Giving Tuesday Super Hero #2

Girls’ Bill of Rights

  • To be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes
  • To express themselves with originality and enthusiasm
  • To take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success
  • To accept and appreciate their bodies
  • To have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world
  • To prepare for interesting work and economic independence

These six expressed rights are at the core of the programming of Girls Inc..  The Girls Inc of Greater Atlanta chapter is today’s community Super Hero, part of our focus on Super Heroes making a difference in communities across the country.  Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta was nominated by one of their supporters and fans who urged me to “Be Strong, Smart, and Bold” the organization’s battle cry for all girls and women.

Strong, Smart, Bold

The Greater Atlanta Chapter of Girls Inc. was founded in 1973 when two community volunteers, Joyce Dunaway Parker and Irma Glover, secured Marietta City Council funding to establish a safe neighborhood place for girls. The two volunteers had been deeply grieved by the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of a 9-year-old girl from the neighborhood’s one supposedly safe hang-out—a Laundromat—and resolved to create an appropriate place for girls to gather.  The resultant Cobb Marietta Girls Club became affiliated with the Girls Club of America—later renamed Girls Inc.—in 1976. 

The program—so much more than a neighborhood “hang-out,” seeks to empower girls by making them smart, savvy, secure, and empowered through weekend, after school, and summer programs that follow nationally developed, evidenced-based curriculum encompassing exercise and healthy living, positive body image, financial literacy, media literacy, anti-bullying, self-defense, leadership, and the empowerment of girls to succeed in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). 

The programs seek to remedy the facts that:

  • Only 31% of higher education degrees in STEM fields are being earned by young women
  • Girls have a 1 in 4 chance of being a victim of sexual abuse
  • 78% of girls are unhappy with their body image by age 17
  • 79% of low-income metro-Atlanta families living in poverty are headed by single-parent women

This week, one of the organization’s founders, Joyce Dunaway Parker, was awarded a Shero of the Year Award by Georgia State for 2014.  Not only did Dunaway Parker work to found the Girls Inc. chapter of Greater Atlanta, she also served as its first President and served as Vice President on the national board of directors.  Parker is a well-known leader in the Atlanta community.  She was a driving force behind Georgia’s effort to adopt the ERA, is a part of Emily’s List and of the NAACP.

The annual Shero Awards recognize individuals who have made a difference on gender equality in Georgia and in the South.  Documentation of the honorees’ lives and work become part of Georgia State University’s Women and Gender permanent collection.

Dunaway Parker is a Shero of our Community and the organization she worked to create is one of our #GivingTuesday Super Heroes.  Thank you, Girls Inc of Greater Atlanta for the good work you do to empower the young women of our community to be Strong, Smart, and Bold.

You can offer your support to the transformative work Girls Inc of Greater Atlanta does by visiting their donation page on their website.  If you’d like to give inkind goods and services, visit their wish list to find out what their program needs.  Find out more about them here.