Updated: Apr 5, 2019
By Jeannie Howard
The role of women in our society has undoubtedly undergone major transformations over the past four decades, and continues to do so. The same is true for Girls Inc. and what the organization focuses on for girls and young women.
Originally founded in 1975 as the Girls Club of America, the organization, at the time, was focused on fostering good domestic values by teaching girl skills such as sewing and cooking, but Girls Inc. has morphed its focus over the years to match that of the growing role of women. Today the organization has 83 affiliates nation-wide, with three in the Bay Area, and is committed to empowering girls and teaching them how to be successful in today’s world and how to face the ever changing challenges it brings.
“Now we teach girls how to be strong, smart, and bold, and about overcoming glass-ceiling obstacles,” said Tiffany Harris, executive director of Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa. “We are letting them know they can do whatever they set their minds to.”
Serving nearly 500 girls, ages five to 18 years old, throughout West Contra Costa, Girls Inc. offers a wide variety of year-round programing at their location and through partnerships at twelve schools. Because the organization relies heavily on grants and donations, some of the programs do have a nominal fee to assist with off-setting operating costs. From the Girls Who Code classes to Friendly PEERsuasion, Harris said that “all of the programs line up under our mission of strong, smart, and bold.”
Of all of the programs Girls Inc. offers, Harris said that the Media Literacy program is one of her favorites. “I am totally intrigued by the media,” she admitted. “In the Media Literacy program we take a close look at how girls and women are seen in the media, and we analyze it by questioning if it is acceptable, do we like it, are the images truthful, and how should we be seen.”
Another one of her favorite programs offered through Girls Inc. is the Collage Bound Girls program. “This is like our final level program before the girls graduate high school and go into the real world,” Harris said. Through this program, participating young women are exposed to a variety of collage and career opportunities through campus tours and meeting influential female