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Girls Inc. inspiring, empowering girls to achieve their dreams

Sending girls to summer camp is just one of the ways Girls Inc. of York Region is helping local girls to be "strong, smart and bold"

Sending young girls to summer camp is just one of the ways that Girls Inc. of York Region is helping to empower them to be "strong, smart and bold."

The non-profit agency serving girls aged five to 18 highlighted the powerful impact of their programs and activities, including summer camps in Newmarket and Aurora, at its Spirit of the Girl breakfast event at Newmarket EventMRKT May 26.

"We invited you here today to learn more about Girls Inc., the programs we provide and encourage you to get involved, to be a champion for girls and to help us build an equitable society, and ultimately grow our reach throughout York Region," Barb Wallace, executive director of Girls Inc. of York Region, told guests.

Minister of Transportation and York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney was the keynote speaker at the event in a pre-recorded virtual presentation.

She said support must be provided so girls can "take advantage of the opportunities that come their way and make the most of their talents ... whether it's encouraging them to strong and resilient or empathetic and warm-hearted. These are the things all parents want for their daughters. Our government wants all women across the province to thrive everywhere." 

The government is encouraging girls and women to consider careers in traditionally male-dominated  trades, she said.

"We want to let young girls know that they can achieve their dreams — whatever they be — and that is exactly what Girls Inc. is all about, because women participating in the workforce and achieving financial security is critical to their prosperity and independence. And when women achieve, Ontario succeeds," Mulroney said.

Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher-Murphy attended to hear about the impact of Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grants totalling more than $450,000: a three-year $329,800 grant awarded in 2020, and a one-year $119,700 Resilient Communities Fund grant awarded in 2022.

“It is heartwarming to see Girls Inc. receive the funding they need to continue their great work with young girls in our community,” Gallagher Murphy said.

“Being the recipient of two OTF grants has allowed Girls. Inc. to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and advance their delivery of innovative after-school programs. Their commitment to offering girls programs tailored to their needs in a safe and inclusive environment continues to inspire new generations of female leaders.”

The Resilient Communities Fund grant helped Girls Inc. to expand after-school programs, train staff, provide a social worker for counselling and wellness checks, and expand fundraising efforts.

The Grow grant supported the expansion of additional after-school programs in Richmond Hill and Vaughan, in addition to the three in Newmarket and Aurora.

The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be overstated,” said Wallace. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on children and adolescents over the last three years. These two OTF grants have allowed us to open new after-school programs reaching hundreds more girls in York Region and we have been able to hire a social worker that provides mental health check-ins to any participants in need of additional support.”

Girls Inc. of York Region offers a variety of programs that give girls the opportunity to explore topics and activities that interest them in a safe, inclusive environment.

Registration is now open for camps in Newmarket and Aurora, with subsidies available for those needing this support. 

To learn more about volunteering and donating to Girls Inc., including the summer camp program, visit here

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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is the editor for AuroraToday and NewmarketToday. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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