Only a few weeks left for summer vacation for Lowcountry girls, but some young ladies are making the most of it. Hundreds of girls are participating in a program that has serious girl power, the Junior Girls Day out Community Project. Founder and senior program coordinator, Kathy Jackson, says the program started in 2007, and runs all year long. Four-Hundred girls from from the Tri-county area have signed up. Jackson says, “We provide personal, career, education, social, and cultural development programs for girls (7 to 12) in the Charleston area. We have women come in to teach girls how to cook, sew, do laundry, hair care, nutrition. We do bank and credit union tours. Girls learn about credit, budgeting, savings, check writing skills. We have a beauty queen, charm and self-esteem event to help build girls’ self-esteem and confidence.” Thie girls also learn about etiquette amnd physical fitness, a variety of actiities, mentoring sessions, community service projects, and field trips. One day, they’re learning how to prepare nutritiomal meals at California Dreaming, eight-year old Nina Zapola says, “I love participating in this program. You get to meet new friends here. “On another day, they’re participating in Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy. Nine-year old Haley Hamom says, “We’ve been learning how to take computers apart. We’ve been learninmg about certain things about computers, what we can do with them, and we’ve been having a lot of fun. Just taking a part a compter, I never thought I would get to do that.” Ten-year old Angel Middleton says the program helps her feel powerful and creative. “Girls are challenged at the time, with violence, drugs, gangs, things going on on television and Internet. We want to provide positive outlets that will help enrich girls, nurture girls, encourage girls to whatever their goals are in life, they can achieve their goals”, says Jackson.
This summer, the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project is trying to raise funds to visit the Kennedy Space Center to have lunch with astronauts; tour the U.S. capital, Smithsonian Institute and other historic sites in DC; and experience Broadway and Wall Street, in New York. All of the programs, activities, meals and transportation are free for all girls. The program is funded through community and business contributions.
If you would like to make a donation to Junior Girls Day Out Community Project, call (843) 864-3399.
The volunteer-based organization is comprised of school administrators, parents, business executives, community leaders and other individuals.