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Girls, Inc.®

Girls Incorporated® is a national research, education, and direct advocacy organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold. As a licensee of Girls, Inc.®, the YWCA of WNY uses the organization’s research-based educational programs to empower girls to understand, value, and assert their rights.

Our program focuses on girls ages 10-18 on the following three areas:  preventing adolescent pregnancy, media literacy, and economic literacy, and exploring careers in science, math, and related technologies

We offer programs for youth at the YWCA of WNY offices at as well as at community centers, churches, and schools.

If you are interested in having Girls, Inc. programs at your agency or school, please contact info@ywca-wny.org.

Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy:

Will Power/Won’t Power for girls ages 12 to 14 is made up of ten 90 minute sessions. Girls build skills and strategies for dealing with sexual situations as they enter the most pressure-sensitive adolescent years, while also receiving medically accurate information. Interactive sessions center on values, relationships, female health and hygiene, separating sexual myths from reality, assertiveness and communication skills, identifying and resisting sexual pressures from the media and peers, sexual decision-making, avoiding risky situations, the benefits of abstinence, and the power of a positive sister support system.

Media Literacy:

Girls Take Another Look for girls ages 12 to 14 is made up of ten 75 minute sessions. Participants explore a variety of media available to them. The program enables girls to practice deconstructing obvious and hidden media messages; question the media’s focus on appearance and narrow definition of beauty; experiment with character development and storyboarding; consider the relevance of news media; investigate brand name, logos, and other marketing tools; learn how to influence the media by communicating their opinions to those in power; and explore careers in a variety of media fields.

Girls Get the Message for girls ages 15 to 18 consists of twelve 60 minute sessions. In this program participants analyze messages and create and edit storyboards to change the messages in music videos and reality TV programs, conduct audits of magazines for advertising content and of newspapers for equity in gender coverage, consider the biases in various news sources, develop political campaign slogans and materials, screen films made by and about women, develop character sketches for TV shows and treatments for documentaries, and plan and conduct field trips to explore media businesses.

Economic Literacy:

Dollars, Sense, and Me for girls ages 9 to 11 is broke down into ten 75 minute sessions. It comprises activities around economic and financial concepts such as recognizing and counting money, exchanging goods and services, investing in the stock market, and volunteering and donating. The curriculum also covers entrepreneurship, career planning, budgeting, writing checks, taxes and government services, and labor and management.

Equal Earners, Savvy Spenders for girls ages 12 to 14 consists of thirteen 75 minute sessions. This program covers economic and financial topics such as wants and needs, career development, banking skills, loan options, credit cards, investment risk vs. return, consumer tips, media literacy, labor laws, taxes and government services, philanthropy, global economics, and fitting a career into a full, well-rounded life.

Futures and Options for girls and young women ages 15 to 18 is made up of thirteen 60 minute sessions. This program covers economic and financial topics such as attitudes and values about money, career strategies, worker rights, taxes and other paycheck deductions, planning and budgeting, banking, using credit, shopping tips, renting vs. buying, avoiding predatory lenders and other financial traps, and investment options.

Girls Inc. Operation SMART® (Science, Math and Relevant Technology). Girls Incorporated developed Girls Inc. Operation SMART in the mid 1980s in response to our growing concern regarding the shortage of women entering careers in science, math, engineering, and technology. Since then, Girls Inc. Operation SMART has reached over 500,000 girls across the country, boosting their interest in studying science and math, as well opening their eyes to the existence and importance of these subjects in all aspects of their lives. Girls Inc. Operation SMART is the most popular and widely implemented Girls Inc. program.

A formula for success. Assume girls are interested in math, science, and technology. Too many girls — and too many children of color — still get the message that math and science aren't for them. Research shows that parents, teachers and other adults typically expect girls not to perform as well as boys in science, math, and related subjects regardless of their true potential or demonstrated abilities. At Girls Incorporated sites, however, girls jump at the opportunity to dismantle machines, care for and study insects and small animals, and solve logic puzzles. Instead of struggling to get the boys to share the tools, in an all-girl environment girls can focus on the task at hand — and have fun while they're at it.

Let them make big, interesting mistakes. Girls who are overly protected in the lab or on the playground have few chances to assess risks and solve problems on their own. At Girls Incorporated, once dreaded mistakes become hypotheses. Girls are urged to go back to the drawing board to figure out why their newly assembled electric door alarm doesn't work or their water filter gets clogged. Supported by adults instead of rescued, girls learn to embrace their curiosity, face their fear, and trust their own judgment.

Help them get past the “yuck” factor. Girls who are afraid of getting dirty aren't born that way — they're made. Girls Incorporated encourages girls to put concerns about their “femininity” aside and get good and grubby digging in a river bed or exploring a car engine. Girls learn they have a right to be themselves and to resist pressure to behave in gender-stereotyped ways.

Expect them to succeed. In 1999, boys outnumbered girls 3 to 1 among students taking the Advanced Placement test in computer science (73 percent vs. 27 percent). This gap reflects the barrier of low expectations that girls face in male-dominated fields. Girls Incorporated teaches girls that they are not only capable of mastering math and science, they're expected to continue to do so throughout high school and college. They learn that their ambition is as natural as boys'—and as necessary, if they are to become leaders of the 21st century.

Results. A preliminary program evaluation reveals that the more a girl participates in Operation SMART, the more favorable her attitude toward studying science and math. Girls told evaluators that due to Operation SMART, they would use science and math as adults.

YWCA girls

Girls, Inc. Contact Information

Registration Packet (PDF, 613KB)
2014 Flyer (PDF, 121KB)

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