“Girls Inc. had a tremendous impact on me growing up”
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“Girls Inc. had a tremendous impact on me growing up”

Vanessa Munoz is a Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara Alumna, and a grad student at UCSB where she is earning her Master’s in Education and a Single-Subject Teaching Credential in English Language Arts!

What impact did Girls Inc. have on you growing up?

I first attended Girls Inc. when I was six years old (first-grade). My parents signed me up for the eight-week Summer
Camp program. I remember being so excited when my parents explained that I would be
attending. This is because we had visited the facilities a few weeks before summer programing
began. I remember seeing the library, the theater, the gym, and all the classrooms. I couldn’t
wait! Even though I didn’t know anyone when I first started, I was very eager to make friends. As
soon as I attended Summer Camp, I was able to make many friends, some who I still keep in
touch with to this day. Girls Inc. had a tremendous impact on me growing up. It was at Girls Inc.
where I first learned about college and higher education. Additionally, Girls Inc. allowed me to
develop life skills such as cooking, gardening, art, and literacy to name a few. Learning these
skills allowed me to grow my self-confidence and self-esteem. Finally, Girls Inc. allowed me to
have a safe and welcoming space. Every time I went to Girls Inc. I was welcomed by all the
staff, girls, and community. Because of this welcoming space, I felt like I could advocate for
myself because I knew that my words mattered. The community is what has encouraged me to
return back to Girls Inc. as a facilitator. I’m truly so thankful and grateful for Girls Inc. because of
how much it has shaped who I am.

What made you want to work for Girls Inc.

I chose to work at Girls Inc. because I wanted to give back to the community that helped me so
much. Girls Inc. shaped so much of my experience growing up. This is because Girls Inc. was a
place where I felt safe, welcomed, and supported. Originally, I volunteered at Girls Inc. when I
was a junior in high school. Through this volunteer work, I helped tutor once a week during
homework time and helped assist the facilitators in the classroom. After my volunteer role was
completed, I knew that I wanted to continue being involved at Girls Inc. I have worked for Girls
Inc. for almost three years as a Facilitator. By working at Girls Inc. I have found my love for
teaching and working with youth, which has inspired me to pursue a career in education. As a
Facilitator, I have been able to support the youth I work with as well as promote a community
and learning environment that emphasizes the values of being strong, smart, and bold.

What has been your experience as a Girls Inc. facilitator?

I have really enjoyed my experience as a Girls Inc. facilitator. This is because of how I have
been able to help empower and inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold. This has been
through the classes I have taught as a facilitator (outdoor exploration, STEM, art, and etc.). As a
program facilitator, I have also helped encourage the youth about the core values of
empowerment, inclusivity, respect, and gender justice. I am also able to be a positive role model
to the girls that I work with and help promote a pro-girl environment. This has been through
teaching classes like Girl/Women of Inspiration, where I am able to teach the girls about female
role models. I have truly enjoyed working at Girls Inc. and I’m excited to return back this

What is one memory you have that stands out from your time as a Girls Inc. girl
and/or your time as a facilitator.

One memory that stands out to me from my time as a Girls Inc. Facilitator was Marketplace
Fridays during the summer. All of the groups at Girls Inc. would help create a product they could
sell on Fridays during Marketplace. The girls would then promote their product to other groups
throughout the week. Then on Friday afternoons all of the groups would go to each others
tables to help sell their product. Through Marketplace, I was able to teach the youth about
business, how to create/promote a product, and financial literacy. Helping facilitate Marketplace
was so fun because I was able to see how creative the group would be in creating their product.
I also enjoyed it because I was able to see the girls express leadership skills and be bold
through this activity.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m beyond grateful for Girls Inc. and for all it has done for me. Thank you Girls Inc. of Greater
Santa Barbara!