10 2 / 2012
One of the greatest programs Girls Inc. has to offer to the greater Jacksonville area is their GirlSTART program, which was briefly mentioned in a previous post.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a short amount of time with some of our girls at the Arlington Heights Elementary school here in Jacksonville. As I walked up to the group of beautiful girls, all with smiling faces, I quickly realized just how important programs such as GirlSTART were to these young girls.
This being my first visit I was not expecting such a warm welcome, but I was greeted with open arms. Each girl gladly ran up to me and said hello and introduced themselves! I was very surprised with how outgoing each and everyone of them were.
I first sat down with Victoria and Angie to ask them what they thought about their after school program. Angie started out with, “today is my birthday!!!!” so that was our ice breaker which allowed them to immediately open up to me.
Angie and Victoria both explained how they loved GirlSTART because of the friends they have made and the many things it has taught them. Victoria explained, “I don’t like bullies and GirlSTART helps teach us how not to be bullies” which I thought was a very interesting comment coming from a six year old. A large problem our society faces today is when children are in school or even out of school they are not protected from “bullies” and according to Victoria she likes that GirlSTART leads them in the directions of respecting and being kind to those around them.
Another great aspect of GrilSTART is the various things that it teaches the girls after school hours. Angie told me about learning how to sign, she said, “we use colors to learn how to sign and that is one of my favorite things to learn here” once again I feel like there are certain things, such as sign language, that not every child has the opportunity to learn while in school. GirlSTART allows our girls to expand their curriculum and continue their learning experience through our programs.
Hands on programs are extremely beneficial to children at such young ages because their brains are like sponges waiting to soak up all the knowledge we provide them with. As Victoria and Angie would agree, GirlSTART allows girls of young ages to “hang out with friends, learn new things, get messy and get exercise” without programs like these our girls might not get these opportunities.
So I can close with a quote from little Miss Victoria which sums up what we strive for in GirlSTART; “I LOVE LEARNING!”
08 2 / 2012
08 2 / 2012
Girls Inc. of Jacksonville hosts an after school program called GirlSTART. GirlSTART Program is an after-school literacy program designed to increase the literacy skills, self-esteem and success of kindergarten, first and second grade girls. The goals of the program include; improving girls’ reading ability, with a majority achieving grade-level or higher as well as improving girls’ attitude toward learning.
Arlington Heights Elementary GirlSTART Program
08 2 / 2012