Girl Power

Girls Inc. of the Northern Sacramento Valley…

This month, Enjoy sat down with Heather Kelnhofer, executive director of the girls’ leadership program at Girls Inc. of the Northern Sacramento Valley.

Enjoy: What is Girls Inc. and what is your mission statement? 
Kelnhofer: Girls Inc. of the Northern Sacramento Valley, founded in 2006, is an affiliate of Girls Incorporated, which serves girls across the United States and Canada. With roots dating back to 1864, Girls Inc. is the longest-running girls’ leadership program in the United States.

Girls Inc. of the Northern Sacramento Valley is all about empowering local girls. We serve Shasta and Tehama county girls, ages 6 to 18, by offering a wide range of in-school, after-school and extracurricular programs. These research-based programs build girls’ self-esteem, transform their views of themselves, and help them recognize their potential as leaders, friends, innovators and independent thinkers. Our mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. 

Enjoy: What programs or support services does Girls Inc. offer to empower young girls?
Kelnhofer: In partnership with local schools and organizations, we provide safe spaces and long-term mentoring relationships for girls to develop their strengths, learn lasting skills and take charge of their futures. The combination of mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming equips girls to navigate gender, economic and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated and independent.

We provide free or low-cost programming to local girls that spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and math, promote drug and pregnancy prevention, foster self-esteem and teach skills such as stress management, financial literacy and community leadership. Some last just one day, others up to 12 weeks, but all are designed to empower girls to transform their self-image and realize their potential as friends, leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Enjoy: What impact does Girls Inc. have on the communities it serves?
Kelnhofer: Our deep history of working with and for girls has informed our knowledge base and has guided our approach in the development of programs and experiences that change the trajectory of girls’ lives and prepare them for lifelong success.

We support girls who need us the most – girls who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunities, experiences or role models to lead fulfilling and productive lives and break the cycle of poverty. They in turn transform their lives, their communities, our companies and our governments and realize their vision for an equitable world. 

Enjoy: Does Girls Inc. collaborate with other community organizations?
Kelnhofer: Yes! We are in continuous collaboration with other local organizations throughout the year. This January, our Youth Leadership Council’s monthly meeting was facilitated at DLB Ranch, Inc. in Cottonwood, where girls had the opportunity to practice leadership and problem-solving skills through equine learning activities. They had a chance to work on assessing their strengths and weaknesses alongside horses in this hands-on experience. This event would not have been possible without Joni Maggini of DLB Ranch, the team at Sierra Central Credit Union for their generous monetary and lunch donation, and Redding West Rotary for sponsoring the Youth Leadership Council.

Enjoy: How can people get involved with or support Girls Inc.?
Kelnhofer: Donate to Girls Inc.! Your gift will change a girl’s life, ensuring she has the foundation to create a better future for herself and her community.
Members of the community can also sign up to volunteer for events, provide sponsorships and in-kind donations, join the Girls Inc. Northern Sacramento Valley Board of Directors, become a facilitator and help us raise the funds needed to bring more strength-based programs to Shasta and Tehama county schools. •

Article Written by:

Hayden Ball is a writer of poetry and short stories from Redding. In addition, he’s been an active member of the Redding music scene for the past 10 years, releasing timeless hits such as “American Family” and the critically acclaimed album Wobbly H in 2016.

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