Female empowerment is crucial to the self-esteem of young women. Here are a few organizations that hold it down for the girls and young women on Long Island:
1) Girls On the Run Long Island (GOTR)
What started as a local North Carolina after school program in 1996 has now expanded to all 50 states including New York. The goal of Girls On the Run Long Island is to empower and inspire girls by encouraging them to discover their inner strength through different activities. The organization offers a 10-week program for girls in between 3rd and 8th grade in which trained coaches facilitate discussion, running games and other activities. The activities are designed to instill confidence in the girls while having fun and building connections. Near the end of the program, the girls run in and volunteer at a 5K run. If running a 5k and completing a 5K isn’t empowerin I don’t know what is. The local branch in Massapequa is ran by Council Director Doreen Dunne and Program Director Joyce Petrosino. GOTR also offers Heart & Sole, their middle school version for grades 6 to 8 and volunteer opportunities for high school girls.
2) Girls Inc. of Long Island
The community-based organization offers programs upon programs with the hope of helping girls from the ages of five to to 18. Girls Inc. Long Island is located in Deer Park and was founded in 2005. It is headed by Executive Director Renee Daniel Flagler, Associate Director Barbara Joy Beatus-Vegh, Program Manager Sunita Thakkar Mahtani, Fund Development Manager Nyrekia Mayers, and Program Coordinator Anissa Rivera. They provide education on economic literacy, leadership and community action, media literacy and more. Their mission is to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. It’s hard not to find an area they don’t cover to set girls and young women up for success. Their researched-based programs and methods are designed to achieve their mission and can be implemented within schools.
3) Long Island Girl Talk (LIGT)
Long Island Girl Talk teaches young girls how to create their own media and establish their voice to boost their self-esteem. The leaders of the nonprofit also educate and talk with teenage girls about social issues that impact them as young women. The girls in the program learn the ins and outs of television and film production. They are also encouraged to work in roles that are traditionally not filled by women including graphics, sound and camera work. The program is free, lasts from September to April and they are looking for girls from Uniondale, Hempstead, Roosevelt and Freeport school districts. LIGT was founded by Nassau Community College professor and former Essence editor Marcia McNair. The rest of the team includes Program Director Natasha Nurse, Community Coordinator Elaine Smith and Director of Film and Production Kelly-Ann Rivera.
4) Junior League of Long Island
The Junior League of Long Island is a 68-year-old organization based in Roslyn. The driving force behind the Junior League is to volunteer and improve the community through leadership and charity. The volunteer education-based organization is run by a board of directors with Tracy Pfaff serving as president. One of their staple projects includes Kids in the Kitchen, a program developed to help combat childhood obesity by educating children and their parents on healthy eating. They also work with other nonprofits by offering volunteers for service projects. In order to become a member, you must be over 21 and have been a resident of Long Island for at least five years.