The mission of Young Minds - Bright Futures! is to inspire girls to learn all they can and dream big.
In Rapid City, SD, 81% of students graduate on time compared with only 52% of minority students. Girls Inc. of Rapid City is located in a low-income census tract and provides afterschool and summer programming for hundreds of girls, ages 6-17, minority and white both, who may be at risk of not completing high school. For $50, girls can access year-round academic support and enrichment and positive youth development activities, but many families cannot afford to pay this fee. The services are designed to build the girls' capacity for responsible and confident adulthood, economic independence, and personal fulfillment. The program promotes curiosity about the world and love of learning, provides a safe and stimulating learning environment during out-of-school hours, and works to improve the overall well-being of vulnerable young girls. Girls Inc. is the only program of its kind within hundreds of miles that addresses the unique needs of girls. These girls need what Girls Inc. offers.
The $25,000 would address an unmet need by providing scholarships for 500 girls to attend Girls Inc. for an entire year. With the scholarships, the girls would benefit from daily homework help and tutoring. They would participate in literacy activities that promote a love of reading and inspire an appreciation of books, and K-3 girls could work with a literacy teacher to advance their reading skills. The girls would get down and dirty with hands-on science activities that increase their interest and confidence and promote scientific inquiry. The girls would learn technology applications in the Computer Lab and join Mathletes teams to solve multi-grade math challenges. Participant surveys show that confidence in an academic area (math, science, or reading) is highest among girls who attend the program most days of the week. Another plus: more than 75% of parents surveyed reported observing changes in their daughter feeling good about herself since she started at Girls Inc. of Rapid City.
Regular participation in Girls Inc. produces results! Evaluation studies over several years show that attendance at Girls Inc. of Rapid City results in girls engaging significantly less in risk-taking behaviors and improving their school attendance, self-confidence, and communication patterns. Despite the challenges and other risk factors they may face, girls who attend Girls Inc. develop their interests, hone their skills, and use their curiosity, imagination, and creativity to explore the world around them. They learn about the community, develop stronger connections, and become more productive citizens. They get the support they need to engage in their classes at school and be successful academically. They start setting goals to graduate from high school, to enjoy healthy relationships, and to find interesting, fulfilling work. They develop healthier lifestyle habits now and get on track to be healthy throughout their lives. This $25,000 grant could transform the lives of 500 girls!