Inspiring and Empowering Middle School Girls

4GIRLS Participation in Long Beach Gives

Dear 4GIRLS Community,

4GIRLS is excited to share that we have been selected to participate in the Long Beach Gives campaign, the city’s annual day of online giving. The 24-hour online fundraiser takes place on September 24, 2020. This opportunity means a lot to our organization, as this year, due to COVID-19, 4GIRLS will not be holding our annual fundraising gala. The Long Beach Gives campaign will be the primary source of funding for our 2021 programs, so please mark the date and help support our organization if you are able.

Though we haven’t been able to hold any in-person events, for several months, our Virtual Connections Committee and Social Media Committee have been very busy at work delivering virtual empowerment events and social media campaigns designed to keep the girls engaged, inspired and empowered! And, one of the best outcomes of this new way of delivering our program has been the leadership skills that our Junior Mentors (who are high-school aged) are honing as they develop and lead many of these activities.

4GIRLS will continue to innovate with how we deliver our program and we will continue to expand our reach virtually so that we can inspire and empower even more middle-school girls. As most, if not all of you know, we are a 100% volunteer organization and everything that we do is provided at no cost to the girls. Please help us to continue doing the good work into 2021 and beyond by contributing to the Long Beach Gives campaign on September 24, 2020. For more information about supporting 4GIRLS through Long Beach.

Gives please visit https://donate.longbeachgives.org/4girls-organization. Early donations will be available starting September 17th, 2020.

Thank you all for all that you do to support this program! We wish you continued health and safety.

Sincerely,
The 4GIRLS Organization


4GIRLS New Board Members

4GIRLS is pleased to welcome several new Board and Advisory Board members to our organization!

Joining our Board are Gail Schwandner, retired Dean of Career and Technical Education at Long Beach City College, and, Tamara White, Group Manager and data analytics architecture expert at Avanade, Inc.  

And, joining our Advisory Board are Stephanie Seecof, Educator for the Long Beach Unified School District, Kimberly Mendez, Social Media Advisor, and, Sion Charles, student at California State University, Long Beach.

All have contributed either their time, talent or treasure to 4GIRLS in the past, whether as a general volunteer, adult mentor, junior mentor, committee member (or a combination thereof!) and we appreciate their ongoing commitment to 4GIRLS and are really excited to be working with them in this expanded capacity. 


Global Giving May 2020 Report

“Everything can change in an instant. Everything. And then there is only before and after.” ― Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Greetings 4GIRLS Friends, 

The quote above has never been more applicable for so many as it is during these times. The 4GIRLS leadership team hopes that this message finds you healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

In early March, a couple of weeks before California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to “stay at home” due to Covid-19, the 4GIRLS Anaheim team held our organization’s last in-person activity, an art based Empowerment Event at The Ponderosa Family Resource Center. The theme of the event was “Where Will My Feet Take Me?”, providing the 23 girls in attendance an opportunity to reflect on what path they see for themselves in their future. One fun exercise included having the girls look at each other’s shoes and acknowledging that they were all different and that that was okay because everyone has a different path requiring a different pair of shoes. It was a fun and inspiring activity and culminated with the girls making a banner for International Women’s Day 2020. And, then, everything changed.

As with most areas of life these past couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way that the 4GIRLS Organization is currently operating. A couple of months ago, what we would have expected to be sharing with you in this edition of the Global Giving Project Report, was the tremendous success of our 10th Anniversary 4GIRLS Workshop in Long Beach, CA. We would have been excited to report that we had the largest attendance of girls in the history of this organization. We would have praised the subject matter experts that contributed their time and talent to deliver a meaningful and impactful program, incorporating this year’s theme – BOLD. We would have shared inspiring anecdotes from our remarkable keynote speaker – President’s Scholar, McNair Scholar and California State University Long Beach Associated Student’s “Woman of the Year”, Taryn Williams. We would have shared with great joy that Maria Shriver’s daughter, bestselling author and advocate Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, was our special guest speaker. (Maria Shriver, via the California’s Women’s Conference that she used to host, is the inspiration for 4GIRLS!) And, most importantly, we would have shared some of the transformational moments of the workshop from the vantage point of the middle school girls in attendance. Unfortunately, we do not have any of these stories to share because the workshop was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.  

This situation has prompted the 4GIRLS Organization to assess and consider new ways for delivering our program, so that girls in the communities that we serve can continue to receive inspiration and empowerment even though we cannot hold in-person events at this time. To that end, 4GIRLS recently established a “Virtual Outreach” Committee to expand our program by developing a more robust virtual presence and enhancing our impact via our social media platforms. The committee is currently actively working with our Junior Mentors to create some fun and impactful social media campaigns and develop virtual activities to keep the middle school girls, who were not able to attend the workshop, engaged. (The Junior Mentors are high school girls that help to facilitate the workshop experience for the middle school girls.) The energy and excitement among the committee members and the Junior Mentors is palpable and it is great to witness that, out of uncertainty and chaos, new ideas and creativity can flourish. What we do know for certain is that many, if not all, of the new virtual programs that are being developed will be added to our 4GIRLS “toolkit” moving forward. We will continue to leverage these virtual programs even after we are able to return to our in-person activities as they will be a great vehicle to allow the 4GIRLS mission to reach even more girls, including those beyond the geographic regions in which we operate today.

Since our last report, the 4GIRLS Board of Directors has undergone a change in leadership. Kerith Dilley, 4GIRLS Board President, resigned, and Yesmean Rihbany, 4GIRLS Board Member, was voted in as the new Board President.  In addition, Lisa Monteiro, 4GIRLS CFO, resigned, and Sharon Faustina, 4GIRLS Board Member and Long Beach Chapter Treasurer, was voted in as CFO. Having dedicated several years and many woman hours of meaningful and impactful service to the 4GIRLS Organization, both Kerith’s and Lisa’s contributions to 4GIRLS have been significant on many levels and their mark on our organization is indelible. We are forever grateful for their service! Subsequent to these Board departures, we added two members to the 4GIRLS Board of Directors – Claudia Copley, Founder of 4GIRLS, and, Janet Bittner, former Executive Director of 4GIRLS. Both Claudia and Janet bring tremendous passion, wisdom and vision to the organization and we are excited to have them on the Board.

In a period marked by a lot of change, the 4GIRLS team has been able to successfully regroup and pivot thanks to strong leadership and committed volunteers. As we look forward to the future, we will continue to build on the core strengths of the program while innovating in areas that will allow 4GIRLS to evolve in new and exciting ways so that we can continue to inspire and empower middle school girls. And, we look forward to announcing the 4GIRLS scholarship winners over the course of the next couple of weeks. Now, more than ever, these girls need to be recognized and rewarded for their resilience and hard work during these uncertain times. 

Wishing our 4GIRLS community, donors and business partners continued health and safety.

Sincerely,

The 4GIRLS Board of Directors