Girls inc. Continues Partnership with Berkshire Gas and Avangrid Foundation Supporting Girls Stem Program

 

 

 

Pittsfield, MA – January 9, 2019 – Kelly Marion, CEO of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center and Nicole Licata, Director of the Avangrid Foundation jointly announced today the continuation of the Avangrid Foundation’s, in partnership with Berkshire Gas, support of the Girls Inc. Eureka! program. 

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program brings girls in the Berkshires a unique opportunity to explore STEM-related subjects through intensive, hands-on programming over five years. The first Eureka! group was launched in July 2018, made up of 14 girls entering 8th grade. The girls immersed themselves in a four-week summer experience studying a range of STEM subjects including physics, biology and environmental science with area professors from Berkshire Community College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on site at Berkshire Community College on West Street in Pittsfield. The girls also participated in personal and career development activities, along with physical fitness to promote a healthy lifestyle. The group continues to meet throughout the school year to build upon what they’re learning in school, continue to explore personal and career development activities and to build relationships with program staff and each other. The group will begin a second immersive summer experience in July 2019.

Eureka!, a research-based and evaluated program designed by the national Girls Inc. organization, helps girls envision possibilities and reaches out to girls who may face real challenges to staying in school, have little access to real career development activities or consider any form of higher education in their future. A five-year program, Eureka! provides girls as they begin 8th grade with hands-on, girls-only opportunities to build skills, knowledge and self-confidence in STEM-related subjects. Designed to address the needs of middle and high school girls at a pivotal time in their development, Girls Inc. Eureka! provides increased educational opportunities in STEM to under-served girls and young women, enabling and empowering them to lead financially sound, productive lives and preparing them for the world of work.

Under the partnership agreement the Avangrid Foundation, in partnership with Berkshire Gas, will provide a $25,000 grant to enable Girls Inc. of the Berkshires to build upon the success seen in the first year of the Eureka! program.

“We have been excited to have the opportunity to launch the Girls Inc. Eureka! program in the Berkshires,” said Marion, “we are one of only 20 Girls Inc. affiliates to offer the program and couldn’t have asked for a better partner than the Avangrid Foundation and Berkshire Gas to move the program forward.” Marion added, “Through our educational collaborators, Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, we are building a program rich with opportunities for girls to find an important place in the workforce of the future.”

Girls Inc. plans to expand the program each year with groups of up to 20 girls joining the program, with a plan to support up to 100 girls annually in the Eureka! program. A second group of Berkshire area girls who will be entering 8th grade will be added to the program summer 2019.

Berkshire Gas President Frank Reynolds noted, “We are thrilled to once again invest in such a timely and important opportunity for young women in our region.  It is exciting to be part of making a difference and contributing to the future of tomorrow’s young leaders and the local workforce.”

EUREKA! is a component of the Operation SMART program designed by the national Girls Inc. organization. Operation SMART uses a research-based curriculum to develop skills and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“In Girls Inc. of the Berkshires we have found a perfect partner; a community-based organization leading locally, but that which is tied into a national and global effort to help girls thrive”, said Nicole Licata Grant, Director Avangrid Foundation. “The Avangrid Foundation strives to invest in partners where we can support innovation and systems change.  The girls in this program have potential to change the world.”Girls Inc. of the Berkshires is a core program of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center. The Center serves children, youth and their families throughout the Berkshires providing early childhood education, school age enrichment programs, youth empowerment services, aquatics programs and summer camp at Camp Stevenson Witawentin. Learn more at www.brighamcenter.org.

 

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Girls Inc. Media Contacts:
Pam Knisley, Development and Communications Manager, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, pamk@brighamcenter.org, 413.442.5174 ext.12

Kelly Marion, CEO, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, kellyb@brighamcenter.org, 413.442.5174 ext. 13