JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A half-century ago, Girl’s Inc. began empowering Jacksonville’s girls at a Title One school in Duval County to be confident and responsible. The group is now in six schools and serves 800 students.
Girls Inc. Jacksonville says you can’t be, what you can’t see. The organization helps at-risk girls from low-income families get the life-changing tools and resources to help them reach their full potential.
Jacksonville girls ages 5 through 18 are learning to value themselves in a pro-girl environment that helps them navigate economic and social barriers.
“The Girls Inc. program has taught me positive life lessons to handle stress and peer pressure,” said Raines High School senior Amber Ferrell. “Allowing me to become more aware of myself and confident.”
Ferrell is got involved with Girls Inc. when she was in 6th grade and thanks the program for giving her leadership skills to be the captain of her varsity cheer team and a member of the National Honors Society.
“These life skills are necessary because, personally, when I was younger, I was a very stubborn young girl,” Ferrell said. “I didn’t know when to listen But the Girls Inc. program here allowed me to be more open-minded and taking in what you were trying to hear, what is your plan for the future.”
Girls Inc. of Jax President Robin Rose says Ferrell is one of more than 800 girls involved with programs, now serving girls in six Title One schools in Duval County.
“Our mission is to help girls that don’t have the same access to resources as other girls have to make sure that they avoid risky behaviors that could detour them from graduating from high school,” Dr. Rose said.
Those challenges include eating disorders, teen pregnancy and substance abuse.
“We have curriculums that address all of those three areas, (encouraging) healthy living, academic enrichment, as well as life skills development,” Rose said.
As for Ferrell, the program is helping her reach her dreams of studying biomedical chemistry at the University of South Florida.
There is a small fee to become involved with Girls Inc. and its programs are funded thru Humana, United Way and other donors.