“The Teen Program provides a safe space, tools for adulthood, and a community atmosphere for learning responsibility, respect, and support of each other.”
GI: What activities are in store for the Teen Program this fall?
MD: We are offering some of the Girls Inc. national curriculum, which is research-based and outcome-driven. These programs include: Economic Literacy; Body + Mind; and Informed & In Charge (Healthy Sexuality). My vision for the Teen Center is to create a community of trust, leadership, and preparation for college and young adulthood.
GI: What makes the teen program different from other Girls Inc. programming? What are some of the similarities?
MD: The mission and tenants of Girls Inc. are at the foundation of the Teen Center. We build on these core themes in a way that is appropriate for teen girls and what they are dealing with in their lives. The Teen Center focuses on one theme each month, which allows us to really investigate and explore that theme in-depth and to build our activities in a way that creates a deeper sense of community, trust, and leadership amongst the girls.
GI: What is your Girls Inc. background?
MD: I have woked at Girls Inc. for four years, starting at the Goleta Center working with K-6th graders, and then with teens at the Girls Inc. Carpenteria affiliate. I also served as a counselor at a teen residential treatment center in Ojai before returning to the Goleta Valley center as Teen Coordinator for this program, which was new at the time.
GI: How does the Girls Inc. mission fit with your personal mission?
MD: My personal mission is to empower individuals in discovering their inspiration, passions, and dreams through leadership responsibility for themselves and in their lives. I am also involved in a long-term leadership program which is developing my own life skills and personal growth. I enjoy anything that involves people and relationships, and devling into what it means to be human.
The Teen Center serves girls in grades 7-12. Contact Maraika for more information about Girls Inc.’s after-school and summer camp teen programs.
The Home Depot and to the Curie-osity Project have been named this year’s recipients of the 6th Annual Strong, Smart, and Bold Awards. The awards will be presented at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s 16th Annual Celebration Luncheon, on Thursday, September 28th.
The Strong, Smart, and Bold Awards are presented annually to one Girls Inc. local corporate partner and one program partner that each embody the mission, vision, and values of Girls Inc. Honorees demonstrate an ongoing commitment to inspiring girls through their leadership, service, and support, and have a significant impact on the lives of girls, women, and our community as a whole. Philanthropist Stina Hans and the Raintree Foundation were honored in 2016.
The Home Depot
In March of this year, The Home Depot provided grant funding, paint, & over 50 volunteers from District 224 stores (Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Atascadero) to help “refresh” the Santa Barbara Center interior. Each day, the center is home to over 150 girls in the Girls Inc. after-school and summer camp programs. Providing the Girls Inc. Experience means providing a safe, secure, and nurturing physical environment for girls. The Home Depot, in collaboration with other generous funders, painted the entire facility and gave the girls and the staff a renewed sense of pride in the center.
“Giving back is one of the core values of The Home Depot and a passion for our associates,” said Marcy L. Merzigian, district human resources manager for The Home Depot / Central Coast. “We love when we can take our skills and knowledge out of the aisles and into the community. It is especially exciting for our District to engage with Girl’s Inc. in mutual support of the development of “Strong, Smart, and Bold” women of all ages. We look forward to the continuation of a great partnership.”
The Girls Inc. Goleta Valley Center hosted The Home Depot’s Women in Leadership day-long training and development for female employees of the District 224 stores.
The Curie-osity Project
Led by Diana J. Arya, an assistant professor of literacy at UC Santa Barbara, the Curie-osity Project launched in 2017 as a collaborative Literacy & STEM program between Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB. Arya is the Director of the McEnroe Clinic, and is a core researcher on the Lifespan Project, which explores the developmental processes of scientific and technical reading, writing, thinking, and doing.
The Curie-osity pilot program engaged girls in grades 4-6 in research and inquiry-based activities with women scientists and engineers within the Santa Barbra community. The girls were led by UCSB undergraduate students who facilitated the hands-on, minds-on activities at the university, all focused on the ultimate, collaborative goal of publishing a book about the interviewed women that have made significant contributions to their respective fields.
“It was thrilling to work with my colleagues Danielle (Harlow) and Jasmine (McBeath) in the creation of a program that empowers young female students to imagine themselves as part of a scientific community,” said Arya.
Danielle Harlow, associate professor of science education at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). At UCSB, Danielle teaches courses about teaching and learning science and engineering to prospective elementary school teachers, undergraduates, and PhD students. Her research focuses on how children learn by engaging in the processes and practices of science and engineering in both formal and informal learning environments. She is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, directs the annual UCSB School Maker Faire, and has a daughter who attends Girls Inc.
Jasmine McBeath, is a doctoral student at UC Santa Barbara, studying education with an emphasis in Learning, Culture, and Technology. In addition to coordinating the Curie-osity Project, Jasmine also leads a makerspace program at a local teen center integrating science, technology, and art into social action projects. Jasmine is interested in after-school programs that broaden the definition of science, and is passionate about getting more girls to participate in and contribute to STEM fields.
The Curie-osity Project will resume with its second cohort of Girls Inc. girls in September of this year.