Confidence, leadership, and life skills are themes found in girl empowerment programs. Many parents can admit that it has never been easy to raise a daughter and with the added challenges that kids are facing, girls could use an extra safety net.
While all of these girl empowerment initiatives inspire girls to reach their full potential, they all have their distinct differences. Some focus on physical fitness, while others look to creative writing and even globetrotting. The common denominator in all is that they are specifically designed for girls. They provide a supportive environment for each young woman to learn and to flourish.
Since 1912 the Girl Scouts have been teaching girls new skills and leadership skills. They believe in the power of every G.I.R.L as a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader. With a program for girls ages 5 through 18, they focus on four skill areas: STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills and Entrepreneurship. The Girl Scouts boast a membership of over 2.6 million making this a girl empowerment program that overflows with girl power.
Girls Inc. works with schools in 82 centers to focus on the development of the whole girl. Girls Inc has long-term mentoring programs, a pro-girl environment and research-based programming that provides girls the tools they need to navigate economic, gender and social barriers to lead healthy, educated and independent lives. Founded in 1964, Girls Inc. also works hard on advocacy issues and policy changes that can potentially impact girls everywhere.
Smart Girls was started by a very smart girl that everyone knows, Amy Poehler. Along with a few of her smart friends, Smart Girls focuses on being yourself rather than fitting in. The website has all sorts of fascinating information on science, DIY and personal journeys. Based in Austin, Smart Girls conducts workshops, service days and volunteer opportunities around the United States. Contact them to see when they are coming to an area near you.
The Confidence Coalition was a movement started in 2009 by the Kappa Delta Sorority. The Confidence Coalition is an alliance committed to promoting self-confidence in girls and women in order for them to reach their greatest potential. It is an international movement that empowers women and girls to stand up to peer pressure, stereotypes, risky behavior and abusive relationships. Interested young women can apply for Confidence U Grants to launch their own confidence building initiatives.
Girls for a Change
Girls for a Change’s mission is to support girls of color and inspire them to visualize their bright futures and potential through discovery, development and social change innovation. Through their Girl Action Teams middle and high school age girls meet after school to have a voice, gain confidence and work on problem solving. They also offer Girls Who Code programs and Diva Camps throughout the year.
Write Girl is a Los Angeles-based writing and mentoring organization that matches female students with professional writers. Write Girl began as a way to reach vulnerable girls in the large and overcrowded Los Angeles public school system. Through monthly workshops, panel discussions and other events, young women are taught creative writing, critical thinking and other life skills. Write Girl is tremendously proud to note that since 2001, 100% of their graduates have gone on to college, many with full or partial scholarships. Well done, Write Girl!
Girls on the Run
Chances are you have spotted this dynamic fleet running on a sidewalk near your home or school. Each Spring, Girls on the Run (GOTR) sweeps the nation-all 50 states- with their experience-based curriculum. They encourage girls in 3rd to 8th grade to be joyful, healthy and confident through their running program. Teams meet twice a week for running games and other like skills lessons. The program culminates in a 5K running event which gives girls a goal to strive towards. GOTR hosts 350 5K races each year.
FearlesslyGirl is an international anti-bullying organization that strives to create a kinder world in schools and communities. Through school assemblies, classroom curriculum and campus clubs they aim to inspire the next generation of girls to be kinder to themselves and one another. They are currently active in 27 States, 7 Provinces and 7 countries across the world.
Girl Talk is a simple idea that leads to a big impact. High school girl mentors are paired with middle school mentees to support them through their adolescent years. Younger girls get the support that they need and older girls gain mentorship and leadership skills. The Girl Talk program helps girls build confidence, become more service-minded and become better with relationships. Girls ages 8-18 can be a part of the program that currently serves about 60,000.
Girls Going Global
Girls Going Global (GGG) describes itself as a sisterhood. Partnering with the Peace Corps the organization takes young African-American women, ages 13-17, to international destinations in order to learn about other cultures and participate in service learning projects. The focus is on global awareness, leadership training and civic engagement. Currently, GGG is operating in the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas.
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America aim to enable all young people to reach their highest potential, especially those who need help the most. The Clubs began in 1906 as a place where every young person who enters their doors will begin a track to graduate high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship and living a healthy lifestyle.
Girl Up is a United Nations initiative that aims to support girls in the hardest-to-reach places, in the places where it is hardest to be a girl. The comprehensive Girl Up Network focuses on education, health, safety, leadership and documentation. The Girl Up network is a borderless movement with nearly half a million supporters in the US and around the world.
Though we aimed for an ultimate list, this is by no means a complete list. Though there are many other wonderful girl empowerment programs there are just too many to include. We applaud all girl empowerment programs. To the leaders, volunteers, families and young women, keep up the good work!