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Empowering the Next Generation of Girls

By Allison Wilson

Girls growing up today face challenges like peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse and teen pregnancy, along with issues like equal pay for equal work. Girls Inc. of Tarrant County is a nonprofit organization that empowers girls to meet those challenges by combining the right people, environment and programing to help girls succeed.

The organization's trained staff, interns and volunteers encourage girls to build lasting, mentoring relationships and peers who share their drive and aspirations. The girls-only environment is physically and emotionally safe with a sisterhood of support, high expectations and respect. And the research-based programming is hands-on, minds-on, and meets the needs of today's girls to provide the age-appropriate information and knowledge so girls make decisions leading to healthy lives, succeed academically and develop life skills to prepare for adulthood.

"Our programs build strong, smart and bold girls," says Amy Rasor, Director of Development for Girls Inc. of Tarrant County. "Program topics include health and hygiene, peer pressure, bullying, pregnancy prevention, substance abuse prevention and academics. Academically, we focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; media literacy; financial literacy; college readiness; leadership and community action; and Kindergarten through 3rd grade reading literacy."

Girls Inc.'s roots date back to 1865 when a group of women in Connecticut gathered together to share their knowledge and skills with younger girls. The founders believed, and still do today, that girls have what it takes to be strong and independent, and that when those characteristics and their individual inherent skills are encouraged by trusted mentors, the possibilities are endless. The national organization was officially established in 1945 as the Girls Clubs of America. Girls Inc. of Tarrant County started as the Arlington Girls Club in 1976.

"When the Boys Clubs turned coed and therefore became the Boys and Girls Clubs, we felt that it was important to stay true to our mission of gender specific, intentional programs for girls," Rasor says. "Girls Inc. girls are overcoming gender, economic, and social barriers each day. Some are becoming the first generation of their families to go to college and Girls Inc. has helped to make that dream a reality."

Girls Inc. offers many opportunities for the community to get involved in their mission. Volunteers can join committees, serve as advocates at speaking engagements and marketing events, or work directly with the girls on a regular basis in roles like program assistants, mentors, tutors and role models. Event volunteers assist with event set-up, decorating, registration, logistics and clean-up. Camp volunteers serve as mentors, field trip chaperones, pool monitors and project assistants at camps that take place weekdays during the summer at various locations. Volunteer assistance is also often needed for special projects to streamline workflow for staff. This includes tasks like preparing goodie bags, assisting with mailings, making donation solicitations, filing, cleaning, organizing and other duties as assigned. These needs are ongoing and time commitments vary.

To learn more about Girls Inc., and how to get involved, call 817-259-1050. Girls Inc.'s Fort Worth Office is located at 2100 North Main Street, Suite 214.

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About The Author

Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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