Sista Girls and Friends


Brief History

Melverta Wilkins founded Sista Girls and Friends in October 2013 in Decatur, Illinois. Melverta Wilkins serves women and girls by sharing her own experiences, educating them, and providing support to each other. Sista Girls and Friends is committed to empowering women and girls, strengthening family dynamics, and educating and training all who seek assistance with our focus designed programs aimed to educate, employ, uplift, and heal our community. SGAF has started several programs such as a(n) mentoring program, Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship, trauma informed behavioral health initiative, and YouthBuild program. The YouthBuild program came under development in September 2022. The YouthBuild program helps young people between the ages of 16-24 develop skills to succeed. The organization also provides resources to help those we serve with career counseling, access to higher education, and financial planning.

Mission Statement and/or Core Values

Sista Girls and Friends YouthBuild Program’s mission statement is “Empowering young individuals to build brighter futures through education, leadership development, and hands-on vocational training”.

Student Demographics

Male – 18

Female -7

Low income -25

HS Dropout – 25

Youth Offenders – 8

Basic Skills Deficient -15

Not Employed at Program Enrollment -19

Job placement following program completion- Pending program completion.


Started program in September 2023 with 12 students in our mental toughness portion of the program. 9 students went on to be in the YouthBuild program. SGAF added several more students to the program. We are currently enrolling for our 2nd cohort. 3 students have received employment through the Springfield Urban League employment program.

Programs Offered

  • Wrap-around services
  • Therapy sessions
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Certificates
  • Mentorship
  • PMTDI Workforce Certificates

Career Pathways

  • Construction and Trades
  • Secondary Vocational school
  • Two/Four Year college opportunities

Success Story

“Regular schooling wasn’t for me”. Too many people and I just wasn’t focused. When I found out about SGAF YouthBuild program and got enrolled it changed my outlook on how important finishing my education was. Since being in the YouthBuild program I’m comfortable with opening up to others and actually putting in the work to get the job done. I am really looking forward to completing the program so I can continue with my career path that I have set for myself.”- Nick


CEO- Melverta Wilkins

Program Director – Brittoni Wilkins

Operations Director- Denita Hentz

Curriculum Director – Jonathon Boey

Program Coordinator- Natasha Young

Contact Info

Address: 500 E Lake Shore. Dr. Decatur, IL 62521




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