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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Girls Rock! DC

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Music, Youth Development

Mission: Girls Rock! DC is a supportive, inclusive, and creative space for cis and trans girls and non-binary and other gender expansive youth to develop their self-confidence, build community, rise up, and rock out!

Results: Every year, Girls Rock! DC serves more than 100 youths and 20 adults through our after-school programs, camps, and workshops. Our participants go on to be more engaged learners, more thoughtful artists, and more confident community leaders. In other words, they become true rock stars.

Target demographics: cis and trans girls and non-binary and other gender expansive youth

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100 youth

Geographic areas served: the Washington, DC Area

Programs: Girls Rock! DC provides unique music education programs like camps, after-school activities, workshops, and more!

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a nonprofit professional who has built a career advocating for women and girls empowerment I arrived at GR!DC full of energy excited to share my "expertise." Imagine my glee as I came to realize that this diverse group of young girls ranging from 8 - 18 years old developed a peer culture, when given the autonomy to do so, that not only sought to understand their cultural and gender differences but to respect the differences in others. On dress up day a favorite teacher changed her typical style but by lunchtime a frustrated group of young girls approached their good-natured teacher in the hallway and firmly stated that she was not being herself (being authentic). They stated that although they liked her outfit it hid who she really was but not to worry they were only clothes. The real person was still inside. And, she'll be back tomorrow!!! Whether we're creating skits about afro-futurism or developing an understanding of cultural appropriation vs. appreciation to the right to self-identify ourselves for ourselves GR!DC is on the frontline..

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit continues to help and cultivate the necessary creativity of the community

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

This year has been difficult for everyone. I'm thoroughly impressed by our Staff who pulled off a rather spectacular virtual camp. Now more than ever, it's important to provide programming that is radically inclusive and rejects any notion of racist or gender essential paradigms. Girs Rock! DC is not just about the music, although the music is impressive. Girls Rock! DC is about uplifting the voices of youth.

Previous Stories
5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I feel honored to serve on the Board of this organization. The creativity that comes out of the Summer Camp is truly awe-inspiring.

2 Diana R.4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC continues to be cornerstone in the local DC community. Even during a pandemic and uncertain times, they were able to adapt and still provide leadership skills and music education opportunities for young people across the District through a virtual summer camp (and an amazing showcase!). It's refreshing to see an organization live its values so authentically and fully. Looking forward to their continued virtual programming for youth, at least until we can get back to in-person rocking out!

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4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC's work uniquely combines youth leadership development and empowerment through music/arts/activist education. It offers a much-needed space for young people, especially cis-, trans-, and gender non-conforming youth to build confidence, create community, and build friendships that will last a lifetime. With its 10 year history, I often meet people in the community who are former campers or volunteers. A truly community-driven organization!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Girls Rock! DC as a camper, a volunteer and now a board member. The work this org does in the community is crucial. It provides a platform for girls, trans youth and nonbinary youth to be confident, be loud and be heard. What I love about the organization's programming is that it helps campers identify their own greatness and the greatness in others, and encourages them to share that greatness with the rest of the world. GR!DC is an opportunity for youth, particularly BIPOC youth, to learn how to play music individually AND collaboratively.

The organization has moved beyond just the traditional summer camp model (though that is still strong, even in our virtual COVID-19 world), and offers an after school program and adult camp as well. The people I've met through GR!DC are some of my closest friends, and the skills I've learned there have carried through both in my professional life and personal. It's a profoundly life-changing organization, but it's also incredibly fun. Would recommend.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered several times with Girls Rock! DC, and this year I was incredibly impressed by the organization's ability to successfully pull off a virtual summer camp during the pandemic. Despite the challenges inherent in a virtual format, Girls Rock! DC leadership rose to the occasion and provided a positive and meaningful experience for campers and volunteers alike. Thank you, Girls Rock! DC!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at Girls Rock! DC was awesome. The kids are great, and the staff is super communicative and energetic. Highly suggest.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started with Girls Rock! DC as a camper at their 2014 adult rock camp and to say this program is "life-changing" is not hyperbole.

At the end of the camp I attended, I said (aloud to anyone who would listen) that "It's this empowering for me, can you even imagine how important it is for the youth campers?!" I've served in a volunteer capacity ever since.

In my own life, adult rock camp is how I learned how to find my voice, take up space, and make noise, which has served me so well in both a professional and personal capacity. Camp is also what taught me that playing in bands is something I am, in fact "allowed to do" as a woman (a subtle thing that I carried with me for a lifetime that I've now unlearned.) I'm now in a band of amazing people who I met through a Girls Rock! DC fundraising event and we've headlined some of the most prominent DC venues. I love this organization with all of my heart.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as a workshop leader at camp the summer of 2020 and am so impressed with the help I received from the camp leadership, the preparation of the staff, and the other folx volunteering. It’s a joy spending time with Girls Rock! DC!

2 Monica L.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC is a beautful community providing gender-inclusive space for youth to rock out. I'm grateful and proud to be a part of and support GR!DC camp.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization creates opportunities for cis and trans girls and non-binary youth to rock out (and build confidence, practice leadership, and develop their own artistic and political voice). GR!DC is wonderful.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GR!DC is a caring, inclusive, fun space for girls and non-binary youth to learn to play music, build friendships, and be leaders. I've volunteered with GR!DC a number of times and I love being a part of a community that is thoroughly involved in its mission and work.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

For 10+ years and counting, Girls Rock! DC continues to host transformative, creative and confidence-building musical programming for DC youth between the ages of 8-18. This organization is unique in its community support, inclusivity, youth leadership opportunities - not to mention musical education - and provides music education to those students who often miss out.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC is doing amazing work to support youth in the DC Metropolitan area. I cannot overstate the importance of organizations like GR! DC in building a future with strong, confident leaders (with awesome musical skills to boot).

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC is a really special organization - every year, volunteering at summer camp is the highlight of my summer! This community is really strong, with both youth and adult volunteers coming back year after year. Everyone involved really cares about the youth and making sure they are learning and having the best possible experience. The organizational values of rock camp are particularly amazing - I've never seen a program that is more focused on what amplifying youth voices actually looks like in practice.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Girls Rock! DC their very first year, back in 2008, and I've loved the organization ever since. Various young ladies that I mentored attended the week-long camp over the years, and they still rave about it to this day. I served as a volunteer while the girls rocked out. The culmination of the camp, the final concert, is powerful and inspiring!

3 Erin F.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls Rock! DC offers a much needed avenue for girls and nonbinary youth to explore music, identity, camaraderie, and community. A highly effective and established organization, Girls Rock! DC has been responding to the needs of DC area youth responsibly and sensitively for years through fun engaging programming and youth leadership, driven by a passionate base of volunteers and supporters.

3 Noel S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with Girls Rock! DC and loved it so much that I joined the team permanently. Girls Rock! DC practices its feminist values more deeply than any organization I know. I love how the programs are truly youth-centered. This is an incredible music education organization!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Many times we consider supporting a cause and never know for sure if it will make a difference. I am writing to tell you that Girls Rock! DC, helped change my little girl’s life.

Katie was a happy, friendly and creative little girl until about 18 months ago when her life took a terrible turn. Sadness became crippling. Fear of a few things became uncontrollable fear of most things. Her emotions prevented her from being able to attend school, church or any other activities. Some days she was too afraid or sad to leave our home. Her friends dropped away as they were unable to relate to her. She withdrew from everyone, just so she could feel safe. What a terrible burden at the tender age of twelve.

However, love of music was a constant in her life. She would laugh and sing her heart out at home. But she could never share that joy with anyone but her father and me.

And then, everything changed. Katie got a scholarship to attend Girls Rock! DC. At first I was afraid to try another camp. But I spoke to one of the volunteers and heard her caring and concern. This program seemed different from ones we had tried before. Katie was terrified the first day. But they had counselors, a nurse and a compassionate staff who were patient and let her engage at her own pace.

This camp wasn’t just about the music. These women and men had created a place where girls can feel accepted, safe and powerful. They learned to be genuine and that they deserve respect. They were shown that we are all different from each other and that those differences make us beautiful.

The curriculum was about more than music theory. It was about the portrayal of women in music and media, developing leadership skills, creative problem solving, collaborative behavior, healthy relationships and more. In addition, they got to rock out every day with other girls and excellent mentors. I had to hide my tears from her when she came home the second day and said she made a friend. Can you imagine how amazing those words sounded to me?

Since this wonderful camp has ended, my Katie has proudly told people that she performed on the same stage as Loretta Lynn, who played at the 9:30 club the night before the Camper Showcase. She has joined two other bands and auditioned for a semi-professional children’s chorus. She is attending school regularly, volunteers at a local agency, and has reconnected with an old friend.

So you see, this camp helped change my little girl’s life. She will always have to work hard to stay well, but this camp helped start her on that path. It gave her an opportunity to understand her own power and how her love of music can be a shelter for coming storms. I cannot express how grateful I am to the staff of Girls Rock! DC, for the role they played in this life-changing camp. I know the camp will be well remembered by all of the girls. The lives they have changed must be many.