As we continue our push to increase the number of girls in Memphis who receive Girls Inc. programming, we’re making big strides in local schools. Up to now, we’ve provided our strong, smart and bold programming with girls in 16 local public schools. With the help of our partners in the Shelby County Schools (SCS), the Achievement School District (ASD) and the Communities in Schools organization, soon that number will grow to well over 40.
Sylvia Martinez, Vice President of Programs for Girls Inc. of Memphis, says that the focus is on schools in five strategic zip codes – 38126, 38127, 38111, 38122 and 38107.
“We try to meet the schools where they are,” Sylvia said, “so we can meet the girls where they are. Ideally I want to us to serve every girl in every school we’re in.”
Girls Inc. requires a minimum of 20 girls for schools interested in hosting our faciltators.
That means lots of outreach to school officials in the county system and the ASD by folks like Dora Brown Harris, a long-time Girls Inc. employee who was recently was named Director of Growth and Expansion. She’s the “woman behind the curtain,” focusing on growing and expanding the impact of Girls Inc. programming through in-school facilitation, primarily in South City (38126) and Frayser (38127).
It also means working with Communities in Schools, a national organization with a Tennessee Chapter, regarded as the most effective dropout prevention organization in the U.S. Their mission is to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.”
One of the ways they accomplish that mission is working with collaborative partners like Girls Inc. of Memphis. We’re currently working with Communities in Schools in nine local schools.
The goal is to provide at least 50 hours of Girls Inc. programming with as many girls as possible. Currently, we accomplish this work with 12 paid facilitators providing the programming. But our goal is to have 35 facilitators.
And that means we’re hiring – there are several positions open currently to help us staff our increased programming.
It also means we need more supplies.
“We share space in these schools, in computer labs and libraries,” Sylvia says. “We’re providing a classroom from a cart.”
And you can help! Head over to our Amazon Wish List page to purchase and donate whatever you like – it’s like a wedding gift registry, but no toasters!
“We need to acquire the supplies needed to make Girls Inc. programming as robust as possible without hindering the school’s own resources,” Sylvia said.
This work is important for Girls Inc., for the girls we serve and for the city of Memphis, Sylvia says.
“This is an opportunity for the community to help us make girls in Memphis stronger, smarter and bolder,” she said. “We are investing in them. We need the community’s help investing in them. And it’s an investment that will make the most difference for our girls and for our city.”