Girlforward puts refugee girls on the path to achieving the American Dream not just for themselves but for their families and communities. In the year that I have been on the board, I've seen firsthand how a little support, access to information, and friendship can change the lives of girls. Girls with mentors are more likely to graduate high school, pursue college, and achieve financial independence. When girls succeed, it has a ripple effect on their families and communities. I’ve come to think of Girlforward as the stone that starts the ripple.
During the two years I've volunteered as a board member for Girlforward, I've seen the organization grow at a healthy fast pace, and I've watched the girls they serve transform and thrive. GirlForward's program model is exemplary - the staff have done a tremendous job really getting to know the needs and wants of the girls, and making sure they fulfill those needs. The staff and volunteers are so passionate and invested in the mission - and it truly shows! If you haven't been to a GirlForward event, I encourage you to join us soon and see first-hand what an incredible organization it is!
This fabulous organization educates and empowers refugee girls. The benefits of its education and mentorship programs are life-changing. GirlForward assists in easing the transition into life in the U.S. Its programs help the girls learn to navigate the education system and the working world. This organization is fulfilling a previously overlooked need in our society. Success stories abound and demonstrate that GirlForward is fulfilling its mission.
GirlForward is one of the few organizations in the Chicago area that focus solely on adolescent refugee girls. Most of these girls resettled in the Chicago area are coming from war torn areas, regions of economic depression, and areas where the educational and professional options for women are undeveloped. GirlForward fills a niche by providing strong role models for these adolescent girls and gives them the support and tools to explore their academic and professional goals in the United States. I have been impressed by the girls I have met, their dedicated mentors, and the passion of the founder and Executive Director Blair.
GirlForward was started after identifying a real need in the Chicago refugee community. In just over a year the organization has moved from an idea to a real asset in the community, changing the lives of the girls who participate. The organization has been especially effective in networking in the community and using social media to expand its support base. It has also gained support from other larger organizations in Chicago, including the Chicago Foundation for Women. The financial stewardship has been exemplary, and the organization is utilizing professional advisors to improve the operational effectiveness. The passion and dedication of the volunteers, the board, and the staff will fuel the continued growth of GirlForward.
I have served on several boards over the years, working with the homeless, the Junior League and mostly, with refugee causes and in just a year of working with this young organization, I have never been more inspired or rewarded by a cause. The volunteers and board are clearly and enthusiastically focused on their mission. The mentors are downright inspirational in their dedication. They meet weekly with their girls and are talented, positive, encouraging role models. The refugee girls are filled with hope, ambition and energy. They have mountains to climb in their new life here in the US - the struggle may seem endless, but they are determined and with GF helping them every step of the way, they are already starting to see their dreams come true. I hope I can help GF grow its programs and find the funding to continue its important work. GF spreads hope, strengthens families, builds leaders, and helps an often invisible, forgotten population step into the light and shine.
Review from Guidestar