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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Girls to Women

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Girls Clubs, Youth Centers & Clubs

Mission: “To support girls as they design their futures for successful womanhood.”

Results: •Delivering a consistent after-school program every non-holiday weekday afternoon since our inception. Average attendance has exceeded 3 times/week/girl and over 10 months since we started in early 2007. •Beginning our 4th dynamic and popular 6-week summer session serving 2/3rds of our academic year participants but with a large influx (about 1/3rd) of new girls & families. We expect to see close 100% full attendance again during Summer 2010. •Attracting an estimated $15,000 worth of in-kind contributions of everything from art supplies to volunteer-time in 2009. •Partnering with 12 other community agencies, service groups, and businesses to deliver everything from academic support to arts activities to field trips. •Raising over $70,000 in grants revenue and more than $58,000 in individual donor contributions last year. •Recruiting over two dozen local academic-track high school students from cultural backgrounds similar to those of our girls, who serve as 1-on-1 mentoring and academic support volunteers. •Building leadership skills in girls 11-16 by: involving them in support for younger girls; having them help administer the organization; and by soliciting their feedback in program development. •Establishing (October, 2008) an ongoing gardening, nutrition, and environmental education program in partnership with local urban greening group Collective Roots.

Target demographics: Low-income school-age girls from Latina, African-American, & Pacific Islander cultural groups in East Palo Alto (San Mateo County, CA)

Direct beneficiaries per year: 60 participants

Geographic areas served: East Palo Alto

Programs: Participating girls: •Receive individual academic assistance that takes their linguistic and cultural background into consideration. Late elementary-age girls will be more likely to gain admittance to academic-track middle schools. •Optimize their mental and physical development through nutritional support; emotional and physical health education & consultations; and through a variety of sports, games, and movement arts. •Appreciate the arts and learn about themselves through participation in a variety of creative activities such as painting, drama, music, crafts, and through field trips to regional arts and cultural centers. •Become competent with basic information technology that can help them achieve scholastic, creative, and basic communications objectives. •Receive the physical, educational, and spiritual benefits of frequent exposure to the outdoors, gardens, and natural areas. •Become more familiar with and feel supported by their local community, leading to viewing a multicultural community as an asset, while affirming their own cultural traditions. •Gain a sense of their own positive potential as doers and leaders. •Enjoy adult support and mentorship from well-prepared, motivated program staff and volunteers who retain their commitment over time.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Girls to Women is an inspiring program. I watched girls from primary school age to young adults working together with admiration and support for each other. The staff is competent, energetic and supportive of girls of all ages, with age appropriate programs.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls To Women (G2W) is a special part of our community. My two daughters love this organization. My 10 year old daugther has been in G2W since she was 5 years old. The program has supported her personal growth in many ways through the years. Girls To Women offers tutoring, sewing, cooking, science, and tools for girls to become well rounded women. For example one day my daughter said to me while talking "I use to hate looking in the mirror. Now, I like looking in the mirror." I asked what changed? She explained the circle, hat and affirmation exercises that she did every day in the summer at Girls To Women. Through these exercise she gradually started changing the way she thought of herself and by the end of the summer her perspective totally changed. As a parent Girls To Women is already a Great Nonprofit. They are teaching young women the tools for success and building leaders.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program is a wonderful asset for our community. I have volunteered here 1-2 days a week for the last 6 months. The teachers have created a wonderful environment for the girls to flourish, academically, socially and creatively. The girls in this program are absolute joys, bursting with energy and creativity. The program has an academic focus, ensuring the girls spend time every day on their homework, improving their confidence and skill in reading, math and other subjects. The program provides the girls with a small, albeit well-stocked library, encouraging the girls to value reading. In addition to the academic focus, there is an emphasis on social development. The girls participate in activities designed to help them explore their feelings about such complex issues as self-esteem, body image, race and bullying. The program also provides the girls with a wide range of arts and craft materials, which they use to explore their creative sides. Most recently the girls have made gorgeous water color paintings and loads of colorful friendship bracelets. For the past several weeks, I have been leading the girls in a cooking class; once a week the girls get to measure (an opportunity to practice math), mix, grate and bake their way to a delicious snack to share. It is an amazing experience watching the girls discover the feel of flour on their hands, or the smell of vanilla extract. Sometimes, we have even harvested vegetables from the Girls to Women garden to use in the recipes. Most exciting of all, is seeing the older girls step up to help the younger girls; you couldn't ask for a better example of the bonded community created by Girls to Women.

Lulu O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This program has really helped my children . To understand homework & get better grades . My kids are college bound now . I also like it because I believe that they will have a great future , not only for them but for the state of California .

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have my two daughters going there, they enjoy been there
MSS.Joann and Miriam they do an exceptional work with all girls
in girls to women.

What my girls enjoy the most is garding and bake cookies
Moreover the help ther receive with their homework is priceless and I realy appreciated girls to women for that.do to our long working hours it would be dificult on keeping my girls on track academically.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Girls to Women really supports young girls to excel. Pat Foster has created an organization that tracks and encourages girls in their own community. I witnessed Pat with a girl who was expressing her interest in college. She said, "i'm going to go to Stanford" and Pat said, what do you need to do that - and worked in conversation with a 10 year old to layout the steps to realizing her dream. Pat said, when will you check in with me? and asked the girl how she could make sure she would stay on track. That was what I heard and what I saw was Pat and Girls to Women being there for these girls and nurturing their ability to follow through and meet their goals.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While not currently a volunteer (but I would with this group in a heartbeat!) I have volunteer in the past with girls in this geographical area in the past who were under the direction of Girls to Women Executive Director, Patricia Foster. It is astonishing to witness their progress from shy, noncommunicable, academically fragile children to girls who develop strong communication skills, study skills and most importantly a respect and desire for education and ultimately a college degree. The program develops confidence in these girls and it has the ability to override any negative or toxic influences a girl might have at home that affects her self-image and ability to dream. I have seen it happen. I attended a graduation ceremony to see a girl I worked under Pat Foster with move on. I was so amazed at what a smart and confident preteen she was and elated that through Girls to Women she had developed and excelled enough to be accepted at an excellent local private school on a scholarship. I love this program and the foundation it lays to build empowered young girls who, I am certain can be tommorow's leaders!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls to Women is a great organization under the leadership of an amazing educator and visionary. The girls have so many opportunities to learn and explore the world. I have had the honor of volunteering for Girls To Women at events. It is always fun and well organized.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have worked with many of the girls who have participated in Girls to Women so I am very familiar with the program. Girls to Women is doing an excellent job of supporting its participants' academic and personal growth. Girls to Women provides daily tutoring that has made a big difference for the girls. The program also offers many different types of enrichment activities that help girls develop their self-esteem while learning new skills and developing their talents.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was very impressed with the Girls to Women story the first time I heard about it. I felt at home! As I got to know the staff and girls, I was very impressed with what the staff offered because of who they are and what they do each day with the girls individually and collectively. There are high standards taught and expected in the manner of communication the girls have with each other and toward adults. The activities provide enrichment and stimulation for each girl. One example is the vegetable garden where the girls learned to grow, care for, and eat fresh vegetables. Overall, I feel that the Girls to Women program raises the bar in times when we hear too much about girls with low self-esteem, dropping out of school, and teen pregnancy. Girls to Women stresses the importance of a good education and the expectation for attending college, and the girls seems proud of their accomplishments in school and talk about it with each other and the staff and volunteers. It's in the air at Girls to Women! Bravo!!
Gratefully,
Kathy Lee
Volunteer

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Girls to Women (g2W) of East Palo Alto is providing a necessary resource for young women of color (and their families). Recently, g2W hosted a series of workshops for young women on the topics of self esteem and conflict resolution. The workshops were well organized, students were constantly engaged in the activities, and facilitators were topic-competent.

The activities included role-playing where the girls were asked to play out scnarios regarding violence, gossip and physical apprearance. It was at this point where the girls became active and were very willing and excited to share their ideas about what the significance and solutions of their scenarios were.

As a male attending this event, I also leanred a lot about how to talk to young women in my programs about the topics aformentioned. What I leanred has proven to be invaluable!

If there is any advice for Girls to Women, it is to keep on keepin' on!

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great program for all the people in our community that have girls. My daughter and 4 nieces also attend Girls to women and they love it!

13

Former staff

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with the Girls to Women staff and students. Both the Executive Director, Pat Foster, and the Program Director, Marquisa Hawkins, share a passion for encouraging, supporting and assisting young girls to grow into strong, independent young women. This organization is gender specific and offers a variety of services to the at risk young ladies of East Palo Alto who face daily adversities. This program not only offers academic, social and community support, but it also provides a safe place to build positive relationships.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls in most societies are socialized to play second fiddle to their male counterparts to their families and to their community. As a result they grow up into women with less available opportunities than everyone else. The G2W organiation combats this mindframe by imbibing girls with a sense that they can achieve anything. G2W has transformed shy, self effacing girls with low academic grades to confident young women with the intellectual abilities and confidence to function in highly competitive environments.Girls through this program have made it to Eastside College Preparatory school a premier school with a 100 per cent high school four year college admission rate.

12

Client Served

Rating: 4

Girls to Women is a wonderful place for girls to attend! Both my daughters, one who is now 18 and the other 11, have attended. The staff is caring and the curriculum is wonderful! Because of Pat Foster's dedication to these girls many have went on to college. My 18 yr old will now attend the University of San Francisco and Pat has been her mentor since she was 6 yrs old. They provide a safe haven as well as love for these girls and I will always have a special place in my heart for this organization.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The Girls to Women organization holds a special place in my heart because I was one of the small girls that attended the program for a long time. I remember being a seven year old girl getting help at the Girls to Women program.It helped me through so many things, especially applying to Eastside and successfully getting in. Because of everything that this organization did for me when I was younger, I felt the necessity to give back to them by volunteering. They do an amazing job in helping the girls become more mature and eventually sprout into independent, strong and beautiful girls. They do an amazing job of having staff that truly care about the girls, ways to help with their homework and make sure they are on the right track, and much much more.

8

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls To Women is an excellent organization. Working with the girls was such a pleasure and an honor. This program is wonderful in that it is helping these young girls grow into beautiful, and intelligent young women. The staff and volunteers genuinely care about the girls and their progress. I believe that as a result of this program, the girls involved in it will be successful in whatever they set their minds to.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended Girls To Women for a science project for a few weeks and I really enjoyed it. So now that I am in high school I decided to go back and volunteer to help the girls with their homework. During this entire school year I've been going to Girls To Women twice a week and have gotten to know the girls. The volunteers grow strong relationships with the girls. During my experiences with Girls To Women, when I attended and now as a volunteer, I felt safe and comfortable there. Since I enjoyed the program when I went and since it was a learning experience, I know the girls also enjoy it now. I'm trying to be a role model and pass on to the girls how good it is to be a role model to other people from your own community. Girls To Women helps girls be successful in school which is so important.

11

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

At Girls To Women girls have the opportunity to meet other girls from their community as well as meeting volunteers from other communities. It is great to see how they support each other and how much they enjoy the daily activities the program has to offer. I had the opportunity to volunteer helping out with homework, doing beading and some physical activities. My 10 year old daughter also attended the program and she loved it. The girls were always extremely welcoming. I can still see their happy, smiley faces running towards me in a group to give me a big warm hug. Girls To Women also offers opportunities for youth to volunteer and gain skills that empower them to become strong self-sufficient adults who are productive in their own lives and in their communities.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Girls to Women has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only have a learned a great deal from this organization about what it means to be of service to people, but I've also learned a lot about myself and built some really wonderful friendships with the girls that I've had the privilege of getting to know and I look forward to my future volunteer experiences with them.