Girls on the Run: Mentoring Helps American Girls Succeed in Careers, Life (page 2)

By — International Information Programs (U.S. Department of State)
Updated on Sep 29, 2014

Mentoring Underserved Girls

It is widely accepted that girls between the ages of 8 and 12 still are receptive to adult influence while beginning to feel peer pressure. The nongovernmental organization Girls Inc. recognizes the importance of adult mentoring during these years.

“We know that girls have the capacity to do or be whatever they want, but they are often limited by external expectations and by their lack of confidence,” said Joyce M. Roche, head of Girls Inc., which provides after-school mentoring to adolescent girls.

Girls Inc. programs teach girls to tackle math and science in school and to learn fundamental economic concepts so that they can make the right financial decisions for themselves, according to Roche. The programs teach girls how to be economically self-sufficient and provide basic information about the stock market. They also examine peer pressure and violence.

Girls Inc. centers allow girls to “try new things they may be less likely to try with boys around,” Roche said.

Girls Inc. was founded as the Girls Club of America in 1864 to help young girls who were migrating from rural communities to cities. Today, most Girls Inc. clubs help American girls in high-risk, underserved areas confront social pressures and prepare them to lead successful and fulfilling lives, Roche said. The organization changed its name to Girls Inc. in 1990.

Both Girls on the Run and Girls Inc. receive public funding from agencies authorized by the U.S. Congress, and the local clubs associated with the NGOs receive significant community support from businesses and large corporations.

Additional information on Girls on the Run and Girls Inc. is available on the groups’ Web sites. More information about the Power Girls Global Summer Leadership Institute is available on the Bennett College for Women Web site.

For more stories on women's issues, see Women in the Global Community and National Women's History Month.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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