Maraika Danisch, Goleta Valley Teen Center Director
“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?
Teen after-school participants take advantage of homework time.
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.