B&G Club Help To Empower Young Women

Coordinator Marla Smith engaging Within Her Reach Girls at the B&G Club

Staff Report

The Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club has been collaborating with the Milford School District to establish a Within Her Reach, Inc. (WHR) program for teenage girls at the Milford Central Academy. The collaboration is an extension of the partnership between Within Her Reach, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on at-risk adolescent and teenage girls, and the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club that began its during the Club’s 2011 summer program. With a grant from the Milford Lions Club, the Boys & Girls Club has since adopted the workshop series as part of its school year elective program for adolescent girls.

Within Her Reach is a program for at-risk adolescent and teenage girls, ages 10-18. The six week series curriculum is designed to introduce and motivate open discussions about the challenges of being an adolescent or teenage girl and to present different ways of thinking and responding to life situations.

“Within Her Reach helps by providing a safe place for discussion for the girls involved,” commented Dorian Mendez-Vaz, Executive Director of the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club. “Each time they are gathered with our coordinators, they discuss their fears as well as their triumphs.  They know that they are respected and that their thoughts and feelings count.”

Within Her Reach, Inc. was developed as a nonprofit organization based on the principle that strengthening a girl’s ability to see herself as wonderfully made and fully capable of obtaining success in life, helps her envision the possibilities in her present and future. The mission of the organization is to engage girls singularly and collectively to help them develop and maintain healthy self-esteem, exceptional character and a resolute self-determination to embrace excellence in all they do. The overarching objective is to provide experiences that foster personal empowerment by coaching girls to take control of their destinies regardless of their current life circumstances.

Designed to help girls cultivate a positive sense of self and strong leadership skills, Within Her Reach, Inc. has three core components: Mentoring and Leadership Development, Literacy as Part of Life’s Success and Positive Self-Expression through The Arts. Workshops and Activities are offered to illustrate how external elements help shape the images they have about themselves and how they define or view the world. The girls explore how their communities and other aspects of society play a role in developing ideas about their present and future.

“We know that there are many pieces that fit into the puzzle when it comes to developing good self esteem, stated Ms. Mendez-Vaz. “In every Within Her Reach session the girls work on the pieces that create good self esteem while discarding the pieces that don’t fit.  We help our girls see how important it is to think well of themselves, while at the same time encouraging and helping them tackle some of the areas they need to toss.”

The Within Her Reach partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and the Milford Central Academy is currently engaged in its second six week series. The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club plans to run an additional Within Her Reach program during the summer and continue to work with the Milford School District during the upcoming school year. For more information of how to get involved with the Within Her Reach Program, individuals are urged to contact the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club at 302-422-4453.