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Girls Inc. of the Central Coast

Organization Mission

To inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, and to respect themselves and the world around them.

Girls Inc. serves 1,300 girls in 21 schools with research-based programs and trained professionals (often older teens) who mentor them in a safe environment. Girls are inspired to pursue secondary education, develop leadership and decision-making skills, resist peer pressure, serve their communities, and acquire the ability and wisdom to lead healthy lifestyles.

The Big Idea 2023:
Smart Choices Summer Camp

Smart Choices, a summer program for 8th and 9th graders helps participants make positive life choices about school, relationships, and health during a week spent at UC Santa Cruz.

For 95% of our girls, this is their first time away from home. They experience college life and get a head start in planning for high school and beyond. The program addresses issues facing these girls by focusing on pursuing higher education — setting goals, making decisions, understanding the value of an education, and taking the necessary steps to achieve their goals.

With your support, we hope to serve 80 participants for 5 days: sessions from 9am-9pm, room and board, meals, materials, and transportation.

When I was in elementary school I was bullied. It was hard for me to make friends and I thought things wouldn't get better. When I found Girls Inc. I finally had a place where I could be myself. I learned how to make good choices, about health, and why it's important to say no to things that aren’t good for me. I learned to stand up for myself, how to achieve my dreams, and that I can go to college in the future.


Perla Rivera, 12, Watsonville