What Is KFACT?
     Growing up isn’t always easy, but for many in Rockford, growing up is far harder than it should be. For thousands of kids in Rockford, poverty and lack of resources is the “norm” and because of this, challenges faced are far more severe than what can be seen on the surface. For KFACT girls, 90% are living in poverty and facing traumas they should never be victim to – sexual abuse, homelessness, drug-addicted parents, neglect. For so many, trauma is normal.
     KFACT is changing the lives of girls in the Rockford area – girls who have lived a life of trauma and are often forgotten throughout society. And, without KFACT, may be living a very different story. With the empowerment of KFACT, our girls are strong young ladies who will break the cycle of poverty and trauma with continued services and mentorship.
     Girls are our focus! Why Girls? KFACT targets girls between the ages of 12-18 years of age. Early adolescent girls are an extremely vulnerable population and have the hardest time just being a girl. Many girls suffer from peer pressure, low-self-esteem, generational poverty, inequality and frequently, trauma-filled pasts.
     KFACT has provided services to over 250 girls and their families in the mentoring program. KFACT provides services to girls in middle and high school while ensuring completion of post-secondary education for our college girls!
     KFACT Inc. is a grassroots 501 (c) 3 nonprofit youth development and holistic mentoring organization established to alleviate opportunity gaps among girls living in the Rockford community. KFACT Inc. specializes in providing an array of comprehensive services with one being “holistic mentorship.” KFACT is the only girls holistic mentoring organization in our community and strives to ensure that girls are not continuing the cycle of poverty.
     Holistic mentoring is the only way to truly alleviate generational poverty and consequently trauma because it requires the entire life of the girl to be part of the plan for her success. KFACT’s unique approach has supported the program’s outcomes – 100% high school graduation rate, 98% of girls attend post-secondary education,and less than 2% of our girls become teen parents.
     Our signature mentoring program, Lady All Stars, in one of a kind due to the direct service and long-term relationships built with the girls from middle school through adulthood.
     Lady All Stars mentoring program was designed with girls in mind.
     KFACT is the only mentoring program in Rockford that uses a “holistic” approach. By tailoring programs and services to meet the individual needs of girls, a “one size fits all” approach is avoided. This leads to higher rates of success due to extreme personalization.
     KFACT is a small organization, which is an advantage because it fosters an environment where mentees can have individual mentoring and personal relationships with mentors over a long period of time. To provide stability, KFACT offers a ten-year relationship and commitment. Why so long? The core of the mentoring experience for at-risk youth is stability. Many of these girls change residences continually, do not have constant contact with the same adults over a long period of time and lack structure outside of school hours. All of these risk factors can lead to various unwanted behaviors that our mentoring program strives to prevent. In addition, research shows that part of the reason many mentoring programs are effective is because they demonstrate to the at-risk youth that an adult other than their parent is willing to show a commitment to their success and well-being.
     Shamika Williams, KFACT’s founder, is a Rockford native.  “I was born and raised in Rockford.  I went to Macintosh Elementary, West Middle School, Auburn,” says Shamika.  But from day one, the odds were stacked against her.  “9th grade I was a cheerleader for Auburn and I became a teen mom at a very young age of 14.”  However, Shamika says it was this unplanned pregnancy that ultimately changed her life.
“I always tell people you shouldn’t have to have a baby for your life to change, but for me, that’s when it changed for the best. I got support, help, I got resources.”
     Shamika also got her degree, two of them to be exact. She secured both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Shamika then took her degrees and talent back to her hometown, helping young women navigate the same city and barriers she faced.
     “I never knew that I was in poverty, or poor, or considered to be impoverished until I became educated, for me that was life.”
     And that life is very similar for hundreds of other young girls here in Rockford.  So in 2014 Shamika founded the non profit.
     “I started thinking, girls shouldn’t have to be pregnant or be on drugs or incarcerated for them to be considered at risk.”
    In order to learn more about this program, you will have to attend the November 14th program.  This will be an excellent opportunity to bring a guest or prospective member.  Bob Canfield, who has worked with KFACT, will introduce our presenter and act as Rotary Host.