Executive Director Victoria Juarez and board trustee Craig Price of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria attended the Women’s Fund annual awards luncheon to accept a $50,000 grant for the Girls Inc. Eureka! project, a five-year program for girls beginning the summer before eight grade and continuing through the 12th grade.

“The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara is thrilled to be supporting the Eureka! Program of Girls Inc. Carpinteria,” said Sally Tannenbaum, member of the Women’s Fund. “Our members believe the program is compelling and look forward to hearing success stories of girls from Carpinteria in the future.”

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara responds to critical community needs by making substantial gifts in the Santa Barbara area. Through the power of collective philanthropy, it serves as a catalyst for bringing women together with an emphasis on funding meaningful projects affecting women, children and families. The Fund seeks to educate and inspire women to become leaders in philanthropy and demonstrate the impact of collective giving.

Eureka! offers girls both summer and school-year programming. During the first two summers, girls spend four weeks on a college campus participating in hands-on activities in math, science, technology, sports, personal development and careers. For the third and final summer, Eurekans participate in a four-week paid internship in career fields of their choice hosted by women professionals.

Eureka! school-year support services include academic and college counseling, SAT preparation workshops, field trips, leadership opportunities, and weekly workshops on culture, writing, social issues, math and science. Girls will continue to receive support from staff during the eleventh and twelfth grades. Eureka staff will support girls in identifying and pursuing college and additional professional development opportunities.

“The Women’s Fund meets the needs in the here and now by helping to feed the hungry and heal the sick,” Juarez said. “With Eureka!, however, they are investing in our future by enabling young women to achieve personal autonomy and economic self-sufficiency.”

The majority of Eureka! program participants attend public schools in Carpinteria Unified School District, where only about 40 percent of 12th-grade graduates complete course requirements for entrance into the University of California or California State University systems.

Through the five-year intensive Eureka! program, girls are encouraged to deepen their focus on academic achievement and career planning, and the program emphasizes building their interest in science and math — at an age when their interest in these subjects is at risk of declining.

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