solution driven, its main focus is prevention. For example we held a summer program in Wilkinsburg High School and it was primarily for young residents of Wilkinsburg. It consisted of 40 young persons evenly split between females and males. The classes were gender oriented, students had a dress code, had to be on time, excused absents only, no cell phones and disrespectful conduct was absolutely not permitted. A major component of the program was to prepare the youths for tomorrow and the job market, thereby lessening the need for rehabilitation. The entire class graduated.

A professional organization conducted an oversight of the summer program by interviewing the entire staff and the students and presented an extremely comprehensive positive overview stating in layman’s term, “Job well done, Your Sister’s Project.”


Presidential Proclamation-- National Grandparents Day, 2013


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In every corner of our country and across all walks of life, grandparents are a tremendous source of wisdom, strength, and joy. They are caregivers, teachers, and friends -- windows to the past and guideposts for the future. On National Grandparents Day, America pauses to honor the bedrocks of our families and thank every grandmother and grandfather for their immeasurable contributions to our country.

Our grandparents' generations made America what it is today. They led our Nation through times of war, heralded new ages of innovation, and tested the limits of human imagination. They challenged longstanding prejudices and shattered barriers, both cultural and scientific. In our homes and our communities, grandparents pass down the values that have led generations of Americans to live well and give back. As individuals, as families, and as a society, we have an unshakable obligation to provide the care and support our grandparents have earned. Together, let us guarantee the right of every American to live out their golden years in dignity and security.

Today, we reflect on the ways our grandparents have enriched our lives, and we celebrate their contributions to the life of our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 8, 2013, as National Grandparents Day. I call upon all Americans to take the time to honor their own grandparents and those in their community.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.



Financial Literacy is the way to go


Written by Diane I. Daniels for the New Pittsburgh Courier    
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 14:25

In today’s time, according to author and financial expert Glinda Bridgforth, it is important for women to be aware of their financial situation and to be financially literate. Quoting her motto, that it is time for women of color to be “empowered, prepared, prudent and prosperous.” She pointed out that even in these uncertain economic times you should have power and the potential to achieve goals and dreams.

FINANCIAL AWARENESS—Glinda Bridgforth speaks to those at the Financial Literacy workshop.
After working with women of all colors and economic status, Bridgforth ascertains that the core reasons people have monetary trouble is low self-esteem, deprivation and fear. “Instead of dealing with what is going on on the inside we often use the retail theory and shop,” she said. “If you feel something is missing, you have to think about the motive, act on it, and deal with the fear of not having enough money,” Bridgforth said.

With over 20 years of serving as a financial coach, knowledge acquired from writing three books, conducting seminars and workshops, keynote addresses and providing her expertise to the media, Bridgforth said her company, Bridgforth Financial & Associates LLC, deals with the issues of finance through a holistic, comprehensive, supportive and realistic approach. She describes holistic money management counseling as addressing the practical steps of financial management, including balancing a checkbook, developing a spending plan, and analyzing income versus expenses. “We help our clients overcome their deep-seated barriers to financial health by integrating the emotional, spiritual, cultural and historical aspects of how we behave with our money.”

To a mixed generational crowd of more than 75 people, Bridgforth outlined strategies from her three books; “Girl, Get Your Credit Straight,” “Girl, Make Your Money Grow” and “Girl, Get Your Money Straight.” Her nine-step plan to getting finances straight included: don’t panic, chart your debt, don’t create more debt, create a monthly spending plan, track and analyze expenses, reduce expenses, increase income, pay down debt and save. “If you find that you are in a comfortable financial situation, now is a good time to follow these nine steps,” she said. The advice assists in creating financial peace of mind and also becoming debt-free. She points out that the steps educate on how to overcome obstacles that keep you from the financial security you deserve: and how to obtain a savings cushion, minimum to no debt, a clean credit report, a high credit score, and a comfortable retirement account.”

Recently in Pittsburgh speaking during Your Sister’s Project, Inc.’s Financial Literacy Month event, Bridgforth says she speaks from personal experience. A former banker who managed a $90 million unit with 22 employees, Bridgforth says she was existing in life in a financial crisis living paycheck to paycheck and nearly bankrupt with $50,000 in unsecured debt. Reflecting, she testified that she left a 12-year career with the bank, a troubled marriage, and started attending financial and personal healing seminars. Now, a 53-year-old newlywed, she considers herself a truly blessed woman with much favor from God with the responsibility to teach what she has learned within the financial arena.

Considered a leading financial expert, Bridgforth’s writings as a contributor are in Essence Magazine and she formerly was a feature writer and “Money Talk” chat show host for America Online, Inc. She also has contributed her financial knowledge to the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Money, Jet, Black Enterprise, Heart and Soul, and Ebony Magazine. Her television credits are inclusive of Fox News and PBS.

Pleased with the results of the event, Shirley Muhammad, founder and head of Your Sister’s Project, says the event is just one of many in the organization’s efforts to highlight the importance of financial literacy and to teach area residents how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. Muhammad has announced that the group is accepting applications for their Financial Literacy Ways to Work Summer Day Camp Program as well as their Summer Youth Employment program for the Wilkinsburg area.

A non-profit human and social services organization since 2001, Your Sister’s Project was founded in1996 as a grass roots community-based group.

Proceeds from the Bridgforth presentation will benefit the expansion of the Allegheny County Family Financial Literacy Resource Center, one of the group’s initiatives.

Glinda Bridgforth Speaks Live In Pittsburgh, PA


Romance With My Own Finance"
2:00pm to 5:00pm

Your Sister's Project, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
Contact: Shirley Muhammad: 412-377-3358
Email: shrlymhmmd@aol.com
April 24, 2010



Cuban medical school scholarship program
By Brian E. Muhammad

ROSEMONT. Ill. - In the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad there is a promise of “friendships in all walks of life.”

In a Feb. 28 workshop during Saviours’ Day, one answer to the promise discussed was the “Cuban Medical Scholars Program” in a session convened by Muhammad University of Islam. The scholars program was initiated by former Cuban President Fidel Castro to produce medical doctors from around the world by providing full scholarships to the prestigious Latin American School of Medicine (LASMS) in Havana. The scholarships were offered to the Nation of Islam from the Cuban government several years ago.

Dr. Larry Muhammad, director of Muhammad University of Islam (M.U.I.) travelled to Cuba on a follow-up trip to gain updates on how the Nation of Islam can take full advantage of the training gift and explained preparatory work being done at M.U.I. to help students qualify for the program.

“When I came on board and Min. Farrakhan talked to me about the program, we immediately began to look at what we can do to institutionalize the program, so M.U.I. has developed what it calls the ‘M.U.I. Medical Scholars Program.’ This would be the pipeline that would start from 8th grade through high school, designed for students to be prepared for medical school,” whether they go to Cuba or anywhere in America, said Dr. Muhammad.

“It’s a pilot (program) and once it’s developed here in Chicago then they can start implementing it throughout the U.S.,” added Shirley Muhammad of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who was credited with keeping the idea alive and organizing student groups for visits to Cuban school facilities.

In the spirit of interfaith cooperation, the Nation of Islam will be working with the program through its North American administrator, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), and its “Pastors for Peace” project led by Rev. Lucius Walker Jr. The Nation will also partner with Christ Universal Temple in Chicago, which shares a mutual goal of increasing the level of academic preparedness of students entering medical school.

“We’re very excited about having collaboration with Muhammad University to bring into life and to being the medical scholars program,” said Kelly Fair, the workshop presenter from Christ Universal Temple.

The medical school curriculum in Cuba includes a 12-week intensive Spanish language program for those who need it. The program is based on intensive advising and tutoring designed to help every student succeed. Students must pass competency exams at appropriate points in their course of study.

The six-year medical school program, which follows the pre-med program, begins every September and is divided into 12 semesters. Students study at the LASMS campus for the first two years, and then go to another of Cuba’s 21 medical schools, which are located throughout the island, to complete their studies. The Cuban medical training model combines theory and practice and is oriented toward primary care, community medicine and hands-on internships, according to IFCO’s website.

The session was opened by Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, minister of health and human services for the Nation of Islam, who placed his stamp of approval on Cuba’s health care system and discussed the importance of the Nation of Islam being offered this opportunity.

“I can say without reservation for anybody wondering about the quality of education, the quality of life, the quality of medical practice in Cuba, it is par excellance, it is of the highest order,” said Dr. Alim Muhammad.

The monetary worth of 500 full scholarships, a cost of $250,000 each was significant, he added. The free study is a stark contrast to statistics that show most doctors graduate with student loan debt from $250,000 to $650,000.

Panelists presented the advantages to the program and addressed fears some people may have concerning the unstable historical and negative political relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

Ihsan Muhammad, a panelist from Washington, D.C. who visited Cuba and will enter the program next year to pursue a degree to be a gynecological obstetrician, expects any challenges based on cultural differences will become less of a focus as she concentrates on educational goals.

“I was very open. I knew that I was going over to visit the medical school of a high quality of education known all over the world. My goal and what I am most concerned with is becoming a doctor to come back and serve my people. When you have your goal in mind, the other stuff is small time,” said Sis. Ihsan.

Sandra Muhammad, of Atlanta, whose daughter is a junior with honors at the medical school in Cuba is very satisfied with how her daughter has been treated and is more secure that her daughter is in Cuba than at a university in America. “She is totally focused and is always studying, and as a parent, I love her being there and not stressed. In fact I have three other children who want to go themselves, as a mother it is a wonderful program,” she said.

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had a vision of a hospital for the Nation of Islam and our children who aspire to be doctors and nurses, having been afforded the opportunity by Brother Fidel Castro, that dream can be realized and come back in a few years to help Min. Farrakhan to open a hospital,” Amin Muhammad, the father of Ihsan Muhammad, told The Final Call.

Related link:

The Compassion of Cuba's Health Care (FCN, 06-15-2004)


Unemployment in the Black community...Where are the numbers?

Written by Ashley N. Johnson   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 12:42

With a national unemployment rate of more than 10 percent and a city of Pittsburgh rate of 7.5 percent, both for the month of November, according to the Center of Workforce Information & Analysis of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, it is no wonder that local employment programs are in greater demand.

According to the center, Pittsburgh figures are lower than that of October, which was 7.8 percent and September, which was 7.6 percent. But what do these numbers mean for the African-American community in Pittsburgh? As these numbers decrease, unemployment rates for African-Americans are steadily increasing.

JOB HUNT—Job seekers stood in line to talk to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center representative about company job opportunities at the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center’s Job Fair held in October at the Kingsley Association.

“Although those numbers (city of Pittsburgh) are low when it compares to the national rate, it does not represent the truest numbers as it pertains to neighborhoods which are predominately African-American in Pittsburgh,” Pennsylvania Rep. Jake Wheatley said. “ I believe that the unemployment rate for African-Americans is much higher. My guess is that we are at a historic high level of unemployment, especially for Black men 18-35.”

While researching the issue of unemployment, it was discovered that most state and local government institutions do not track the unemployment rate by race or by zip code and generally use metropolitan areas instead of actual urban cities which flaws numbers. The Center of Workforce Information was the only agency that tracked the city, most others, including the The Bureau of Labor Statistics, only tracked metropolitan areas. The Pittsburgh metropolitan area, for example, includes not only the city of Pittsburgh, but Mt. Lebanon, Monroeville, North Hills, Fox Chapel, South Hills and the many other affluent boroughs surrounding the city. All the employment groups contacted generally used these metropolitan area numbers.

However, according to the Center for American Progress’ “Weathering the Storm: Black Men in Recession,” in March, the national unemployment rate of African-American men nationally was 15.4 percent.

Wheatley said he has tried to find similar figures and agrees that it is an issue that needs to be solved. He said that in order to fix the unemployment issue in the African-American community, there first needs to be an acknowledgement on all levels that there is a chronic unemployment issue among African-Americans instead of hiding it and that work needs to be done to identify the true numbers and make them available to all.

He also believes that once the issue is identified, a commitment must be made, by both politicians and the business community, to make solving the unemployment issue a priority and to create realistic, measurable goals to solve the problem.

“I have been big on pushing for development in and around my district, because that is what creates jobs and opportunities. And once there are opportunities, they should fairly be made available for minorities, such as African-Americans, Latinos and women,” Wheatley said.

Shirley Muhammad, of Your Sister’s Project Inc., has been working with the White House to find solutions to put Americans back to work and will host a Community Job Forum Jan. 2 at the Courtyard Marriott in Shadyside from 1-3 p.m. The forum will gather feedback from the community to be taken back to the White House for an official report for President Barack Obama.

Muhammad agrees that job creation is key, but feels in order to create jobs, there needs to be more resources, such as capital, and that as a community, African-Americans need to unify themselves and pool their resources.

“We need a vision. We need to start an economic development fund, which will give us capital to create jobs. We as a people need a bail out to become self-sufficient,” Muhammad said. She continued that when most African-Americans go to get loans, there is discrimination or the interest rates are too high to afford the payments, which keeps people from starting a business that would create those jobs. But if a bail out is given, she says that as a people, African-Americans will be able to create their own opportunities to end unemployment.

Wheatley agrees that it takes a unified commitment in dealing with the issue, but he also says it takes pooling resources and partnering and supporting organizations that are working to train and connect individuals with the resources needed to find jobs. For instance, programs such as the Hill District First Source Center and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh’s Employment Program are working to train and place individuals in jobs. Both have seen an increase in participation.

“Our main goal is making sure to connect individuals with job opportunities,” says Debra Tucker, vice president of Programs and Services for the Urban League. “We offer general employment services, such as job assessments, training and counseling based on one’s individual needs.”

Tucker said there have been individuals entering the workforce for the first time and a recent increase in individuals who had good jobs, but may have lost them to downsizing or restructuring.

The Urban League offers several programs to help individuals who are seeking a job. Programs like their Re-entry Management Program, which offers counseling and placement opportunities for men and women who were incarcerated and are looking to re-enter the workforce.

Wheatley believes there needs to be more programs like this for those who have done their time and are looking to become productive members of society. Often, once a person has paid their debt to society it is hard to get a job because of their record.

The Urban League also offers their Mature Workers Program, for those looking to enter or re-enter the workforce; and the Career Employment Program, which helps young adults, who are looking to obtain their G.E.D. or who already have one, but are looking to improve their skills. The program helps to prepare them for higher education or to enhance their job search skills, such as one’s resume and interview skills.

Like Muhammad, Wheatley has plans of holding a community forum and says that he is looking to work with anyone who is looking to solve the issue.

It has been shown that once employment comes up in a community, things such as blighted homes, vacant properties and in some cases, even crime goes down. No matter what the unemployment numbers are, it is evident that unemployment is a huge problem in the African-American community, and until every aspect is addressed the problem will continue to get worse.


Coro Center for Civic Leadership's
3rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leadership and Diversity Awards

At Heinz Field, East Club Lounge, Pittsburgh PA 15212

January 15, 2010 @ 5:30 PM

The date is fast approaching for Coro's
3rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leadership and Diversity Awards

The Leadership Award
will be awarded to an individual who exemplifies outstanding leadership results in business, nonprofits, or government.

The Diversity Award
will be given to an organization that demonstrates superior achievements in creating including workplaces, and which utilizes diversity to drive productivity and performance.

5:30pm - 7:00pm ~ Cocktails & Hors D’Oeuvres

7:00pm - 8:00pm ~ Awards Program

8:00pm - 8:30pm ~ Coffee & Dessert

Mr. Sunil Wadhwani

Sunil is CEO and co-founder of iGATE Corp., a global technology services business. Under Sunil's leadership, iGATE has been named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc. magazine, Business Week and others. He serves on the boards of Carnegie Mellon University, the Information Technology Association of America and the United Way.

Leadership Award Nominees

- Tom Baker, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh
- Todd Allen, The Common Ground Project
- Virginia Montanez, That's Church
- Alexandra Murphy, Princeton PhD Student
- Daniel Holland, Young Preservationist Society
- Shirley Muhammad, County of Allegheny
- Christina Damiano, Diversity Business Resource Center
- Duane Ashley, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, City of Pittsburgh
- Joe Massaro III, Massaro Corporation
- Susan Miller, Women's Small Business Assocation
- Grace Coleman, Crisis Center North
- Scott Kerschbaumer, ESSPA Kozmetika Organic Spa & Skincare
- Robert Agbede, Chester Engineers
- Mark Roosevelt, Pittsburgh Public Schools