(Contest Nominee) GIRLS INC. OF METRO DENVER Inspires Young Girls to be Strong, Smart, & Bold

GIRLS INC. OF METRO DENVER is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place October 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. The charity receiving the most contest votes will receive a $5,000 donation, while the other nominees will split $2,500 in donations based on the voting results.

CLICK HERE to Vote on Facebook by Oct. 14

Many nonprofit organizations offer much needed after-school and summer programming for young kids. But Girls Incorporated of Metro Denver is one of the only ones that offer programs specifically for girls.

Why just girls? Young girls face unique challenges overcoming social and cultural barriers that are different from boys. The organization’s mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. And to accomplish their mission, Girls Inc. offers after-school and summer programs to girls 6 to 18 years-old.

“We give them the tools to learn how to make smart choices in order to achieve financial health and school success, and how to take care of their bodies and have healthy relationships,” says Sonya Ulibarri, President & CEO. “We provide them with intentional programming that compensates for some of the information that girls traditionally lack access to and resources for in the larger community.”

Girls Inc. of Metro Denver was founded 30 years ago by a group of concerned Denver residents who recognized the importance of providing a safe place for girls after a significant increase in teen pregnancies and juvenile delinquency cases were noted. The charity is a local affiliate of the national Girls Incorporated organization whose history dates back to 1864.

The after-school program is held at the organization’s West Colfax facility and is open to all girls who are interested between the ages of 6 and 18. It serves all seven counties of the metro area and recruits girls from area schools. Girls Inc. even provides transportation to and from the schools, to ensure that getting to the program is never a barrier.

“People assume that these are at-risk girls or girls living in poverty, and while that’s a demographic we serve, Girls Inc. girls come from all backgrounds and experiences. Every girl who is looking for a safe, empowering space can find it here,” explained Ulibarri.

The first hour of the program is dedicated to homework and tutoring. During the second hour they provide age appropriate research and evidenced based programs, developed by the national organization, as well as locally created curriculum relevant to the Denver Metro Area.  Each session covers topics such as science and engineering, media literacy, financial literacy, health and sexuality, and sports and adventure.

In addition to their center-based program they also do outreach, where they offer classes and workshops to schools and community organizations throughout Denver.

Their 9-week summer camp, like many other summer offerings, fills up quickly and usually has a waiting list. The camp is similar to the after-school program but runs all day and includes other fun activities such as forensic science, visual arts, and dance. The older girls even had an entrepreneur program last summer.

Educators trained in their curriculum teach all programs, while volunteers provide classroom support, homework help, and facility maintenance. And, says Ulibarri, these educators tend to stick around so they build a strong foundation of trust with these girls because they see the same faces year after year.

But Girls Inc. still has a need for new volunteers for tutoring, classroom assistance, administration and special events. It runs two major fundraising events every year: one called Girls & Guys Night Out, which is coming up October 4th and another in the summer where they give out awards and scholarships to Girls Inc. girls.

Ulibarri says that they typically give out five or six scholarships a year, but this year they gave out 30 to commemorate their 30th anniversary totaling $80,000.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward supporting overall operations, including paying for: field trips, bringing in speakers from the community, as well as maintenance of shuttles and the center facility itself.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.GirlsIncDenver.org.

Vote to Give Girls Inc. a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with Girls Inc. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of local nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day Facebook vote, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win great prizes, including $100 dinner out at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.

How to Cast Your Vote – October 1-14
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to cast a vote/entry online. One vote/entry is permitted during the 14-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity.

Spread the Word about Girls Inc.
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado to cast their vote for your favorite nonprofit. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.

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