Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis will this evening celebrate its 50th anniversary. The organization, which aims to help the development of girls from age 6-18, first opened its doors in October of 1969 and will mark the milestone with an event featuring world-renown scholar and humanitarian Dr. Tererai Trent.
Girls Inc.’s national headquarters are located in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana has the second-most Girls Inc. chapters in the country, behind California. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Chief Executive Officer Elyssa Campodonico-Barr said the organization has changed its model to go into schools.
“We used to be a club-based model, actually the Girls Clubs of Indiana and Indianapolis, and switched our model to do what we call an outreach program where we are serving girls in the schools,” said Campodonico-Barr. “Transportation is always a barrier for parents and folks with whom girls live with and so we took the programming to the schools. Instead of serving hundreds of girls a year, we know serve thousands of girls a year and work in really close partnerships with almost every single school district in the counties that we serve.”
Over its 50-year history, the organization says it has provided more than 140,000 girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges they may face. Campodonico-Barr says the mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold.
“What that really translates to is we’re helping girls to be healthy, both mentally and physically, during all of the changes that happen in their lives from 6-18. We’re helping them to be educated by ensuring that they graduate from high school on time and that they’re economically independent in their future, they don’t have to be a leader in their community or in work without the reliance on a partner, and also that they have all the self-confidence in the world.”
An Evening with Dr. Tererai Trent will take place at Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis. Girls Inc. says she will lead a discussion on “the significance of building a strong and supportive network of leaders who can activate the next generation of empowered women and allies of women.”