There is a lot of good being done out there that sometimes flies under the radar. Girls Group of Washtenaw County has spent the last 15 years mentoring and encouraging young women into life beyond high school.
The goal is to create an atmosphere that helps young women, who may not have had the necessary mentoring and coaching in life, achieve a trajectory leading to self-sufficiency and financial independence. Mentors help them define their goals, find their voice, and establish support networks that help them confidently move forward in the world.
Dexter resident Debbie Koch has worked with Girls Group for 10 years. Besides her role as Administrative Coordinator, she has been involved with such things as organizing graduation parties for program participants, chaperoning college visits, helping with college applications and essays, and helping out with other activities such as book clubs.
“I love Girls Group because it provides me the opportunity to work with many amazing people who are also passionate about their work and the participants we serve”, says Debbie. “It is very rewarding to be a positive influence in someone else’s life.”
“All girls in Washtenaw County are eligible to participate but many, probably most, are identified by their counselors and teachers as girls who could use some extra mentoring and benefit from the sisterhood that Girls Group provides,” Debbie explains. “Many are from single family homes. Some come because their friends come; some come for the food – there is always food. Another unique thing about Girls Group is that it is 100% free for the participants – no one ever pays to be a participant or to go on field trips or college tours or for any other activity. Our funding comes primarily from private donations and some grants.”
Of the 400 young women Girls Group serves, 140 are middle school students, 150 high school students, and 110 are in college and careers. It is a year-round program with an academic focus during the school year. Summers are spent strengthening social connections through programs such as Adventure Club which gets the participants outdoors and moving.
Girls Group funding comes mainly from private donations and their annual fundraiser is this Saturday, Oct 20, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. at the Ann Arbor Marriott at Eagle Crest, located at 1275 S. Huron St., Ypsilanti. Everyone is invited to come and learn more about a great local program.
The group’s mission reads “Girls Group empowers young women in middle school and high school to achieve emotional and economic self-sufficiency by graduating from high school and becoming first-generation college graduates. Girls Group provides year round programming and mentoring to develop character, leadership, self-confidence, and social consciousness, including the desire and ability to mentor others.”
More information about Girls Group and registration for the fundraiser can be found at https://www.girlsgroup.org/