Category Archives: Features

News from Girls At Work, Inc.

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.

GAW Volunteer Maris Wofsy Knew What She Wanted to do When She Retired

“The change in the girls over time and to hear the stories of girls who have gone through the program is really remarkable to see.”

Maris Wofsy attended a fundraiser for Girls at Work three years ago and thought “when I retire, I am going to get involved with that group.” She really cares about the mission of the organization and made it her first priority to get involved when she eventually did retire. She has been a volunteer instructor for the Women’s Build classes, has helped with the summer camp program and most recently taught a Birthday build for 8-10 year old girls.

Maris has stayed involved with Girls at Work for over a year and a half and explains the impact that these classes have on girls and women. She says that often there are women who come to classes and are skeptical about their abilities to use power tools. One time she had a woman who came to a class and said that she had a basement full of power tools and didn’t have the courage to learn how to use them. After taking the class that Maris taught she said she felt confident and said she would now be able to use her tools at home and was excited to build more. Maris reflects on her experience as an instructor, “Women learn confidence, safety and how to work in a logical progressional…after two hours of building you can see them pumped up [about what they built].”

Maris has gained an awareness of the impact that this program has had on the girls in the Manchester area, “seeing the change in the girls over time is really great and the stories of girls who have gone through the program and where it has taken them is really remarkable.” Volunteering with Girls at Work has been a fulfilling experience for Maris and she has gained confidence as an instructor because so many women are looking to her and believing in her ability as a teacher.
“You get so much back…It’s a blast and anybody can get involved.”

Meet Pam Decker GAW Volunteer

“The knowledge and insight to see how other people evolve from the program and myself evolving from the program is monumental”

PamDecker-Volunteer

Pam and her wife were encouraged to get involved with the program by a close friend who said that Girls at Work was made for them. She started out helping before the series of women’s classes were established and was one of the first instructors to come on board. Pam enjoys volunteering with Girls at Work because she really appreciates that the Women’s build program directly contributes to the success of the youth program. She also loves to see the look in peoples faces at the end of a class as they leave feeling accomplished and proud.

Pam grew up around power tools and has always been quite vocal in questioning the status quo and stereotypes of women. Girls at Work has opened Pam’s eyes because not all women have had similar experiences with power tools and some have “expectations that these tools aren’t made for them.” She goes on to say that “society in general has made women passive and now there is a shift that says it’s okay to be powerful and to have your own voice,” and that is what Girls at Work is all about.

Pam encourages women to let go of striving for absolute perfection. “When any woman comes here to build she is learning how to become confident and self-sufficient, if they are quick to point out all the flaws in their work they are devaluing their accomplishments and we strive to find beauty in the process and finished product of every build.”

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Girls at Work, Pam says, “do it! No matter what your skill level is, if you want to commit, definitely take the steps to get involved – don’t wait, there is no reason to not get involved now.”

Volunteer Celebration Continues with Mary Crawford

“I have gained knowing some great people and being able to do things that I love. I love working in the shop and I could do this everyday”

Mary Crawford
Mary Crawford has always enjoyed working with power tools and was doing some handy work with a partner for a few years until he was no longer able to work. She was getting bored and was looking for something to do when a friend told her about Girls at Work and said it was right up her alley. She stopped by to meet Elaine and watched her teach a class. Mary ended up staying to help with one of the Women’s Build classes that same day.

Mary is not only a women’s instructor for Girls at Work. She has put in many hours helping to maintain their space by cleaning, organizing, painting, building, etc. as well as participating in events such as DIVA. “I enjoyed working on DIVA night, Mel and I ran one of the rooms and it was really rewarding to see all that we accomplished.” Mary has continued to stay involved because she thinks it is a good cause to support.

Mary encourages people who are interested in getting involved with Girls at Work to go for it. “You will meet really great people and you’ll enjoy working with the girls. I have really enjoyed teaching the Women’s Classes and watching women who have never used power tools finish a project and seeing how proud they are.”

Celebrating GAW Volunteers | Kelly Boyer

“It’s fun for me because I get to talk about tools in a way that I don’t in my own home – And the component of people is the most important piece for me. I love that we get to help women feel strong.”

Kelly Boyer-Volunteer

Kelly grew up using power tools and as a result has gained confidence and strength to tackle challenges throughout her life as well as seek opportunities. Recently, she was elected as one of the youngest Goffstown Select(wo)men and is passionate about helping women find their inner power. She has always been actively engaged in the community and served two years in Americorps programs prior to becoming involved with Girls at Work. She heard about the organization from a good friend who said it would be a perfect fit for Kelly and her wife. Since Kelly has started volunteering with Girls at Work she has been essential in growing the Women’s Build program. She has helped spearhead the introduction of a series of Women’s Build classes that began this past January and is the Lead Instructor for the program.

Kelly didn’t realize the impact that she was going to have on women through teaching. She says, “I can help other women find that power that society tells them they shouldn’t have.” Kelly acknowledges that the classes at Girls at Work are not “normal” because the opportunities for women and girls to build are rare. She reflects on a really cool experience when teaching and someone came up to her after class and said, “I was absolutely terrified of power tools and now i’m not.” Kelly talks about how being apart of Girls at Work is “a good reminder that everyone has different life experiences and approaches things in different ways.”

Kelly offers a bit of advice for those interested in getting involved with Girls at Work. “It’s not about the tools. It’s about the process of using critical thinking skills and what happens internally. You have to do this, this is not a normal experience that women get to have. There is a place for everyone at girls at work and there is no limit to who can be involved.”

GAW Celebrates our Volunteers | Christine Keenan

ChristineKeenan-VolunteerChristine Keenan first heard about Girls at Work when Elaine Hamel (founder and program manager) posted about a women’s build back in November 2014. Christine signed up for the class and learned how to build a garden bench. She took that bench home and danced around it because of how proud she was to have accomplished something she didn’t know she could do. She learned about the mission of Girls at Work and how they support at risk girls and jumped at the idea of getting involved. Over the next couple of years she volunteered helping with classes, building signs, and attended New Hampshire Construction Career days to attract women to the organization.

When prompted about her continued involvement with GAW she said, “How could I possibly say no, when you know it just takes a bit of time to help and have a positive impact on a young girl? I have had similar experiences growing up as some of these girls and I know the importance of how this program helps them.” Christine can see the difference that the organization has on these young girls. She says, “It gives these girls a new way of looking at their world in a positive way because they are put in a position to see positive role models and then they can imagine opportunities for themselves.”

Christine values so many memories and experiences with her time at GAW. She really values the connections that she has made with people from various backgrounds and hearing their stories as well as the mission of the organization. In her time volunteering in the workshop she really enjoys “seeing how it has unfolded and seeing the difference between the first two hours and then watching the girls as they walk out a little bit taller.” Above all Christine loves sharing the moments with girls and women when they accomplish their project because she can see their faces light up with pride.

Christine has personally benefited from the programs values throughout her time at GAW. “I’ve gained confidence to build other things and pursue other personal goals that I put on the back burner, such as doing art. Now I have secured a spot featuring my art at Oglethorpe Fine Arts & Crafts in collaboration with Artisans by the Bay in Meredith starting in May.” She is thankful for all the wonderful people she has met through the organization as well. You might meet this amazing volunteer when you take a Women’s Power Build class coming up this year.

For anyone who is interested in volunteering with GAW Christine offers her advice. “Stop thinking about it and just do it! You have nothing to lose and you will gain much more than you would have ever imagined by being apart of it.”

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

Chatting with Gina Dobson of Sunrise Girl – Inspiring Clothing for Girls

gina-dobson-sunrise-girl

During the first 2 weeks of November, $3 of every Sunrise Girl shirt sale will benefit Girls at Work, Inc. Click here to see the designs!

Gina Dobson launched Sunrise Girl in December of 2014. I spoke with her recently about what prompted her to start this new venture and what she hopes to achieve.

S: How did you first get involved in creating Sunrise Girl?

G: I have two daughters and I was feeling frustrated about the messages in the clothing for young girls that I saw. A lot of the common themes seemed to be peace, love, cupcakes, butterflies and the need to sparkle! There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but it didn’t match my girls. And I think there’s a lot more to being a girl than those things. I couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any clothes highlighting the other things girls like to do.

S: For your girls, what types of things were you looking for?

G: One thing was sports clothing that matched and supported their interests. My daughters are 8 and 6 and my older daughter played basketball at the time. There weren’t many girls in her league and I remember dropping her off at practice one day and hearing her say she wished she had a basketball shirt to wear. I went home and did a quick search and couldn’t find anything. In kids clothing stores, it was rare to see a sports-themed shirt for girls and if there was one, it was always “cutesified.” Again, it didn’t match how I saw my girls, and other girls, play sports.

S: Tell me about the girls you feature on your shirts.

G: The inspiration from the shirts come from real girls. The Love Bugs design is my younger daughter. I have mined my friends with daughters and they have been kind enough to let me feature their girls on the shirts. I start by asking the girls what they’d like to see on the shirt and I work with a designer out in California. I give her my vision and she comes up with the drawing, then I take that drawing back to the parents and the kids until we come up with something that everybody really likes.

S: What do you hope these shirts will do for other girls?

G: I really just want to send confident messages to girls.

It’s so meaningful to get it right. I recently got an email from a woman who thought it was so perfect for her daughter that she cried.

For me, Sunrise Girl is a labor of love. It’s about creating something I passionately hope will benefit young girls.

There was a time when my youngest daughter hated being different from others. She hated that she was the only one in our family with blue eyes. (My husband, myself, and my other daughter have brown eyes.) She even hated it when she wanted pepperoni on her pizza and everyone else wanted cheese! She didn’t like standing out or being different from others in any way. I think it made her feel alone. But now, she embraces it! And she got there through understanding the messages I’m trying to send through my shirts. She wears my Different is Good shirt with pride, and I’ve heard her use the phrase when she needs to remind herself that doing something differently than others is okay.

The fact that she absorbed this message by watching, participating, and understanding what Sunrise Girl is about, is a huge source of pride for me.  I hope to do the same for other girls.  What makes a Sunrise Girl shirt different from others is that our shirt designs will always:

  • • depict girls as competent, capable, strong and intelligent
    • feature girls actively engaging in a wide range of activities
    • show girls with realistic and age-appropriate bodies
    • feature girls of all ethnicities and abilities
    • send a positive message

S: What has helped you get your brand out there?

G: The biggest boost for my business is the connection I’ve made with other similar business owners. I started introducing myself to a few of these businesses that were approaching the same issue, and I was invited to join them in a campaign we’ve called “Clothes Without Limits.

It’s been phenomenal as someone who is new in this industry. I’m learning a lot from the women who have been doing this for many years. They’re great mentors and it’s very uplifting. Through this campaign we’ve gotten some great press and my business has gotten the publicity it needed. Cooperating with other businesses instead of competing has worked the best for me.

Sunrise Girl

Our Exciting Partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

SNHU LogoGirls at Work, Inc. is thrilled to announce Southern New Hampshire University as our newest partner. This spring we were lucky enough to work with two different SNHU marketing classes. Our website was designed by their advanced web design class, and we worked with a social media class as they created a complete social media plan for our organization.

Our communication with the university continues and now there is even more happening between Girls at Work, Inc. and SNHU. There are three professors who are excited to get their students involved with our organization.

We are excited to have SNHU students helping us as interns in our mission. They’ll be getting involved in our after school program and grant research, as well as the planning process for our events. This is a great opportunity for the students to learn about the non-profit world, and a great opportunity for us to have energetic individuals helping with our mission.