Here at the end of March (Women's History Month, y'all!) we're focusing our attention on advocacy - a strategic priority for Girls Inc. at the national level and right here at our Memphis affiliate.

From the Girls Inc. network-wide advocacy platform - "Girls Inc. is committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of girls and young women, to reduce and eliminate the barriers girls face and to reform systems that impede their success."

And it's not just advocacy FOR girls but also BY girls that's front and center. And locally there's plenty of girl-led advocacy to celebrate. Consider these:
  • A proposal to expand a construction landfill in Frayser was defeated in January with the help of Girls Inc. girls who spoke at public meetings and wrote letters to city officials. Envelopes that contained some of the letters are pictured above. And Girls Inc. CEO Lisa Moore was featured in a Q and A about the landfill fight on the Girls Inc. national website.
  • Girls Inc. of Memphis was represented at the Women's March 2.0 conference and march in Nashville, also in January.
  • Girls Inc. girls took part in the the inaugural Bridge Builders Youth Action Summit in February at BRIDGES, both as participants and presenters.
  • And Girls Inc. of Memphis is partnering with the Women's Foundation of Greater Memphis to develop the Young Women's Advisory Council, a major component of The National Collaborative of Young Women's initiatives. 
You can read more about these and meet some of the incredible girls who are taking part, growing as young women and fierce advocates. Check it out below!

It's never too early to plan for summer
You can register online for Girls Inc. Summer Camps NOW!
Spring has barely sprung, but that doesn't mean you can't think about how your girl will spend her summer. Registration for Girls Inc. Summer Camps  is now under way!

Sessions are offered at two locations - LDT Center (686 N. Seventh St.) and South Park Center (1568 Robin Hood Lane). Camps run for three two-week sessions starting June 4 and wrapping up July 20 (off the week of July 2-6). Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sign up before the end of March and save - you'll pay the early enrollment fee of $150 for all six weeks! After March, enrollment for all six weeks is $250.

Enrollment for a single, two-week session is $75 during March and $100 after March 31.

Register today and cross summer camp plans off your to-do list!
Strong, smart, bold - and WOKE!  
Leo Watts and Jada Powell are forces to be reckoned with  
Until the last year or so, Leo Watts didn't consider herself much of an advocate. The 17- year-old junior at Soulsville Academy, who's given name is Ja'Lin, says she was always too reserved for that.

"I'm socially shy," she said, "and I get nervous in front of people."

But she found her advocate's voice as a member of the Girls Inc. of Memphis Youth Farm crew, which she joined last summer. It was there that she learned about the ongoing fight against a proposal to expand a construction-debris landfill in Frayser - and it woke her up.

"The idea of a bunch of garbage next to a school and across from our farm, it struck a chord with me," Leo says. "If it's not O.K. to put it in your neighborhood, why would it be O.K. to put it in ours?"

Jada Powell, a junior at Ridgeway High School, also freed her inner advocate thanks to her involvement with Girls Inc.

In Girls Inc., my confidence has definitely grown," Jada says I've always been real outgoing. But Girls Inc. has taught me to speak my mind respectfully."

Leo and Jada's advocacy is already bearing fruit.

Thanks to countless concerned citizens from Frayser - including Leo and other Girls Inc. girls - the landfill proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the Memphis City Council on Jan. 9.

Thanks to Jada, Girls Inc. currently has a direct representative on the Girls Action Network, a national advisory and mobilizing group made up of young women from Girls Inc. affiliates across the country.

Both girls presented at the inaugural Bridge Builders Youth Action Summit in February. And both took part, with youth from across the city, in the recent March for Our Lives here in Memphis. (Leo is quoted at the end of this Commercial Appeal account of the march.)

Read more about these two remarkable young advocates on our website!
The YWAC needs YOU!
Apply today to be part of the Young Women's Advisory Council
Are you ready to advocate for your city? Do you want to be a part of change? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then there may be a place for you on the Young Women's Advisory Council (YWAC).

The YWAC will engage members in an 18-month pilot leadership program to create a city-wide action plan to address a need facing young women and girls in Memphis.

Girls Inc. of Memphis is developing the YWAC in collaboration with The Women's Foundation of Greater Memphis, which is one of eight women's foundations across the country that make up the National Collaborative of Young Women's Initiatives (YWI). The collaborative works to address the core issues that have kept too many of our nation's low-income young women from reaching their full potential. With its focus on young women, the YWAC will be a key component of YWI-Memphis.

YWAC is for girls 14 to 18 and will be designed as a girl-led initiative from start to finish.

Learn more and apply today!

Scholarship deadline is looming!
It's not too late - apply for the Step Ahead Scholarship today!

The application process for the 2018-2019 Step Ahead Scholarship is now open - and there are only SIX DAYS LEFT!

The Step Ahead Scholarship is a county-wide, post-secondary program for young women who are committed to making a difference in Memphis by encouraging academic success and effective life planning.

The program is a collaborative effort of A Step Ahead Foundation and Girls Inc. of Memphis that supports each organization's commitment to encouraging the educational advancement and leadership development of young women in the greater Memphis area. A third partner, Bank Tennessee, manages the scholarship program.

Now entering its fifth year, the scholarship is available to any female Shelby County resident, age 17 to 35, with plans to attend an accredited institution of post-secondary education. Multiple scholarships of at least $2,000 will be awarded from a $200,000 fund.

The application deadline is April 2.


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