At the GIRLS CLUB
The Lower East Side Girls Club is a 501(c) non-profit organization that gives young girls the opportunities and resources to become strong women of empowerment. From pre-adolescence to young adulthood, the Girls Club helps girls to not only uncover their passions and dreams for the future, but also to help them actually achieve success in the world based on those interests. They offer a variety of programs which help the girls to grow their skill sets in STEM, the arts, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and activism—allowing them to expand their capabilities as well as to foster a strong sense of self- and social- awareness.
They are then given the opportunities and social capital to mold these capabilities into careers. The girls that this organization helps are often those who would not otherwise receive these resources—a majority attend underfunded schools and live in areas of poverty, which places unnecessary stress on these young girls and inhibits their ability to learn and grow in a safe environment. The Girls Club also provides health and wellness resources in the form of exercise classes and facilities, on-site nurses and counselors, and tools for dealing with toxic stress. Volunteers and workers act as mentors to the girls, giving them positive role models and a strong support system, and the Girls Club itself provides them with a permanent and stable place in their lives where they can form and sustain friendships as well as realize their own potential. Kelly Webb, the Director of the Sound Studio at the Girl’s club, describes her experience working with the girls and times when she felt that she was making a positive change to their lives. Of the Girls Club’s impact on the girls themselves, she says:
“The girls here are incredibly supportive of each other and we encourage that. In addition, we give them a space to express their fears, thoughts, and creative ideas. Together, we investigate tools to change inequity and injustice in society so that they come from a place of empowerment and learn to use their voice effectively. They are very invested in making a change in a world where a lot of the current policies and politics do not make sense to them. And they have the intellect and energy to do the work required to make a change.”
This vital resource to the Lower East Side not only enhances these girls’ lives, but also strengthens the community by creating strong and smart women who can positively influence the area and therefore the world around them.
By Bailey Calfee