My name is Marsha Kotlyar and I am a proud alumna who has benefitted from the life-changing work of Girls inc. of Greater Santa Barbara. I hope my story will inspire you to support the transformational work of this important organization.
In 1988, I found Girls Inc. as a seven-year old who just arrived from Russia. The after-school program was essential for my parents who both worked and attended night school to learn English. At Girls Inc., I practiced my English, learned self-expression an dself-reliance to help me acclimate to my new community, and I learned the skills to build a foundation for success for myself. During my five years at Girls Inc. I had a sisterhood of support and eventually became a role model for younger girls. Having girls look up to me as a a leader, I remember feeling proud of that. Every girl should have that opportunity to be a leader and a role model. Every girl deserves to become the leader of her own life.
To become leaders of their own lives, girls need our support. Did you know that in our country today:
1 in 4 girls will not finish high school
78% of girls under the age of 17 are unhappy with their bodies
3 in 10 girls will become pregnant before the age of 20
1 in 5 girls will be a victim of childhood sexual abuse
In 2015, Girls Inc. served nearly 1,700 girls through after-school and summer camp programs at its Santa Barbara and Goleta Valley Centers, and through its gymnastics program. This year it is on track to serve as many girls, maybe more, but only with your help. I know you understand the value of investing in the unique, all-girl, pro-girl Girls Inc. environment.
Someone like you invested in my potential 28 years ago, so that I could learn to successfully navigate the unique challenges of being a girl in a new country. Making sure girls today have that “one place,” like I had at Girls Inc., where they feel accepted and supported, and can develop leadership skills and the self-confidnce to be themselves is what compels me to support Girls Inc.
Please consider donating before the end of 2016 to help girls like me grow up to be successful independent and thriving women.
The girls are depnding on your support. I believe investing in a girl’s future is one of the most important long-term investments any of us can make. With you in her corner, SHE WILL SUCCEED!
For the girls,
Alumna (right, top, in 1988 at the Santa Barbara Center)
PS: If you are over the age of 70 1/2 you may make a tax-free contribution of up to $100,000 from your individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a public charity such as Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara. To learn more please call 805-963-4757.