NYC Summer Institute for Girls

Our Embrace Her Legacy Academy is a personal development and leadership development offered to young women (ages 14 – 19) in the New York City/tri-state area. Our program focuses on elevating young women to achieve unprecedented success in self-confidence, purpose, career, education and leadership. Our goal is to ignite a powerful, loving and emotionally healthy relationship with self while using that as foundation to realize success. 

This program will help you get exactly what you want out of life by giving you the tools and strategy to do so…

We’re going to focus on the elevation and transformation of:

  • Your relationship with yourself and others
  • Your self-image
  • Your confidence 
  • Your education, career and lifestyle goals
  • Your purpose and personal mission  
  • Your time-management skills 
  • Your ability to think positively 
  • Your ability to confidently talk about your strengths 

Our curriculum is an intensive series of personal development and leadership development classes offered over the course of two weeks in July (July 8th – July 19th, 11am-3pm each day excluding weekends). 

The program also offers students the opportunity to enhance your professional network by connecting students to esteemed professional women and men who will serve as guest instructors for select classes.  

You’re about to learn how to say “good-bye” to living with fear, not knowing what you want, not feeling good enough, or being around negative people who don’t understand you.

Almost EVERY student who has graduated from this program has voted it as a life-changing experience.

Our goal is to transform you into a ferocious, fabulous and empowered female leader!  Students who complete the program also have the opportunity to serve as peer mentors as we launch our programs in national and international markets. 






A hand-selected, diverse group of notable professional women and men will serve as positive role-models and guest instructors. Mentorship is one of our core values and a vital component in the overall success of young women. Our guest instructors not only extend their valuable knowledge and experience but to also make themselves available to develop professional relationships with students.  

All students in our program also gain the opportunity to be personally mentored by our founder and lead instructor of our programs, Maria I. Melendez.

One out of 4 female students report their greatest challenges in attending college are confidence, motivation, or support; therefore, Maria makes herself available to help students through the college and career readiness process along with personal development coaching sessions. She has has dedicated her life to personally mentoring young women in need of support and guidance. 

Students with a mentor are: 

  • 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.

  • 55% more likely to enroll in college

  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly


Because our course curriculums are transformative,  we appeal to both high schoolers and collegiate young women which broadens our opportunity for impact. 

Our environment is one of sisterhood, giving girls the opportunity to realize that we’re all the same and have the same struggles. We have a proven track record of instilling confidence in young women during the challenging times of teenage years where parents may be encountering distance from teens.

Some important statistics: 

  • 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 25% of girls with high self-esteem)

  • 61% of teen girls with low self-esteem admit to talking badly about themselves (Compared to 15% of girls with high self-esteem)

  • 25% of teen girls with low self-esteem resort to injuring themselves on purpose or cutting when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 4% of girls with high self-esteem)

  • 25% of teen girls with low self-esteem practice disordered eating, such as starving themselves, refusing to eat, or over-eating and throwing up when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 7% of girls with high self-esteem)

  • Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members

  • 62% of all girls feel insecure or not sure of themselves

  • 57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks

  • More than half (57%) of all girls say they don’t always tell their parents certain things about them because they don’t want them to think badly of them

  • The top wish among all girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes more frequent and open conversations about what is happening in their own lives

Our program seeks to eradicate these statistics. The content of our program covers a variety of issues young women are confronted with from establishing a healthy relationship with self to recognizing unhealthy relationships to choosing the right career path and fulfilling personal mission. This is a safe-space for students to talk, grown and learn from positive role-models. 

Students you’ll get to: 

  • Gain recommendation letters for college applications, internships & career opportunities

  • Serve as an ambassador of our organization at your school 

  • The opportunity to participate in local, national and international program initiatives 

  • Qualify for an internship with Embrace Her Legacy Global Empowerment 

  • Get access to professional mentorship by our founder and other esteemed, professionals in our network.

  • Learn how to design and build your best life 

  • Establish a healthy relationship with yourself

  • Build confidence and high self-esteem…get ready to level up your swag  

  • Create healthy relationships with others and recognize unhealthy boundaries 

  • Overcome the internal fears and mental roadblocks that stand in the way of you and your desired career and education goals 

  • Meet women who’ve been through what you’re going through and can help you get where you want to go

  • Gain clarity of the career and education path you want to pursue 

  • Learn financial success tips 

  • Meet with girls who are motivated and driven just like you

  • Learn time-management techniques 

  • Learn personal beauty and style tips to embrace professional and individualized style

  • Learn how to be comfortable in your own skin by embracing the art of storytelling 

We help our girls get ready not only for careers and education but for life! 

Less than 10% of students from low-income communities will graduate college, even fewer will be ready for careers. They attended under-sourced high schools and many are the first to go to college in families so may not have someone to help guide them in applying or deciding a major. These students also attend far less competitive schools. 

60-80% of people finds jobs through the people they know; leaving underserved communities shut out of professional circles. We help solve this problem by: 

  • Giving girls the opportunity to enhance their professional network 

  • Creating access to successful women and men who share similar stories of coming from underserved communities who can guide collegiate and career decisions 

  • Helping girls gain the personal development needed to apply to the building blocks of success 

This program is ideal for students who are high-achieving, college-bound, career, education and goal-oriented who want to develop strategic relationships with other like-minded young women while growing in personal development and leadership development.

We use different visualization exercises, written assignments, lectures, experiential learning, storytelling and coaching techniques to motivate, educate and empower students. Each session will conclude with custom action-steps for students to actively engage in their overall personal development throughout the course. 






Brooklyn Technical High School
The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem
The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria 
Central Park East High School 
Cobble Hill High School 
Queens Prepatory Academy 
Benjamin Banneker Academy for Community and Development
Academy of Mount St Ursula
Monsignor Scanlan High School
High School for Health Professions and Human Services
Manhattan Center For Science And Mathematics
Uniondale High School
Fort Hamilton High School
Columbia Secondary School
Harlem Villages Academies High School
NYC iSchool
Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women
The Renaissance Charter School
The Brooklyn Latin School 
High School for Health Professions and Human Services
Maspeth High School 
High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies


  • Maysoon Zayid – Actress, Comedian, Disability Advocate 

  • Rudy Racine, Leadership Coach & Entrepreneur 

  • Carl Michel, Motivational Speaker, Author, Executive Producer 

  • Whitley Richards, Consultant 

  • Nya Richardson, Social Media Influencer 

  • Julie Lim, ECPACT 

  • Lauren Alayne, Sephora Account Executive, Make-Up Artist 

  • Jovian Zayne-Peters, Founder, International Day of Purpose & Professional Development Consultant

  • Tiffany Dufu, Author + Women and Girls Leadership Advocate 

  • Dana Johnson, On-Air Personality 

  • Shameika Simmons, Celebrity Make-Up Artist + Beauty Encourager 

  • Deja Vu, Media Personality, Life Coach + Entrepreneur 

  • Charreah K. Jackson, Relationships + Lifestyle Editor, ESSENCE Magazine 

  • Lauren Curiotto, Founder, Finding the Fabulous 

  • Rashana Hooks, Writer, Editor, Author & Senior Manager: Lord & Taylor 

  • Keishan Rowe, Speaker, Entrepreneur + Financial Literacy Advocate 

  • Lucinda Cross, Founder of Activate Worldwide Inc., Media Personality + Speaker 

  • Cordelia Banny, Speaker + Co-Founder of The Fred & Cordelia Banny Foundation 

  • Daniela Grafman, Entrepreneur + Event Planner 

  • Keyana Leslie, Custom Fashion Designer, Make-Up Artist + Fashion Consultant 

  • Tiffany Dixon, Television Personality, Actress, Host 

  • ​Kadia Tubman, Former Manager of Industry Partnerships, Nielson 


  • Breaking Up With Your Inner Saboteur – Focuses on establishing a healthy relationship with yourself, elevating your swag and overcoming negative self-talk   

  • How Face Your Fears to Win the Battlefield in Your Mind – Focuses on identifying fear and defeating negative thinking, speaking and acting in order to cultivate a the mindset, vibrational frequency and character for attracting success. 

  • The 7 Major Keys to Slaying Your Goals (Vision Board MastHERclass) – Students will engage in proven strategies to effectively define, set and achieve personal and professional goals. Students will clearly create a vision plan and action steps to realize goals incareer, education, income, family, finances, lifestyle and time-management. 

  • Developing a Dope Tribe  – Students will learn keys to developing meaningful personal and professional relationships, establish healthy boundaries in relationships, helpful networking skills and how to identify signs of toxic or abusive relationships

  • Annual “Embrace Your Legacy” Panel Discussion – A panel discussion and networking workshop with several esteemed professional women and men on success, career, personal mission and confidence 

  • The Age of the Selfie: Real Talk About Confidence & Your Personal Brand in a Digital Age – Students learn how to embrace healthy self-esteem while dealing with the pressures of social media, deal with cyber bullying, do’s and don’ts of using social media, embrace the power of individual story telling and personal branding techniques 

  • The Laws of Leadership –  Strategic leadership principles for students to learn how lead their own lives, organizations and teams.

  • Embrace Your Beauty and Dress for the Life You Want – Our popular beauty and style coaching class for students to embrace individual style and a healthy skin care and make-up regime 

  • Girl Boss 101 + Girl Boss 102 ​- We “spill the tea” on some MAJOR tips, do’s and don’ts of curating a successful career as an empowered female leader

*Classes subject to change.  


Classes begin Monday, July 8th, 2019 and conclude July 19th, 2019 (excluding weekends). 
Class times: 11am-3pm daily. 
Lunch will be provided. 

National Opera Center
330 7th Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10001


May 31st, 2019 by 11:55pm EST. ​


Individual tuition fee: $499 (Scholarships available) 


We’re looking for young women (ages 14-19) who possess the following criteria to apply for the program:

  • Strong academic GPA

  • Possesses leadership qualities and potential

  • Demonstrated communication skills

  • Success and career-driven

  • Goal-oriented

  • Passionate about empowering women and girls/gender-equity 

  • Involved in academic or social organizations

  • Previous leadership or teamwork experience a plus

  • Ability to work well with others

  • Self-motivated

  • Positive attitude


In order to be considered for the program, all interested applicants must complete the application form below. Once the applicant submits her application, one of our staff members will reach out via email to qualified applicants to set-up a phone interview or request any additional information.

Following the phone interview a final decision of the applicant’s status will be made and she will be notified via email whether she has been accepted to the program. Once accepted into the program, the applicant has (7) days from the date of receiving their acceptance letter to provide the entire tuition payment and the signed parent/guardian consent form in order to secure her spot in the program. The tuition invoice will be sent via email and can be paid via debit/credit card or check written out to The Embrace Her Legacy Foundation. 

All accepted applicants, MUST submit our signed Parent/Guardian consent form upon acceptance into the program (unless 18 years or older). The form will be attached to the acceptance email.


Please note that once your tuition is received, your tuition is non-refundable. We allow the grace period of 7 business days to assure that this investment into your future is something that you want to pursue.  We understand that unforeseeable circumstances may occur, nevertheless, we have to remain diligent with our business relationships that are supporting this program. Please note that we highly encourage students to apply as soon as possible as acceptances are on a first come, first serve basis


Full-ride and partial scholarships are available which are first-come, first-serve basis. Students will have to will have to submit a short essay and copy of latest report card in order to qualify for a scholarship.