of Greater Santa Barbara

Impact Story

Sarahi: Confident, Capable, and Independent


Sarahi remembers her first day at Girls Inc., nearly eight years ago when she was starting third grade. She was outside for snack time, by the playground and sitting alone because she didn’t know anyone. Her facilitator, Emma, sat next to her and began asking her a lot of questions. After checking in with Sarahi, Emma brought her a snack, then personally introduced her to other girls, with whom she soon became friends. Sarahi remembers it was Emma who first taught her to feel confident enough to talk to new people. Most importantly, Emma was her first friend at Girls Inc.

This story of a first day in a new place may sound familiar, but for Girls Inc. it represents the impact of trusting mentoring relationships; 93% of Girls Inc. Girls say there is an adult at Girls Inc. they can depend on. And so many years later, it is Emma, her facilitator that is a part of her first Girls Inc. memory.

These relationships are also what has made Sarahi continue to feel comfortable at Girls Inc. “Girls Inc. staff has helped me when I have had problems at home or in school. The staff has always been there to guide me.”

Sarahi now attends the Teen Center, and that level of comfort with staff is increasingly important to create a safe space for open conversations and questions the teens have, like Health and Sexuality – Sarahi’s favorite class at Girls Inc.

“In school we have to take a health class and it covers basic stuff, but I wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn so much more about my body, and at Girls Inc. we were able to do that. We talked about our body and how it works and the correct terms for each body part. It was a lot more specific and we were able to freely talk and ask questions.”

Trusted mentors and a safe environment help girls and teens build confidence, and provide opportunities to practice their life skills in a supportive space.

I learned how to be more independent at Girls Inc. I would always depend on other people to do things with me or for me. I have learned how to make decisions, and to do and say things on my own.