Karina Jougla of Carpinteria started attending the Girls Inc. of Carpinteria summer program when she was just 5 years old, and this year, she graduated from Columbia University in New York, crediting Girls Inc. with providing her with the opportunities that have led to her success.
Without Girls Inc., Jougla said she would not have been able to attend Columbia, a private Ivy League research university. The scholarships she received from Girls Inc. totaled $35,000, placing the once impossible goal of attending the school within her reach.
Girls Inc. provides girls with life-changing opportunities. One of the opportunities that Jougla said had a profound effect on her, as well as thousands of other girls across the country, was Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign.
Girl Up is a campaign started by the United Nations and partnered with Girls Inc. As described in their mission statement, “When girls stand up for girls in need, they empower each other and transform our world. ... Our efforts help the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.”
Through the inspiring work Jougla did with Girl Up, she is now hoping to continue working for gender equality and human rights.
She noted that she is “really not exaggerating when saying that Girls Inc. has been a life-changing experience.”
Girls Inc. addresses the insecurities and issues that girls face growing up. It helps teach them how to navigate the world and how to handle issues presented to girls and women on an everyday basis. The offerings include financial literacy workshops, self-defense classes, programs in STEM, and workshops on the role of women in popular culture.
Jessica Wetzel, program director of the Carpinteria chapter of Girls Inc., described the importance of scholarships in their work, as in Jougla’s experience.
Girls Inc. offers scholarships to girls all over the country. The scholarships enable and empower young women to pursue a future they’re passionate about and they’re proud of.
One of the newest scholarships given by the Carpinteria Girls Inc. is the “Strong, Smart & Bold” 8th Grade Scholarship, a scholarship of $500 given to eighth-grade Girls Inc. members. The money is held in escrow until they begin their post-secondary education.
Recipients of the Strong, Smart & Bold 8th Grade Scholarship are often the first ones in their family to be on a path toward attending college. The scholarship is offered to provide recipients the encouragement to pursue college with the knowledge that people believe they can and have the ability to attend and succeed.
When asked how Girls Inc. remains top of the class in their work with girls, Wetzel pointed to their strong foundation in their national network.
Girls Inc. is constantly asking “what more do they [the girls] need and how can we provide it to them,” she said, adding that it is rooted in a data-driven and research-based curriculum that is constantly evolving with the needs of girls across the country.