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HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley announced that its HERstory Trivia Night virtual event will take place on Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. This event will help Girls Inc. of the Valley celebrate Women’s History Month along with those in the community and raise $500 to support Girls Inc. programming.

Girls Inc. of the Valley and the Young Professional Society (YPS) of Greater Springfield will host this event, which will have three rounds of trivia celebrating the accomplishments of women past and present, and prizes for the top three finishers. The event requires a minimum donation of $10 to Girls Inc. of the Valley upon registration. Participants may register by clicking here.

“YPS is proud to partner on this unique event with Girls Inc. of the Valley to help make a positive impact for girls in our community and beyond with learning and leadership opportunities,” said Amie Miarecki, YPS president.

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities.

“We have a lot of trivia fans on staff here at Girls Inc.,” said Suzanne Parker, the organization’s executive director. “We thought, ‘what better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than with some HERstory trivia?’ We are excited to welcome the community to this fun and interactive event.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a $145,000 grant from the Amelia Peabody Foundation, which will enable the organization to further develop its virtual programming, help prepare for the time when in-person programs may resume, continue its Learning Pod collaboration with Holyoke Public Schools, and ultimately bring staff together in one building, fostering even greater creative and collaborative synergies.

The foundation awarded $25,000 to Girls Inc.’s general program and $120,000 to its comprehensive campaign, “Her Future, Our Future.” This commitment will help Girls Inc. to establish a new, permanent home and provide the space, resources, and opportunities needed to enable more girls to participate in the transformative Girls Inc. experience. The grant will support both program planning and implementation; funds will be used for staffing, expanded outreach, and program supplies. Additionally, the grant will facilitate bringing all Girls Inc. staff together under one roof to create greater collaborative and economic efficiencies.

“We truly value and appreciate the continued support of the Amelia Peabody Foundation,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “We thank them for this tremendous generosity toward operations and our campaign, which will be made over the next two years.”

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities. The goals of its Staying Connected with Girls Project are to:

• Successfully engage girls during this period of extreme isolation, providing fun and skill-building activities paired with mentoring support from our trained staff;

• Maximize growth opportunities that virtual programming provides to reach a broader cross-section of girls and gain new volunteers; and

• Position Girls Inc. of the Valley to be ready to seamlessly transition back to in-person programming when appropriate.

“The Amelia Peabody Foundation’s support will be instrumental as we expand and enhance Girls Inc. of the Valley’s center and school-based programs in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond, and give 1,000-plus girls per year the chance they deserve,” Parker said.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that a portion of the proceeds from Pinkie Promises, her new children’s book debuting this fall, will go to Girls Inc. of the Valley, as well as several other Girls Inc. chapters in Massachusetts. The book features illustrations by Charlene Chua.

“We are completely blown away by this incredible act of generosity from Senator Warren,” said Suzanne Parker, Girls Inc. of the Valley’s executive director. “For the senator to think of Girls Inc. in this way is so special, and we are humbled to be among the Massachusetts Girls Inc. affiliates to receive this honor.”

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a $2,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Springfield to support Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Bridge the Digital Divide” project. This donation will help girls and their families overcome social and economic stressors during this pandemic.

In the midst of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for positive, girl-focused, youth-development programming is stronger than ever. Girls who were already dealing with adverse childhood experiences like poverty and racism need additional support during these challenging times, and this donation from the Rotary Club of Springfield will allow both organizations to help serve the community.

Many of the girls have been asking if Girls Inc.’s Eureka! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education program will happen during the summer of 2021. To ensure the safety of their participants, staff, and volunteers, Girls Inc. will provide Eureka! University, a virtual version of the program, this summer.

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities, and its leaders are concerned that COVID-19 will widen the existing digital divide between those with ready access to computers and the internet and those without these resources. Currently, five Springfield Eureka! participants do not have the technology to access virtual programming. Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Bridge the Digital Divide” project will provide each girl with a Chromebook and wi-fi capability to ensure her ability to participate in Eureka! University this summer, and continue Eureka! programming during the school year.

“We are so grateful to the Springfield Rotary Club for this grant to fund our ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ project,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “It is critical for girls to have the technology they need to succeed in order to grow up healthy, educated, and independent. This generous grant will provide access to technology that is crucial for girls in the Valley.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a donation of 90 backpacks for their elementary-school girls from the Junior League of Greater Springfield (JLGS).

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities. This donation from JLGS, a nonprofit organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, allows both organizations to accomplish their missions.

The Junior League of Greater Springfield is committed to the promotion of literacy and serving women and children in the community. With the backpack-donation project, its volunteers recognized an urgent need for the girls of the Pioneer Valley and jumped into service, Assistant Treasurer Jaime Margolis said. “It has never been more important to us to help lift and support young women in our community. We hope to continue to build on the relationship between Girls Inc. of the Valley and Junior League of Greater Springfield for a long time to come.”

JLGS aims to improve the lives of children and families in the community by collaborating with other organizations to assist families in need and to promote literacy and education. This directly aligns with the mission of Girls Inc. of the Valley, helping both parties accomplish their goals.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley recently launched its new initiative, She Votes, with a recorded video from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to educate and support future women voters. The goal is to make sure every girl sees herself as a voter, knows the process, and is ready when it’s her turn.

The Girls Inc. team are experts on girls and their development, both locally and nationally. Girls Inc. of the Valley is part of a 150-year-old organization that always puts girls first, inspiring them as they grow into strong, smart, and bold women. The privilege of voting is our most powerful agent of change.

Meanwhile, only 14 states in the U.S. allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and Massachusetts is one of them. Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to pre-register as many 16- and 17-year-old girls as possible in this community-wide volunteer effort and to launch a peer fundraising campaign to support the She Votes curriculum. She Votes and Girls Inc. has received commitments from a variety of sponsors, including MassMutual, Peerless Precision, Lotus & Compass Inc., and Chikmedia. Click here to see Warren’s video.

“Girls Inc. teaches us that today’s girls are tomorrow’s leaders,” the senator said. “I want every girl in Massachusetts and across the country to know they can get out there and make their voices heard. Once you turn 16, you can pre-register to vote here in Massachusetts. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18 to be ready for the next election.”

The campaign launched earlier this week on UNICEF’s International Day of the Girl, and will last through Saturday, Oct. 24. Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a Facebook Live event to premier the launch video from Warren and will be showing video spotlights from a variety of other influential women in politics throughout the campaign. Their goal is to highlight, through these videos, the importance of voting and having women in elected office. The She Votes campaign will take place right here in the Valley, while simultaneous media activities will take place across the U.S. and the globe.

The She Votes campaign is a bold initiative designed to significantly move the needle on providing tangible opportunities for Pioneer Valley girls to achieve academic and personal success. This initiative will help Girls Inc. of the Valley members to learn and share with their families the voting process, and be ready to become a generation of activists accelerating social change.

If interested, or have questions regarding this initiative, contact Jessica Colson at (413) 319-0011 or [email protected].

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has launched its new initiative, She Votes, with a recorded video from Senator Elizabeth Warren to educate and support our future of women voters. The goal is to make sure every girl sees herself as a voter, knows the process, and is ready when it’s her turn. They’ve launched this campaign with two primary goals:

The Girls Inc. team are experts on girls and their development, both locally and nationally. Girls Inc. of the Valley is part of a 150-year-old organization that always puts girls first, inspiring them as they grow into strong, smart, and bold women. The privilege of voting is our most powerful agent of change. Only 14 states in the United States allow 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote, and Massachusetts is one of them. Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to pre-register as many 16- and 17-year-old girls as possible in this community-wide volunteer effort and to launch a peer fundraising campaign, to support the She Votes curriculum.

She Votes and Girls Inc. has received commitments from a variety of sponsors including MassMutual, Peerless Precision, Lotus & Compass Inc., and Chikmedia.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s video can be found on the Girls Inc. of the Valley Website and Facebook page:

“Girls Inc. teaches us that today’s girls are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Senator Warren. “I want every girl in Massachusetts and across the country to know they can get out there and make their voices heard. Once you turn 16, you can pre-register to vote here in Massachusetts. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18 to be ready for the next election.”

The campaign launched October 1, on UNICEF’s International Day of the Girl, and will last through October 24. Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a Facebook Live event to premier the launch video from Senator Elizabeth Warren and will be showing video spotlights from a variety of other influential women in politics throughout the campaign. Their goal is to highlight the importance of voting and having women in elected office with these videos. The She Votes campaign will take place right here in the Valley; simultaneously national and international media activities will take place all across the globe.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley is sharing a new campaign on social media this week, called #BlackGirlFuture. 

Girls Inc. of the Valley has created social-media graphics and messaging addressing both disparities that impact girls and the future the organization wants to see for them. #BlackGirlFuture will consist of social-media posts across multiple platforms with a graphic and accompanying message each day to encourage girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Upon completion of #BlackGirlFuture, Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to have inspired all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities. 

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Instagram account is @girlsincvalley. Anyone interested in the campaign or with questions regarding #BlackGirlFuture may e-mail Jessica Colson at [email protected].

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley is looking to the community for support as it launches Project Red on Menstrual Hygiene Day, Thursday, May 28, to collect donations of essential wellness supplies that will benefit girls in the Pioneer Valley. Project Red’s mission is to supply 500 girls in the Valley with a four-month supply of menstrual products. 

Access to essential menstrual products has been challenging due to COVID-19, as many girls relied on schools or after-school programs for their menstrual-product needs. Many families are having to choose between purchasing these products or purchasing food. Girls Inc. of the Valley is looking to the community to help lead the charge in supporting girls in the community by encouraging the creation of fundraising pages, donations of supplies, and help spreading the word across social platforms. Girls Inc. will accept donations of a variety of new and unopened products: toothpaste, body wash, bars of soap, toothbrushes, deodorant, menstrual pads with wings, and monetary gifts. It has received support for Project Red in the form of a $1,500 grant from Health New England.

Donations will be accepted at the Girls Inc. of the Valley headquarters at 6 Open Square Way in Holyoke on May 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. Contactless, curbside dropoff will be offered.

A monetary donation or creation of a fundraising page can be made by following these simple steps: visit www.givegab.com/campaigns/project-red, select ‘make a donation’ or ‘start fundraising,’ and follow the step-by-step instructions to create a fundraising page.

“As Girls Inc. of the Valley staff members continued to reach out to our girls, the need for menstrual products became abundantly clear,” Executive Director Suzanne Parker said. “We are launching Project Red to ensure girls in the Valley have access to these essential products, and we invite the community to join us in our efforts. Health New England, an amazing community partner, has already stepped up to provide a $1,500 grant to support Project Red.” 

Project Red is an initiative that directly aligns with Girls Inc. of the Valley’s healthy sexuality curriculum and mission to inspire and prepare all girls to develop and achieve their full potential, and that begins with putting their wellness needs first. All partners understand how important it is for Girls Inc. to be there for girls right now, especially during trying times due to COVID-19.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Women Empowered, a group that strives to promote body positivity and acceptance for both adult women and future generations of girls, has donated $2,500 in proceeds of its Women Empowered calendar sales to Girls Inc. of the Valley. The receipt of this gift will support Girls Inc. of the Valley’s current research-based program offerings designed to empower girls, and will provide a boost in its annual fundraising efforts.

“The mission of Women Empowered is to help expand and challenge our society’s limited standards of beauty,” said Michelle Crean, founder of Women Empowered. “We have chosen to have all proceeds from the sale of the calendars go to Girls Inc. of the Valley because their mission of making all girls strong, smart, and bold aligns with our mission.”

The Women Empowered calendar features a diverse group of everyday women who have embraced their uniqueness, have overcome physical and mental obstacles, celebrate their bodies, and want to share their story to inspire others. This calendar provides the chance to send a message of body positivity and acceptance in order to teach other women and future generations to embrace the totality of who they are, and use their gifts, their beauty, and their stories to change the world. Everyone involved with the production of the calendar and all sponsors are women-owned businesses.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley will receive a community-benefits discretionary grant of $5,000 from Baystate Health to Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Informed and In Charge” program, which is designed to teach healthy sexuality.

Through “Informed and In Charge,” girls acquire the knowledge and skills for taking charge of and making informed decisions about their sexual health. Exploring values, practicing responses in different situations, and thinking about their futures helps girls identify ways and reasons to avoid early pregnancy and prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. 

“This wonderful grant from Baystate Health speaks to their commitment to the health and wellness of girls in the Valley,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “During these challenging times, it is more crucial than ever to invest in girls, and Baystate Health’s support of our ‘Informed and In Charge’ program is so impactful.” 

As an integrated health system, the advancement of knowledge is a major component of Baystate Health’s mission, aligning with that of Girls Inc. of the Valley. Baystate Health aims to educate and train current and future caregivers through supporting community-based organizations and advancing early interventions in wellness and nutrition.

COVID-19 Daily News

HOLYOKE — Be “strong, smart, and bold” is as much a clarion call to the 800 girls served by Girls Inc. of the Valley as it is to the organization’s staff and mentors, Executive Director Suzanne Parker said.

“In a time when social distancing is becoming more and more important, we recognize the urgent need to maintain a sense of community, support, and love for our girls, who, naturally, will be feeling added anxiety and stress. And so our staff is being strong smart and bold, investigating new ways to deliver creative, safe, and engaging learning to girls,” Parker said.

“As we ramp up, girls and their families can tune in virtually,” she continued. “We are encouraging all students to follow and engage in learning activities offered on Facebook and other platforms. And we are adding learning activities to social media and seeking to add new opportunities for girls to connect with their peers and Girls Inc. facilitators. We want the girls to have the opportunity to stay connected and stay supported during what we all know can be an overwhelming time.

“Many local girls, most coming from already economically stretched households, need all the love and support that they deserve, along with a small sense of normalcy,” Parker concluded. “We are so thankful to our supportive Valley community.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley announced plans for major expansion and the launch of its new campaign. The organization is in the early stages of an ambitious, comprehensive campaign, “Her Future, Our Future,” with three primary goals: to develop a permanent Girls Inc. home in downtown Holyoke; to expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and to extend the Eureka! STEM education program.

To that end, it has received $500,000 in support from the Kendeda Fund, a private grantmaker based in Atlanta. This transformative gift will support the expansion of Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve. Girls Inc. of the Valley is launching this campaign to offer more girls fundamental support and research-based programming. These programs are designed to empower girls and present them with opportunities to navigate barriers they face in school and beyond. More than 85% of the girls who participate in Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs say they view their future positively and plan to go to college; most will be the first in their families to do so. Girls Inc. hopes the positive and lasting effects of its programs on girls who participate will grow substantially.

A rigorous, comparative study by the American Institutes for Research found that Girls Inc. girls have an advantage over their peers in more than 20 key areas. The findings demonstrate that girls not only thrive at Girls Inc. of the Valley, but they are also more likely than other girls to see themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities of influencing and improving their local communities.

While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there is still a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. The need for qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals in the workforce continues to grow, and women — particularly women of color — continue to be underrepresented in these fields. At the heart of Girls Inc. of the Valley is a comprehensive approach to whole-girl development that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The “Her Future, Our Future” campaign is a bold initiative designed to positively influence generational change and provide tangible opportunities for girls in the region to achieve academic and personal success.

“We are so appreciative for the Kendeda Fund’s belief in the importance of girls’ growth and development,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “Simply put, we couldn’t have made this happen without an incredible, devoted team of volunteers and staff. This gift has fueled all of us in the early stages of our campaign.”

When the campaign is complete, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls per year — nearly 5% of the combined female population of the Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield public school systems — and be positioned to advance policy initiatives, structures, and best practices to address the unique challenges that await girls, equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve their goals and take charge of their futures.