Category Archives: Events

GAW receives thoughtful grant for $1,850 from Boston Bruins Foundation

Girls at Work, Inc. were very thankful to be chosen by the Boston Bruins Foundation to receive a grant of $1,850 to help with their mission. By placing real tools in the hands of young girls, our builders become unstoppable and recognize how forceful they are in all they pursue.

The Boston Bruins Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that have a positive impact on the New England community, and are particularly pleased to invest in Girls at Work because their work is so closely aligned with the Foundation’s priorities.

“It is wonderful that an organization like the Boston Bruins Foundation is so connected and committed to the surrounding communities and the work we are all doing to make a stronger tomorrow.” said Elaine Hamel, founder and program director of Girls at Work.

About Girls at Work

Girls at Work, Inc, is a non-profit that teaches at risk, low-income, New Hampshire girls inner strength through woodworking skills utilizing power tools. Many of our girls struggle with feelings of powerlessness. The experience of building for the first time enables girls to overcome fear associated with power tools, leaving them feeling powerful, strong and capable.

Our vision is a world where every girl feels confident and capable.

Support and follow us at www.GirlsWork.org, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram.

Media Contact

Heidi Page, Marketing & Administrative Manager

[email protected] or 603-345-0392

The Boston Bruins Foundation is a non-profit that collaborates with charitable organizations that demonstrate a commitment to health and wellness, education and athletics. The Foundation strongly believes that advocating for children and families across these areas will create a strong support system that will ultimately lead to the betterment of our community.

Media Contact

Zack Fitzgerald, Boston Bruins Foundation Manager

[email protected] https://www.nhl.com/bruins

Summer Build-Me-Up Campers from Girls at Work in partnership with 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Girls’ Leadership Camp at Kimball Union Academy donate picnic tables to First Responders

1stResponders-Holding Boards-RGB-SMAs a thank you to our local First Responders for all they do to help our community, Girls at Work summer campers, along with our Girls’ Leadership Camp at Kimball Union Academy, have decided to donate the picnic tables that the girls have made this season.


Girls at Work is an organization that works with many families that are struggling. We understand many of the heart wrenching issues that our community deals with daily. “Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by the need. We want to take a moment and thank those who dedicate their time so passionately to our community,” explains Elaine Hamel the founder and Program Director for Girls at Work. Thursday afternoon Mayor Joyce Craig will be at Girls at Work headquarters as the Manchester Police Department, the Manchester Fire Department, American Medical Response, CarePlus Ambulance service, Catholic Medical Center, and Elliot Hospital will be coming to our camp for the girls to load up their trucks with picnic tables, shake their hands directly, and say, “Thank you for all you do.”

Our Manchester community is taking on many of the stresses that our members are dealing with. We are stronger together, joining and supporting each other, to make Manchester a better city. Our local First Responders are making a difference in our neighborhoods, and Girls At Work wants to remind them that they are appreciated by encouraging them to take a break and sit together around a table handmade by our campers.

WMUR Video of days event

 

About 21st Century Learning Centers: The Manchester School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool program envisions a community where all students are inspired to reach their full potential academically, socially and personally through the support of the program, families, and the community.

About Girls’ Leadership Camp at Kimball Union Academy: Aligning with GLC’s motto, I am who I am, campers explore big topics that range from communication to collaboration, girl dynamics to middle school, gossip to cliques. Raney explains, “A lot of girls are battling supposed-to-syndrome; they are struggling because society wants them to be something other than who they are… we teach them, if you can look in the mirror at the end the day and say I am who I am with confidence and conviction, then you’re doing okay.”

About Girls at Work, Inc: Girls at Work, Inc, non-profit that teaches at risk, low-income, New Hampshire girls inner strength through woodworking skills utilizing power tools. Many of our girls struggle with feelings of powerlessness. The experience of building for the first time enables girls to overcome fear associated with power tools, leaving them feeling powerful, strong and capable.

For more information, visit www.GirlsWork.org or call 603-345-0392. We welcome you to contact us to set up a meeting to tour our facility and witness firsthand the confidence we are building through our program.

Seaport Warm-Up Fundraiser

Seaport Warm Up Official-FBMentally Escape the Seaport Chill for a Good Cause
Thursday, April 5
4 pm – 6:30 pm
at the SUPER COOL Reebok HQ: 25 Drydock Ave, Boston, MA 02210

Stanley Black and Decker Women’s Network, Reebok and Nutre Meal Plans have partnered up to give you a momentary escape from the cold weather and support a great cause! The Winter Warm Up is a fundraising event benefiting Dress for Success and Girls at Work!

Come join your Seaport colleagues for a time of
FUN, FUNDRAISING and NETWORKING

100% of Donations Benefit Girls at Work and Dress for Success 

Jog: $10-$29.99 | Admission, 2 Raffle Tickets, 1 Drink Ticket, 30% off Reebok Merch

Run: $30-49.99 | Admission, 5 Raffle Tickets, 1 Meal Ticket, 2 Drink Tickets, 30% off Reebok Merch

Sprint: $50. or more | Admission, 7 Raffle Tickets, 1 Meal Ticket, Open Bar, 30% off Reebok Merch, and Special Thank You Gift

Can’t Attend- Please Make a Donation to Support this event.

Click HERE for tickets or to donate. Thank you.

Seaport Warm Up Official

Girls at Work Diva Comedy Night

2016 Diva Comedy Night Recap

Girls at Work’s 2016 Diva Comedy Night was a total success! We had a packed house, hilarious talent, and a group of hard working volunteers that made this event our most successful one ever!

The comedians were Kevin Gallagher, Sue Schmidt, and Cindy Pierce. Their comic storytelling had the crowd of 200+ people engaged, enthralled, and laughing uncontrollably. We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all three of these performers!

During the intermission, it was an incredible treat to have The Endless Tricks perform a few songs acapella. The lead vocalist, Ana Liponis built with Girls at Work a few years back. She had said back then that she really wanted to be a singer. While she was getting started with singing, remembering her time with Girls at Work helped give her the courage to get up on stage and start her journey. Her story is another reminder of how powerful our girls are, and the amazing things they can do. The crowd’s jaws were on the floor as they watched this group of 14-year-olds sing so beautifully.

The unsung heroes of the night were our volunteers. City Year New Hampshire stepped up and provided over a dozen incredible volunteers to help us set up, break down, and tend to our attendees in between. This group of people selflessly provided help when we needed it, and made the night a complete success. We really could not have pulled it off without them!

We’d also like to thank our amazing sponsors, St. Mary’s Bank, Granite State Candy Shoppe, Redfin, Van Otis, Berry Dunn, Trayce Gregoire Photography, and NAWIC NH,.

And finally, the attendees of the event were just so wonderful. So many of you opened up your hearts and minds to listen to our story and our mission, and provided some great feedback. We also had a vast majority of attendees donate to our cause, which was just incredible to see. The result of the many donation envelopes we collected is that we are able to offer all of the little girls in our after school workshops a chance to participated in a two week ‘Build You’ Up’ series of workshops this summer. These workshops will be held in our shop in Manchester, and if you would like to stop in for a visit to see the impact of your donation, please let us know.

Girls at Work Bench

Girls at Work Diva Night NHIA

Girls at Work Diva Night

Diva Comedy Night – March 19, 2016

diva comedy night 2016The second annual Girls at Work, Inc. Diva Night will be an evening of hilarious comedic storytelling with top-billed comedians, including New Hampshire Magazine’s “Remarkable Women of the Arts” award winner Cindy Pierce, Moth and Extempo Story Slam winner Kevin Gallagher, and Sue Schmidt, 2015 winner of the New England Public Radio Valley Voices Grand Slam.

Doors will be at 5:30 pm, with the show starting at 6 pm. There will be lots of delicious chocolate on hand, plus a wine cash bar. Get a general admission ticket for $25 online ($30 at the door), a VIP ticket for early entry and a seat upfront for $50, or buy a reserved table that seats 8 for you and your friends for $400!

Diva Night allows us to bring afterschool programs to our inner city girls and helps to make our Girls at Work mission part of girls’ experiences, all over New England.

If you’re interested in sponsoring this event, view the sponsorship levels, here.

This year’s featured comedians

Cindy Pierce is a leading social sexuality educator and comic storyteller who has been performing her one-woman comedic show and providing educational program around healthy sexual behavior and choices since 2004. Cindy has been honored as one of 14 Remarkable Women of the Arts in New Hampshire magazine and a Pioneer with three others in the category. Cindy is the author of SEXPLOITATION: Helping Kids Develop Healthy Sexuality in a Porn Driven World and is co-author of Finding the Doorbell. With three kids storming into their teens, Cindy is a bit of a social liability for them, but her husband, Bruce, keeps the family grounded. Cindy and Bruce live in Etna, N.H., where they own and run Pierce’s Inn.

Susanne Schmidt is a standup comic and comedic storyteller. She is a Moth Story Slam winner, host, and regional producer. In 2015, Susanne was voted the winner of both the New England Public Radio Valley Voices Grand Slam and Vermont’s Extempo Tell Off. She has appeared in the Green Mountain Comedy Festival, the Boston Women in Comedy Festival and the Toronto SheDot Festival, as well as in venues from Maine to Alaska. Susanne is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health and a faculty member for the graduate program in clinical mental health at Southern New Hampshire University.
Kevin Gallagher is a mental health therapist by day and hilarious storyteller by night. A Moth and Extempo Story Slam winner, Kevin has appeared in shows throughout the country. Kevin is an international speaker in the areas of team building, working collaboratively and using stories as a way to engage people in meaningful interactions.

 

 
Thank you to our sponsors!
 
St Marys Bank

Musicfest Girls at Work

Music, food and fun for a great cause

Musicfest Girls at Work

We have some amazing partnerships with many social service agencies throughout the state, but, unfortunately, many of those agencies don’t always have the funding needed to cover the cost of our programs. To generate revenue that helps reduce the program’s costs for those agencies, we hold an annual fundraiser so that we can bring our program – and provide a powerful experience – to many more girls throughout New England.

The event, Musicfest, brings together live music, great food, an auction and more. Past performers include Elizabeth Lorrey, The Musicfest Girls at WorkRafters, Audrey Drake and Ian Ethan Case, just to name a few. The highlight of the event last year was when a young builder named Ava Liponis joined Chelsea Berry on stage and performed for the first time. Chelsea will be back this year, along with a few new artists that may be new to many of our supporters. The combination of wonderful music and incredible energy from supporters who believe in our mission of empowering girls makes for a truly amazing event.

Since our first year, when we gathered 100 people in a beautiful Victorian house in Concord, The Common Man has been a consistent supporter and we are so grateful for the support of the staff. Each year, with their help, we ramp up our efforts to provide an amazing night for everyone. Last year’s event was no exception: Along with The Common Man, we welcomed Anthony Martino of Gabi’s Smoke Shack. Anthony parked a large smoker trailer at our location the night before our event and smoked meat through the night. Our supporters arrived last year to the smell of pulled pork, pulled chicken and Musicfest Girls at WorkTexas hot sausage. Folks are still talking about the food we had at our Musicfest last year

We also had some great South American wines that were donated by The Imported Grape, and amazing bread donated by Good Loaf.

There are many other businesses that provide food, drink and raffle prizes, and many of our individual supporters step up with incredible donations. Last year we were able to raffle two iPads and auction off some really impressive items.

If you’d like to meet some incredible folks, listen to some wonderful music, eat some amazing food and toast to our next year, we’d love to have you join us at the Art Institute in Manchester Nov. 8 from 6-9 p.m. Not only will you enjoy a wonderful evening, but your donations will go toward providing young girls an empowering summer camp experience. Get your tickets here.

Please plan to join us; it’s a win-win for everyone!

Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

 

Dump the negative; make room for the positive

Girls at work

A few years ago we headed to a camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youths in Vermont. On the long drive to this camp I thought about how I could really have an impact on these kids in the two short days we would build with them. Upon my arrival, I spotted an extremely old picnic table on the camp site. It was so weathered that the only use I could see for it was kindling for a fire. I decided to hand each of the high school students a permanent marker and I told them to think about something that someone had once said to them that was hurtful. We talked about why it is so important to let these words go, to make room for the positive and empowering experiences they’ll have in the future.

This group of first-time builders didn’t hesitate to come up with the words they wanted to let go of. To me, it seemed sad that these hurtful words were so present in their minds; that they had no problem recalling them. I asked them to write these words on this old worn-out picnic table. After everyone else had finished, one young boy continued to write for a few more minutes. We all patiently waited. Once he was finished, he asked if I would read what he wrote out loud. I explained it was not necessary, but he insisted. After I read it to myself, I looked around and realized we were all sitting in a place of hurt and it would probably be ok to share. I read “the world would be a better place if you killed yourself you f*****’ f*****.

Hearing these words out loud was both shocking and sad. I talked about how our program typically uses tools to create, build and accomplish. But in order to make room for our creations, we would first need to demolish these negative thoughts. I pulled out a saw and showed them how to use it safely to cut up their section of the table, then toss the pieces into the fire pit. We then talked about how the fire and smoke would represent letting go of those words, making room for more positive ones. Once the old table and negative words were gone, we built a new picnic table together. Much like the act of letting go of the hurtful words, the build was an act of empowerment.

More recently, we spent a day running a similar program at The Circle Program, a long-time partner of ours. We wrote down hurtful words on old tables, cut up the tables, and then threw the pieces away. We couldn’t burn them this time, because there was paint on them, so we filled two garden carts, then teamed up and hauled them to the Dumpsters. As the girls hauled them off, the energy was low, and the atmosphere quiet and heavy. When we got to the Dumpster, I told the girls to throw the pieces into the Dumpster like they meant it.

As we headed back to build new tables, the girls asked if they could all pile into the carts. As the adult in this group, one would think I would respond responsibly and say no. However, something told me this would be a good idea and a good challenge. I told the girls that it was OK, but that they needed to stop immediately whenever I said to stop. So we all agreed to the terms and off we went. They were jammed into the carts and after I few minutes I yelled for them to stop. They were very quick to respond. I then asked them which load was heavier, the load of debris or the load of friends. They all agreed that both loads presented different challenges, but that their friends were worth carrying. We then talked about what we should carry with us and how much we all need to let go of.

There is much more to building with youth than what meets the eye. The physical application of building (and demolishing) allows us to not only talk about these kids’ feelings, but to demonstrate and communicate with them in a way they’ve never experienced before.

We know there are many more groups out there that could benefit from our program: facing real challenges and learning to use power tools. If you know of one, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, think about what you should let go of, because there are many wonderful things about you for which you might want to make room inside of yourself, so you can hold on to the good and let go of the bad.

 Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

Girl builders

The Main Idea: Overcoming self-doubt

Girls building

There are so many moments to capture to define the true essence of why we do what we do with young girls. Taking girls outside of their comfort zones helps to shatter the lens of limitation and leaves girls asking “Hey, I wonder what else I can do?!” We are proud of the work we do with girls and so very proud of each and every one of our young builders.

The Main Idea is a unique 10-day, residential summer camp program in Denmark, Maine, which provides economically disadvantaged girls with a life-changing camp experience. The program provides girls ages 8-14 with a close-knit, family-oriented camp environment that allows each the chance to develop her personality, increase her self-confidence, and acquire new skills. Activities range from belaying on the ropes course, to team problem solving, to conflict resolution. Girls at Work, Inc. is fortunate to partner with wonderful organizations such as The Main Idea.

We went to Maine recently to build with several different groups of girls from New York, Boston, and many other areas. One block of time was spent building garden benches with a leadership group of girls, a favorite build this summer. Another was spent building a picnic table with another leadership group. On the last day of our time together we spent a full day with our leadership builders teaching our new younger first-time builders. It was wonderful to watch the leaders step into their roles and help the younger girls.

It is always exciting to watch the girls quickly pick up on how to upgrade paper on the electric palm sanders, change out drill bits and speed on a cordless drill, and conquer their fear of using a powerful saw. Watching as they support each other with guidance, and literally an extra hand, is an added bonus. We provide enough instruction with each tool to keep all of our builders safe, but leave out many steps to encourage critical thinking. We also provide challenges that can only be overcome with the help of a teammate. There are so many lessons our builders learn along the way, both about themselves and about the importance of teamwork.

We overheard one of our little builders say “Oh, I am so bad at building” as she started working with us last week. I felt the need to address this in the moment. I asked this little builder if she had ever built before. She quickly responded that she had not, so I asked what her statement was based upon. She really had no idea. At the end of our time together, I ask our young builders what they had learned about themselves while building. This builder who at the beginning said she was bad at building now said she was really unfair to herself and that she needed to be proud of herself for trying new things. She also said she believed what she told herself and needed to send more positive messages to herself. Many other builders chimed in and said how much they loved building. We often ask them to dig deeper and think about what it is they love about building. “How strong and smart I am” was what we heard more often than not.

One night at dinner we sat with a little camper that was quite homesick. The next day we met her Girl buildersin our workshop. She was hesitant to try her hand at building. When she saw everyone else jump in, she decided to step up. Halfway through our time together, one of our builders said “I can’t believe how much I love to build.” Our little homesick camper quickly shouted “Can you add me to that?”

The icing on the cake is the “bragging moments.” As different groups of builders head off to different activities, we watch as they stand a bit taller than they did before building. But the real proof is how many rush back to the shop area with friends before the lunch or dinner bells. Some day we hope to have a video camera on hand to record the comments that range from “Dude, I totally used all those real tools to build this,” to “Seriously, they let you use all that stuff, it’s not just for men?”

Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

The power of Power Parties

There are conflicting arguments about the use of power tools by young girls. Unfortunately,  more often than not, the society we live in — influenced by toy manufacturers, media, Disney, and more —  is quick to define our young girls as “princesses” (fragile), while little boys are portrayed as “rough and tumble” (strong). There are few messages and/or experiences that encourage our little girls to tap into their strength, courage and power: Is it really any wonder that we continue to see the imbalance between genders? That imbalance is promoted from a very early age and the messages/experiences that little girls get are the building blocks for a foundation upon which our little girls build their lives.

We’re certainly not against princesses, but a balance is essential. Recently, we posted a photo of a little girl, wearing a tutu and a Darth Vader mask, on our Girls at Work, Inc. Facebook page. It portrayed strength plus style — and most likely some sweet dance moves. What a powerful combination. Is that not the balance that we want to give to our girls?

We, at Girls at Work, Inc., are about providing an experience that enables girls to tap into their inner power. We build with girls as young as 6, which is old enough to focus with instruction and young enough to perhaps have the experience help shape her mindset. We offer “Power Parties” for birthdays, so that little girls have the opportunity to not only celebrate a very important day in their lives, but celebrate that power that is inside of all of them. As a matter of fact, some of our builders even wear tutus!

“Teaching our daughters that ‘girls can do anything’ is one of the greatest lessons we can offer.”

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what mom Mary Johanna Brown had to say: “Thanks to Girls at Work, my daughter Haley’s 9th birthday was a great success! To watch her and her friends swinging a hammer, holding a power drill and sanding their creations was not only a gift for all of them, but an honor for me.

“Teaching our daughters that ‘girls can do anything’ is one of the greatest lessons we can offer. Elaine teaches in a no-nonsense hands-on manner that thoughtfully engages all participants. Thanks Elaine and Girls at Work for all the great work you do!”

Is there a young girl in your life who will celebrate a birthday soon? Before you decide to go down the princess path, consider a Power Party. We can travel to you and your birthday girl, or she and up to 14 of her friends can head to our shop. The girls will spend a couple of hours building a small shaker peg board that will be a tangible reminder of how capable and powerful they are. Then there will be much chatter about how excited they are to find out what else they are capable of!

Then, when the building is complete, the birthday girls and her buddies can eat all the princess cake they like — tutus not required!

Girls at Work, Inc. logo

Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!

Professionals step out of their comfort zones

Group build

Many companies look for ways to get their staff out of the office setting for exercises that challenge them to discover who they are as individuals as well as team members. Our corporate build program does just that. We can take our equipment to a business of the business can come to us to build in our workshop.

The Corporate Build Program is designed to help professionals step out of their comfort zones and rely on each other to complete a build. The majority of our participants have never used power Group buildtools, let alone built anything, so we have participants discuss how they feel at the beginning of the program. Many say they have feelings of frustration, failure, uncertainty and inadequacy. It is important for all of our participants to connect with these feelings, because while it is a passing moment for them, for many of the girls we build with, it is all they know.

Our initial goal for Girls at Work, Inc. was simply to empower girls through building. This mission has grown into a “larger than life” mission as it deeply reaches through to girls who have known nothing but failure. They are so defined by that failure that it takes extreme measures to shatter that mindset for even just a moment.

We provide an enormous amount of information and demonstration to teach our girls how to safely use power tools. We then provide a sample project with very little direction for assembling all of the pieces that they have cut, sanded and pre-drilled. This enables them to think critically and dig deep to prove to themselves that they are both capable and powerful!

At the end of our corporate build we asked participants to connect with their feelings once again. Words shift to “powerful,” “skilled,” “awesome,” and “so capable.” We then asked them to think about how this shift in mindset can help a young girl to —some for the very first time — feel powerful and smart.

The picnic tables built in the program are often donated to an area non-profit. We also apply all the revenue generated from our Corporate Build Program to our non-profit partnerships, which enables us to empower many more girls.

So if you are looking for an awesome, outside-of-the-box experience for your staff, here are a few reasons to consider a corporate build:

  1. Learning how to safely use power tools is empowering;
  2. Working with coworkers in a very unfamiliar environment provides challenges that inspire trust;
  3. A spark to help get you fired up to tackle projects around the house;
  4. Donating to a non-profit is a win for everyone;
  5. You are investing in your staff and young girls at risk.
Girls at Work, Inc. logo
Girls at Work, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers our services to organizations that work with girls from group homes, low-income families, with incarcerated parents or parents in rehab. (While our focus is at-risk girls we don’t turn anyone away.)  We also work to build partnerships with youth organizations that focus on girls at risk. We rely on funding and sponsorships to help subsidize the cost of our program. Please consider donating to our cause!