Girls Empowerment Network Receives $10,000 Grant from Texas Bar Foundation, Expanding Services to Improve Self-Efficacy in At-Risk Girls in Harris County

GEN conference Houston

Girls Empowerment Network (GEN) today announced it will expand its unique prosocial intervention program for girls in Houston’s Harris County with a $10,000 from Texas Bar Foundation. Using its Girl Connect Program curriculum (formerly known as 180), Girls Empowerment Network will develop in-school and weekend programs designed for girls who are at risk for entering juvenile justice system.

This unique program from Girls Empowerment Network has been proven to reduce and prevent girls’ involvement in court proceedings; increase their self-efficacy, bonding and pro-social behaviors; and improve their in-school functioning and behavior so that girls can build happy, healthy futures.

“Girl Connect is designed to intervene when adolescent girls first begin showing signs of the need for more supportive services because of angry outbursts in class, truancy, fighting, self-harm, anxiety, showing up in the juvenile justice system, or other things which present an obstacle toward their ability to build healthy futures,” explains Julia Cuba Lewis, executive director of Girls Empowerment Network.

Girls Empowerment Network piloted this program in partnership with Travis County courts in 2010 and now provides services in three Central Texas counties. With the grant from Texas Bar Foundation, Harris County will be its newest service area.

“Girl Connect has influenced the behavior and path to adulthood for thousands of girls in Texas,” says Lewis. “Among girls who are mandated to participate by juvenile court, this program is proven to prevent them from returning to court after a first offense. For all girls who struggle in school and at home, it connects them with supportive role models who help them build healthy relationships, resist peer pressure and manage their stress.”

With funding from the Texas Bar Foundation, the Girls Empowerment Network has had success in establishing Girl Connect in Travis, Williamson, and Hays counties in Central Texas, including both long term weekly programs and Saturday workshops to supplement additional learning. Last year’s outcomes include:

  • 90 percent of girls reported positive peer bonding in their groups.
  • 89 percent of girls learned effective ways to say no to things that they think could hurt them.
  • 86 percent of girls reported learning ways to achieve their goals.
  • 94 percent of girls said that group taught them how to handle stressful situations.

Girls Empowerment Network (GEN) helps girls discover they are powerful people. Through school-based programs and community events for girls, parents and schools, GEN ignites power in girls ages 8 – 18 by teaching them skills to thrive and believe in their ability to be unstoppable. GEN created its first We Are Girls conference in 2008 to celebrate girlhood and to serve more girls and adults who care about them with hands-on activities, expert speakers and skill-building sessions that ignite their power. Other Harris County programs include its annual conference, WE ARE GIRLS HOUSTON, held annually and made possible by volunteer conference committee of community leaders.

Learn more at Girls Empowerment Network

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