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Agency Spotlight: Girls Inc.

Empower Girls in Your Community

By: Mercedez McDowell

Interested in helping girls struggling with self esteem, social involvement, or education? Check out Girls Incorporated and inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold! Monroe County's Director of Program Services, Rachel Dotson says, "It's been great for me to work with a small non-profit that uses innovative methods to meet the needs of girls in our community."

Rachel Dotson - Girls Inc Rachel Dotson of Girls Inc. To create such methods, the Indianapolis headquarters of Girls Inc. researches the experiences of girls, producing the best programs that meet the needs of nearly 300,000 girls in over 53 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

The Bloomington location hosts about 65 girls daily with afterschool programs such as dance, basketball, volleyball, and tutoring. "I chose to volunteer at Girls Inc. because I love working with kids and I think that Girls Inc. has a good mission and goal to help girls develop skills in a safe and fun place," IU student Lauren Simmerman remembers, "It's very rewarding to see the difference I make when one of the girls tells me how well they did after I helped them with homework."

A great way to get involved during summer break is through Girls Inc.'s Summer Camp Program. Over 50 girls attend the program each week and enjoy theme based activities. Themes include cooking and gardening, sports and adventure, science and technology, nature and environment, and theater and drama. About 12 girls enjoy a closer bond during the annual Special Leadership Camp.Rachel Dotson - Girls Inc Volunteers New Volunteers attend a Girls Inc. orientation

The sports programs of Girls Inc. attract a massive crowd of 300 girls. For this group, Dotson oversees programs, organizes public relations, and writes grant proposals. However, Dotson's greatest accomplishment hits closer to home. "Girls Inc. has a goal of improving communication and involvement of parents," Dotson recalls, "so, my greatest accomplishment has been integrating the needs and interest of parents with the girls'."

"If you're looking for a place to serve as a positive role model and empower girls in our community," Dotson encourages you to, "come to Girls Inc."

Some advice for fellow volunteer coordinators:
Dotson tells volunteer coordinators to "emphasize volunteer appreciation" by hosting award ceremonies, making small gift baskets, or just passing out candy. Also to ensure volunteers' understanding of their responsibilities, "be specific about volunteer roles."

Some advice for prospective volunteers:
Dotson encourages volunteers to challenge themselves, to "find a way to use the skills they have or develop a new skill, instead of working on easier tasks." Knowing what the organization is about is also a key component for volunteers to "actually get involved and make an impact."