Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara (GIGSB) has opened its new Teen Center, now serving seventh through ninth grade girls. The nonprofit has designated a space at its Goleta location specifically for teenage girls, where it will implement a new program agenda specifically outfitted to the interests and skills of middle school and high school girls.
“Girls and teens that do not participate in programs like Girls Inc. after school are more susceptible to getting involved in negative social tendencies,” said Kyrie Belme, Program Development Manager at Girls Inc. “We recognized a reduced number in our seventh and eighth grade girls and wanted to address this by providing them with a more teen-geared program that is separate from the younger girls. We’re thrilled to have this new space for our teens that will foster their self-esteem, confidence, and help them reach their full potential.”
Until recently, the organization had served Transitional Kindergarten through eighth grade students at two different locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta, and now has hopes to expand its services to girls all the way through high school at one collective Teen Center. “It’s been amazing to see this collaborative transition happen with girls coming together under one roof and creating a sort of sisterhood across different socioeconomic statuses and age groups,” added Belme.
The Teen Center currently serves almost two-dozen girls daily. Programs are designed to provide girls with constructive activities through organized athletics, arts, and academics specifically within the realms of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In addition to creative outlets, GIGSB also provides girls with introductory exposure to computer programming, robotics, and coding, as well as mentorship and support in career exploration.