Welcome to WISE


This blog is dedicated to introducing you to the issues that the immigrant and refugee women and girls we serve are facing. We also hope to introduce you to some of those women and girls so you can better understand who we are serving and how WISE is making an impact in their lives. Before we get into the issues, we wanted to first introduce you to WISE and share a little of our story.


Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE), Inc. was founded in 1995 by a group of multiethnic, first-generation immigrant women. Since then, WISE has been working hard to help immigrant and refugee women and girls in the community to succeed. WISE recognizes the disparities that immigrant and refugee women and girls face when they come to America and wants to provide them with the sources they need to be an active member in the community. Our holistic approach focuses not just on teaching and improving English skills, but focusing on the whole person ensuring that all the needs of our women are served. We have seen that many of our participants are not confident in the United States because they do not have access to the resources and information they need or do not know how to access them. Through a variety of programs, we aim to provide immigrant and refugee women and girls with those resources or refer them to someone who can assist. Our programs are around topics such as financial literacy, leadership, healthy relationship education, self-esteem building, and college and career readiness.

By providing support and education for immigrant and refugee we are preparing them for the future they want. Many of the girls who have gone through our Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership (GGAL) program have continued onto college and are preparing to enter the workforce in an area they are passionate about. We recently sat down with an alum who is a junior at Metro State majoring in Human Services. When asked why she wanted to go into the human services field she told us,

“I chose that because I want to help people. I know how hard it is when you can’t speak English; how difficult it is when you first come here as a refugee. I received a lot of help from GGAL and my community. In return, I want to help those who need help.”

We look forward to a future where WISE is being run by the immigrant and refugee women and girls we have served.

Grete Oanes