Inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold has proven particularly urgent during these unprecedented times. Even under the best of circumstances, our youth are among those who are most vulnerable in our communities. COVID-19 has exponentially increased their need for support while dramatically altering the ways we can provide it.
Despite programmatic shifts and drastic adjustments, our Girls Inc. network across the United States is working collaboratively to step into new roles and find ways to continue leading. We, at Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest, are excited to announce that virtual Girls Groups programming will begin next Monday, April 27th. We will explore a different strong, smart, and bold theme each week, and will also be offering weekly “Office Hours” where youth will have the opportunity to connect and reflect with their peers and Girls Inc. staff.
Amidst this time of world-wide uncertainty, this week is National Volunteer Week, and I can confidently say that Girls Inc. would not be what it is without our hundreds of volunteers. From board and committee members, to Girls Guides, to event support, every single volunteer plays a vital role in inspiring all girls in the Pacific Northwest to be strong, smart, and bold. Every day this week, we will be highlighting a different volunteer across our social media channels. I encourage you to follow along and celebrate them with us.
I am also reminded that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Research has shown that domestic violence rates have increased throughout the country as a result of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, so it is especially important now that survivors receive support. I encourage you to read the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s six ways you can support survivors online. Now more than ever, we must stand with survivors.
We are amidst a crisis, clearly, and yet “crisis mode” at Girls Inc. is taking the form of innovative, creative, and deeply caring action plans to meet girls where they are. The way forward is proving, again and again, to be with our youth. It is as simple as that. So, as they shelter in place we strive to shelter and sustain them, in new and unforeseen ways. Whatever the future brings, we will meet it together and in support, always, of girls.
HAPPY NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK!
For National Volunteer Week (April 19-25, 2020), we are highlighting some of our incredible strong, smart, and bold volunteers. We asked them to share what drew them to Girls Inc.
“I grew up in a large traditional family with six sisters, an amazing mom and two strong-willed grandmothers. Even with all of this female power, my traditional upbringing did not leave a lot of room to imagine a non-traditional career such as a scientist, doctor, engineer, etc.
As I traveled through life, I have learned how important it is for girls to have mentors, advocates and leaders who show them what they can be. And, at the same time, help them listen to their own, powerful voices. Our Girls Inc. evidence-based programming creates space for girls to dream and envision their best life. I am proud to be able to be a part of this amazing organization and am honored to serve our strong, smart and bold girls!”
– Julie Kearney, Board Chair
Follow along for the rest of the week as we share more volunteer spotlights on social media!
Our Program team has been hard at work adapting our Girls Groups curricula to an interactive, online programming format to support our youth in their time out of school. We are excited to announce that virtual Girls Groups programming will begin on Monday, April 27th. Our goal is to stay engaged with youth and strengthen the Girls Inc. community through this difficult time.
Eureka! had its first virtual Monthly Learning Session (MLS) on April 2. This was the College Readiness MLS with our partner, The College Place. The youth had an opportunity to engage with a college-readiness professional, and ask questions including: how to apply for college, what colleges are looking for, and how to choose a college that’s right for them, via a fun and interactive discussion and virtual activities.
The Eureka! program will hold additional Monthly Learning Sessions in May, including camp orientations, virtual college tours, work readiness, and internship orientation with Northwest Youth Corps.
Our Leadership Council has been meeting virtually since the first week of April. Prior to the pandemic, the youth were learning advocacy skills and were preparing to speak at Power of the Purse. Now the youth are focused on using those skills and their voice to find innovative ways to support their communities even during quarantine.
While our Power of the Purse gala is full of fashion, shopping and girl empowerment, it is also at the heart of our fundraising efforts to sustain Girls Inc. programming for our youth across the Pacific Northwest. Our decision to reschedule has posed a financial challenge, so last week we launched a Special Appeal campaign.
We have set a bold goal to raise $100,000 through this Special Appeal, and we need your help.
A special thank you to our Board Chair, Julie (pictured above) for bringing the Board of Directors together to raise the first $43,000 in board member donations.
Now, our partner Bank of America is matching the first twenty five $1,000 donations (either one-time or recurring) and since we launched last week, we have already had seven donations that will be matched!
Reaching our goal means we can continue serving more than 1,200 youth throughout the Pacific Northwest. Thank you for your consideration during these extraordinary circumstances. With you in their corner, you inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold.
These uncertain times remind us all of the critical work that must be done to strengthen our communities. A simple and safe way to support each other right now is to complete the U.S. Census.
Every one of us matters, and every one of us must be counted. The Census is more than just a population count: it helps allocate nearly a trillion dollars in funding for things like roads, hospitals, and schools. The Census is also used to determine political representation; it’s a powerful force in shaping how we are represented in government for the next 10 years.
LOOKING AHEAD TO GIRLS INC. WEEK
Girls Inc. Week is May 4-8, 2020. This year, we will focus on civic engagement, with the theme: She Leads: Inspired and Engaged in Civic Life.
It is not enough to elevate girls’ voices. We must also strengthen their capacity to lead. Girls are not too young to be affected by the decisions of policymakers, and they are not too young to have a meaningful impact on our civic processes.
Girls Inc. Week will feature SheVotes activities, promote 2020 Census participation, and celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment providing women the right to vote. Make sure to follow along on social media!
Have you read Stronger, Smarter, Bolder: Girls Take the Lead yet? As shown in a recent assessment by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the Girls Inc. Experience makes a measurable and marked difference in the lives of girls, regardless of demographic, academic, and social characteristics.
To learn more, read the full report.
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