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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Receives Commission for Women Service Award

Six teens and several staff members from Girls Inc. of Carpinteria attended a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting to accept a service award for the Eureka! program.

The Santa Barbara County Commission for Women established the service awards, which are celebrated in March, during Women’s History Month. The award recognizes organizations that help serve women and girls in Santa Barbara County, particularly those who advocate for women in need. Girls Inc. of Carpinteria was the honoree from District 1.

“We are delighted to recognize the Eureka! program for its effectiveness in positively impacting the lives of local girls,” said Marybeth Carty, member of the Commission for Women. “Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is making a five year commitment to help ensure that each of the Eurekans are on a path to healthy, productive, economically independent futures.”

Eureka! is a five-year college bound and career development program for underserved girls ages 12 to 18. The program begins with an intensive experience on the UC Santa Barbara campus for four weeks during years one and two; this experience prepares the girls for a paid internship in a field of choice in year three. Years four and five of Eureka! focus on grades, SAT prep, scholarships, financial aid, college applications and community service.

Most program participants are Latina, from working poor families and will be first generation college students. Prior to Eureka! most of the girls served did not participate in any college encouragement programs. In fact, these girls often fall through the cracks of existing college bound programs and end up working in low-wage jobs.

“The Eureka! program expands what these girls believe is possible for their futures,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Having the girls spend so much time on the UC Santa Barbara campus really builds their confidence and helps them to envision themselves as future college students. The shift we see in their thinking is life-changing.”

Earlier this month, five Eureka! members received a big vote of confidence and $500 to use toward college. The teens each earned a Strong, Smart and Bold Eight Grade Scholarship in a nationwide competition created by Girls Inc. National to support girls engaged in college bound programming.

— Victoria Juarez is executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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