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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 5:13 am | Fair 53º


Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara Opens Teen Center, Expands Services for Local Girls

Ninth grade girls will now be able to participate in after school activities at Girls Inc.‘s newly opened Teen Center. Click to view larger
Ninth grade girls will now be able to participate in after school activities at Girls Inc.‘s newly opened Teen Center. (GIGSB photo)

Local teen girls now have a special space to call their home away from home after school, thanks to Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara (GIGSB).

The nonprofit organization has opened the doors to its new Teen Center, a space designated for teenage girls, designed to further enrich the growing minds of the girls with organized athletics, academics, arts and open creative outlets to explore and develop.

With the new Teen Center and targeted programming for teens, GIGSB has also expanded its reach to begin serving ninth grade students. Until recently, the organization had served girls from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through eighth grade.

“Girls and teens that do not participate in programs like Girls Inc. after school are more susceptible to getting involved in negative social tendencies,” said Kyrie Belme, program development manager at GIGSB.

“We recognized a reduced number in our seventh and eighth grade girls," she said, "and wanted to address this by providing them with a more teen-geared program that is separate from the younger girls. We’re thrilled to have this new space for our teens that will foster their self-esteem, confidence and help them reach their full potential.” 

Located at GIGSB’s Goleta location at 4973 Hollister Avenue, the Teen Center is now seeing seventh through ninth grade girls from both Santa Barbara and Goleta schools.   

“It’s wonderful that we can now serve the girls who attend our Santa Barbara and Goleta centers all at one location, so they really connect and develop a sisterhood with one another, while setting them apart from the younger age group,” added Belme. 

GIGSB is a chapter of Girls Incorporated, a national organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.

Through educational programs and advocacy, Girls Inc. encourages girls and young women to take risks; master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges; and prepare them to lead successful, independent and fulfilling lives.

The new Teen Center is currently serving nearly two dozen girls each day, with a variety of programming that includes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects, such as coding and creating solar ovens; career exploration; life skills; creative expression, including cooking, art and poetry; and off-site community service with local organizations.

The girls also have mentors that are available to assist with homework and other needs. 

GIGSB ultimately hopes to expand further to serve 10th - 12th grade girls, seeing them through to high school and looking ahead to college preparation.

For more information about the Teen Center or Girls Inc.’s programs, please call 805.967.0318 or visit www.girlsincsb.org.

Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

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