Girls Inc. of Carpinteria recently hosted its first Fresh Futures Summer Program at SBCC, a two-week program designed to provide local incoming 4th-7th-grade girls with an engaging experience that supports them through the transition to teenage life.
The nonprofit organization partnered with SBCC’s STEM Transfer Program and the Inner Warrior Project (IWP) to bring a balanced, focused curriculum for girls that encourages them to find their own voice, gain confidence and feel strong. The goal of this program is to grow the number of girls who undergo an empowering Girls Inc. experience and use that to bring growth across multiple programs.
“We recognized a gap in service between this particular age group, most often because girls are gaining more independence and may not require after-school care or day camps,” says Jessica Wetzel, Program Director at Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Our goal with the Fresh Futures Initiative is to truly engage all girls for a sustained period of time on a continuum of programming that addresses their needs at every stage.”
SBCC’s STEM Transfer Program, which assists Hispanic and/or low-income students in creating an outlined educational plan that ensures transfer to a four-year institution in a STEM area, hosted workshops for the girls on-campus and gave them an inside look to the college experience. Throughout the two-week program, the girls had the chance to engage with current SBCC students and professors in math and physics labs, take tours of different departments on campus, and more.
“It was a pleasure hosting Girls Inc. of Carpinteria members—they were not only introduced to Santa Barbara City College, but they were also involved in engaging workshops with our STEM faculty,” says Adolfo Corral, STEM Transfer Program Coordinator. “The girls had the opportunity to see themselves in college and that will have a positive impact on their futures. We look forward to working with Girls Inc. again next summer.”
The Inner Warrior Project, a program that seeks for all individuals to live in a safe world where everyone can feel empowered, supported, and understood, offered assertiveness and self-defense training to the girls. This class helped the girls express their passions, build confidence, and radiate positivity.
“The Inner Warrior Project’s Youth Assertive Training provided tools for Fresh Futures participants to feel safe, exercise their confidence and communicate effectively using their assertive voice so that they can develop into bold women,” says Karina Munoz-Benalcazar, Self-Empowerment Mentor for IWP. “We’re proud to offer this training in combination with the interactive, engaging, and educational itinerary this camp provides.”
Girls Inc. Fresh Futures Initiative is planned to continue into the school year, offering after-school programs and weekend workshops designed to engage girls and their families and provide new ways of participation that are more accommodating to their changing schedules.