Girls have the right to: be themselves and resist stereotypes, take risks and pride in success, accept and appreciate their bodies, and prepare for interesting work with economic independence, according to the Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (GIMD) Bill of Rights. This local chapter of the national organization provides empowerment programs to help girls—trans and nonbinary folks included—be strong, smart, and bold.
“A good percentage of our girls who start in elementary will stay connected to us through high school and college,” Destinee Perkins, director of programs at GIMD, says. “As a mother of four girls who participate, it’s a sweet touch getting to see which one of them is interested in STEM, or which one of them is leaning more towards leadership and advocacy…and seeing those paths already starting to develop.”
At their West Colfax location and in partnership with local schools and community organizations, GIMD hosts art and movement-based electives, mentorship, homework help, and classes on topics such as healthy sexuality and financial literacy. They also facilitate lessons on identifying emotions and finding healthy ways to regulate them. Elementary-age girls who can’t access center-based programming can receive a monthly (pay what you can) GIRLS thINC Outside the Box kit with a STEM activity and books by authors and illustrators of various racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Coming up: Eureka! STEM is a five-year program in which girls gain skills through monthly hands-on opportunities, such as building circuit models with the help of a Ball Corporation aerospace employee. Girls leaving seventh grade are eligible to apply.
GIMD is also offering a nine-week summer camp for first- through eighth-graders. Students pick two days per week to participate in fitness and STEM activities.
How you can help: Sign up for individual and group volunteer opportunities on the GIMD website; roles include program assistance and center maintenance. Donate to GIMD to help provide mentorship, tutoring, and paid internships. Visit the Strong, Smart & Bold Beans coffee shop at 1401 Zuni Street, and treat yourself to women-produced coffee, tea, and food.