Girls Club: an advocate for South Los Angeles
Juliana D. Norwood | 2/6/2013, 5 p.m.
The Girls Club of Los Angeles is a nonprofit agency that meets the needs of underprivileged and at-risk children, youth and their families living in South Los Angeles. The organization is an advocate and community change agent working to provide children, youth and families with the skills to overcome the challenges they face.
"Our mission is to enrich the lives of low-income children, youth and families through early education, youth development and community outreach, which contribute to self-sufficient, stable and productive individuals," said Gloria Davis, executive director of the organization.
Davis has been affiliated with this organization since 1989 and has served in various capacities, including from board member to board president. As executive director, she oversees an array of programs exemplifying the Girls Club mission.
To date, the nonprofit has served more than 75,000 girls and boys ages 2-18 living in South Los Angeles. The Girls Club addresses unmet needs such as children living in violent and unstable environments, low academic preparation and test scores, high teen pregnancy, families living in poverty, rates of high obesity and low physical activities, youth in the juvenile justice system, youth on probation and the lack of quality child care.
The Girls Club tackles these obstacles through programs in:
* Early care and education
* Youth development
* Community development
* Resources and referrals
One of the key programs the organization runs is Project LEAD, a youth development initiative designed to promote positive, healthy lifestyles in youth and encourage responsible decision-making and the development of life skills that lead to self-sufficiency.
The program is school-based and run at Washington Preparatory High School with a focus on ninth grade boys and girls. It includes instruction in Comprehensive Sexuality Education (i.e. goal setting, decision making, reproduction, and teen pregnancy) to the ninth grade health classes; Service Learning Club available for students to learn about the community and participate in projects; and the Annual Teen Rally exposing students to school and community resources.
The Girls Club also holds a community service program for girls 14-18 in efforts to reduce delinquency and recidivism, promote pro-social behavior, strengthen the family and parenting practices, promote school success and employment practices, and give females the opportunity to learn skills in a gender-appropriate environment.
It provides dynamic and exciting opportunities Monday-Thursday at the Family Development Network from 2:30-5:30 p.m. in partnership with the Watts Labor Community Action Committee for youth ages 8-18. During this time, participants have the opportunity to engage in the following activities:
* Academic enrichment activities
* Skill development activities
* Community involvement activities
* Cultural/recreational activities
* Parenting workshops
The Girls Club has a number of ways that members of the community can contribute to the organization and keep its essential programs flourishing.
"Throughout the years, the spirit of giving has been an important cornerstone of Girls Club of Los Angeles," said Davis. "The philanthropic support of individuals, corporations and foundations has enabled us to open the doors of opportunity to many thousands of children and families.
For more information, call (323) 754-2122.