SOHO (a Space of Her Own)

SOHO (a Space Of Her Own) is a one-on-one mentoring program for at-risk girls in Alexandria. Each year, in collaboration with the City of Alexandria’s Court Service Unit, we pair low-income 5th grade girls with female volunteers from the community to participate in art classes led by Art League instructors.

Every week, girls and mentors work together to create expressive artwork. Using these art sessions as a catalyst, SOHO Old Town uses evidence-based life skills curricula to teach girls about nutrition, self-esteem, communication, relationship building, friendship, health, decision-making, and more. 

At the completion of the program, the teams remodel each of the girls’ bedrooms, incorporating all of their artwork and placing an emphasis on light and study space, to truly give each girl a “space of her own.” 

Watch and listen to our most recent program participants reflect on their year together (and check out their room makeovers).

Our Impact

Over 150 underserved Alexandria girls have participated in SOHO Old Town since its creation in 2002.

In May 2009, the SOHO Old Town program was featured in the Washington Post. Read the article here!

Volunteering with SOHO

Each summer, we recruit a team of adult, women volunteers to serve as mentors in the SOHO (Space Of Her Own) outreach program serving at-risk, low-income 5th-grade girls from Alexandria. Volunteer mentors are each paired with a participating girl, and together they meet weekly to participate in team building activities, learn life skills lessons, eat a healthy dinner, and participate in an art lesson taught by a professional Art League artist. At the end of the year, mentors work together to renovate their girls’ bedrooms using the artworks created and giving each girl a “space of her own.”

Volunteers must make a one-year commitment to attend SOHO sessions one evening every week from 5:00 to 8:00 pm and occasional weekends at The Art League’s Madison Annex. Sessions run from late September through June. Across July and August, girls and mentors participate in community service activities on their own time.

To get involved, please contact Charlene Haskell at [email protected] or 703-519-1741 x33.

Our Supporters

SOHO is offered completely free to its participants, and all mentors serve on a volunteer basis. The program depends entirely on the generosity of the individuals, foundations, and companies that provide financial support to fund art lessons and projects, and the mentors and other volunteers who generously give their time, energy, and skills to the program. We give our thanks the following corporate and foundation sponsors and in-kind donors for supporting the SOHO program over the past two years:

Alexandria Youth Fund
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Dominion Power
The Meltzer Group
Alexandria Community Trust (ACT)
Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Kiwanis of Alexandria
Potomac Valley Watercolorists
Bittersweet Catering
Daughters of Jerusalem Sisters of Mercy
Mason Hirst Foundation
Washington Forrest Foundation

All Art League programs are supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Alexandria Commission for the Arts, United Way (#8069)/CFC (#56520).

If you are interested in supporting SOHO, please contact Charlene Haskell at [email protected] or 703-519-1741 x33.

This program is funded in part by the City of Alexandria, Fund for Human Services.

Your help is needed to support The Art League’s future!

Your support of The Art League reflects where you envision the world of creativity will take us tomorrow. Are you ready to map the future for your — and your community’s — creative life?