Growing up isn’t easy for anyone, but girls face unique challenges. That’s why, in 1864, the organization that would eventually become Girls, Inc. was founded to help women looking for jobs after the turmoil of the Civil War. Since then, the organization has grown and changed – it now has 82 different local organizations across the U.S. and Canada – but its core vision — helping girls realize their potential and understand their rights — hasn’t changed.

Thanks to a Grant, Now in Blount

Their Tennessee Valley chapter now includes Blount County, thanks to a national grant that has allowed it to expand beyond its Anderson and Knox County locations. Girls, Inc. programming, much of which is free for participants thanks to contributions from donors, will take place a few times a week as part of after-school programming at Mary Blount Elementary, Alcoa Elementary, and Walland Elementary. Girls are divided into two groups, with one for grades K-2 and another for those in 3rd through 5th grade.

What Can Girls and Parents Expect?

Girls, Inc. generally focuses its programs around financial and media literacy, STEM (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), physical education, and other important subjects and activities where girls have tended to be overlooked.

In Blount County, Girls, Inc. is welcoming students back to school with their Economy Literacy program, which emphasizes skills related to earning, saving, and spending money, to help them confidently take charge of their own finances when they’re older. They’re also gearing up their mentoring program and looking for sponsors for their softball team, which is part of their sports programs that serve over 1000 girls in Eastern Tennessee.

Award-Winning Work

Girls, Inc, has done good work for a long time, and people have noticed. In August of 2018 alone, the Tennessee Valley chapter received the Be More grant from PBS, as a non-profit organization contributing to the overall well-being of the community, and the President & CEO of Girls, Inc., Judy Vredenburgh, made the NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50” list. It also received a 4-star rating from charity-vetting service Charity Navigator.

Everyone Can Lend a Hand

If Girls, Inc. sounds like an organization making the kind of changes that make sense to you, there are plenty of ways to pitch in and put your talents to great use.

Girls, Inc., can always benefit from donors and corporate sponsors, and their annual Gala for The Girls, with dinner, dancing, and auctions, is this October 13th at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge. They’re also seeking mentors for their 2018-2019 school year, and softball sponsors for the next season. There are other ways to pitch in, too – just reach out to Girls, Inc. of Tennessee Valley and talk to them about what you can offer!