Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 3:42 am | Fair 48º

 
 
 
 

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Relies on Community of Resources to Help Its Girls Succeed

Having forged a strong partnership with schools, organization looks to create even more opportunities for personal and (future) professional growth

Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, is proud of how the organization helps its girls build a strong sense of self and learn who they are. “Academics is important, but at the end of the day, we want girls walking out saying, ‘I know who I am, and I’m OK with it,’” she says. Click to view larger
Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, is proud of how the organization helps its girls build a strong sense of self and learn who they are. “Academics is important, but at the end of the day, we want girls walking out saying, ‘I know who I am, and I’m OK with it,’” she says. (Joshua Curry photo)

[Noozhawk’s note: Third in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation. Click here for the first story and click here for the second.]

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria provides after-school tutoring programs, reading partners, sports, summer camps and mentoring programs for some 700 girls each year.

Like all nonprofit organizations, its programs — and the youth who benefit from them — thrive through the support of the community, from volunteers who give of their time, to donors, grants and corporate partnerships.

“We’re very fortunate to have a diverse funding stream,” Girls Inc. executive director Victoria Juarez told Noozhawk. “What’s been clear in the last year is that raising money is going to be more critical. We’ve seen a decrease in funding from certain foundations and donors.”

Since its inception in the 1970s, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria has funded itself through fee-for-service programs, county grants, and corporate and private donors. A $2.4 million fundraising campaign in the mid-1990s allowed the organization to expand from its small home on Maple Street to its campus at 5315 Foothill Road, across the street from Carpinteria High School.

Programs have evolved from that original, simple summer camp to involve partnerships with school districts and future employers. It provides after-school programming with an eye on developing girls’ futures, and a program specifically designed to get girls on the college track, and keep them there.

“Administrators and teachers at our schools and districts would tell you that the synergy created by partnering with powerful after-school programs like Girls Inc. is incredible,“ said Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County schools’ superintendent. “Groups like Girls Inc. recognize that the young students of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and they understand both the responsibility and privilege of being able to shape the future through our students.

“We talk a lot about change agents, and it’s hard to find a better example of agents of change than the organizations that collaborate with our schools to make a difference in students’ lives.”

Investing in Girls Inc. means investing in girls’ futures, Juarez said.

Santa Barbara County schools Superintendent Susan Salcido points to the long-range benefits of the Girls Inc. model. “We know that children learn in so many different ways that extend beyond the school day,” she says. “With the support of enrichment programs through organizations like Girls Inc., students have multiple opportunities to find their way in the world, to become the best versions of themselves.” Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County schools Superintendent Susan Salcido points to the long-range benefits of the Girls Inc. model. “We know that children learn in so many different ways that extend beyond the school day,” she says. “With the support of enrichment programs through organizations like Girls Inc., students have multiple opportunities to find their way in the world, to become the best versions of themselves.” (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

“We know that children learn in so many different ways that extend beyond the school day,” Salcido explained. “With the support of enrichment programs through organizations like Girls Inc., students have multiple opportunities to find their way in the world, to become the best versions of themselves.

“The data is clear that students who are excited about and engaged in their learning experiences have a tendency to carry that excitement forward and will positively impact their academic progress, as well as social and emotional well-being.”

But Girls Inc. has always been about far more than supporting schools or improving test scores.

“It’s about building a strong sense of self, about providing all girls the opportunities to experience, to learn who they are, so when the time comes — whether it’s on the playground, in the cafeteria, in a classroom — when the time comes to make hard decisions, they’ll be able to do it with kindness and compassion,” Juarez said.

“Academics is important, but at the end of the day, we want girls walking out saying, ‘I know who I am, and I’m OK with it.’”

Girls Inc. invites community members to volunteer in any manner of methods: provide expanded program access by sponsoring a girl; serve on career panels that demonstrate what it means to be strong, smart and bold; mentor youth; lead cooking classes, fashion club and girl-driven interest clubs; pair up with reading partners; take on fund-raising efforts; provide guidance through externships.

“If our mission and vision speaks to them, if we could have volunteers close gaps, it would be huge,” Juarez said.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria can always use more help from community volunteers and donors. Contact the organization for more details. Click to view larger
Girls Inc. of Carpinteria can always use more help from community volunteers and donors. Contact the organization for more details. (Girls Inc. of Carpinteria photo)

Click here for more information about Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, its programs and offerings, how to sign up or to volunteer. Click here to make an online donation.

F.Y.I.

The Thomas Fire has been devastating to many in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and its impacts also have been felt among the Girls Inc. of Carpinteria family. As mandatory evacuation orders were being lifted for much of Carpinteria last week, the organization issued this statement:

“The last two weeks have been an incredibly challenging time for our community with the Thomas Fire, one of the most destructive and relentless wildfires in our state’s history.

“At Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, ensuring the safety of our members and staff is our No. 1 priority. Girls Inc. staff made more than 100 wellness calls to our families, and all are safe and ready to receive communication from staff via text.

“We continue to monitor the Thomas Fire, and our leadership team meets daily to assess contingency plans that best support the needs of our girls and their families.

“Our current plan includes cleaning our campus in Carpinteria and assessing its air quality to ensure we can safely resume our programming.

“During this time, we will offer our planned winter break programming at the Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara campus in Goleta from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 18-22. Transportation will be provided for our Carpinteria members to and from Goleta. Any changes to our current plan will be communicated to our families immediately.

“We would like to express our gratitude to all the firefighters and first responders working tirelessly to keep our community safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with these heroic individuals and their families.

“There is no doubt that the spirit of resilience is powerful among our community, and we are proud to see everyone coming together to support one another during this time.”

For any questions regarding Girls Inc. in Carpinteria, contact executive director Victoria Juarez at [email protected] or 805.684.6364.

Noozhawk contributing writer Jennifer Best can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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