It’s been a hot, wild and whirlwind of a summer! As the temperatures cool down — maybe — and vacations come to an end, it’s time to start looking ahead to the coming school year.

But that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! With Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, it certainly won’t, and with more than 200 rotating class offerings during the school year, your daughter’s learning doesn’t have to either.

Noozhawk sat down with Kristen Weaver, marketing and communications manager of Girls Inc., to learn more about what the nonprofit organization is offering this fall.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara

Question: What is the name of your after-school program? What is its mission?

Answer: Girls Inc.’s After-School Program is based on our core belief in the inherent potential of girls and young women, and achieving gender equity. Our mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara
To encourage academic excellence after the school day ends, Girls Inc. offers daily homework assistance, academic enrichment and STEM activities. (GIrls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara photo)

Q: Describe the activities involved.

A: Each day after school, Girls Inc. transports girls and young women to our centers from more than 30 local schools. Our all-girl, pro-girl environment offers girls structured, educational and research-based enrichment programs that expose girls to the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to thrive socially, academically, emotionally and physically.

Strong, Smart and Bold Classes are developmentally appropriate, and include STEM, literacy, sports, art, cooking, coding, college prep, career exploration, performing arts and more. Girls and their parents select their classes each quarter so each girl can explore her curiosity and expand her interests. And each girl ends her day by working on homework with the aid of her facilitator and volunteers.

We’ve had really good feeback about our program from parents.

One of our Girls Inc. parents said, “I love that my girls are being given opportunities to do things that I would not normally be able to provide for them, such as golf class, surf class, being part of soccer and a basketball team. They are also exposed to different cultures, robotics and cooking, things they would not normally get in school.”

Q: What is the age range for children to participate?

A: Grades TK-12.

Q: What makes your program unique and worthwhile?

A: Our after-school program helps girls to grow up healthy, educated and independent.

In Healthy Living (Strong) classes, girls increase their understanding of health issues affecting them, their families and their communities. They develop the motivation and practical skills to take charge of their health today and throughout their lives.

In Academic Enrichment and Support (Smart) classes, girls participate in program activities and experiences that expand upon and support their school-based learning and engagement, and provide the assistance and guidance that may not be present at home.

In Life Skills classes (Bold), girls participate in program activities and experiences that build the learning, skills and behaviors that increase confidence and resiliency, enabling them to set and achieve their goals and lead productive, independent and fulfilling lives.

At Girls Inc., girls learn resiliency, to find their voices to advocate for themselves and for others, and learn to envision their future without gender bias, economic or other limitations.

Q: Has any part of the program changed since it was created?

A: Girls Inc. after-school classes evolve each year to meet the needs of girls and young women. Girls will often ask for a class to be created to address what they may be facing socially, academically or developmentally.

Q: What is the best part, in your opinion, about your program?

A: The mentoring relationships; the all-girl and pro-girl environment where girls feel supported and free to express themselves, practice their leadership and advocacy skills, and explore their curiosities and interests.

Q: What is the average program size or class size for your activity? Teacher to student ratio?

A: At Girls Inc., girls enjoy the benefits of mentoring relationships with a 14-to-1 girl-to-staff ratio.

Q: In what ways is your program educational?

A: Daily homework assistance, academic enrichment and STEM activities, reading ambassador program, and literacy foundation to all classes.

Q: Is there anything else parents should know?

A: Parents have the flexibility to sign their girls up for part time or full time. Girls Inc. centers are licensed child-care facilities. Financial assistance and sibling discounts may be available.

Q: What is the cost/tuition? Are scholarships available?

A: Grades TK-6: $65-$75/week part-time and $110-$120/week full-time. Grades 7+: $35/week part-time and $55/week full-time. Financial assistance and sibling discounts may be available.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your program?

A: Yes, the girls learn so much about themselves and about who they want to be when they grow up. For example, Mia, age 12, said “If I hadn’t come to Girls Inc., I think I would be one of those girls in school who wouldn’t try their hardest and would give up after high school. Girls Inc. has helped me become a different person because they have pushed me to go to college. Now I want to go to college, and with my leadership skills I can also help others pursue their dreams.”

It’s really great!

Click here for more information about Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

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