Category Archives: Success Stories

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 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.”

Showing strength

Girls Leadership Camp at Kimball Union Academy, led by the amazing Brooklyn Raney, is one of the wonderful organizations with which we partner in New England.  The program is designed to promote assertive self-expression, teach important life skills, allow girls to practice leadership in a variety of settings, and inspire them to reach their full potential.

This week at GLC we worked with three different groups of girls; each group built a different project. Most of the girls were first-time builders; those who had built with us last year were excited to tap into the skills they had uncovered last summer.

Teaching girls how to use power tools safely and trusting them with power tools gives them an opportunity to live up to that trust. It is so powerful for both teachers and students to see the transformation. Not only do the girls get the opportunity to challenge their own beliefs about what they are capable of, they are also challenged to trust themselves. Our second group of builders was a good example: As they completed constructing the garden benches, they began to cheer and “high five” each other. But they didn’t sit on the benches. When we suggested they sit down on the benches they had just built, it was amazing to see how quickly their self-doubts surfaced. Sure, they learned how to use all those power tools, overcame a lot of fear and shattered some stereotypes in the process, but to sit on something they built? Internally, they were worried: Would the benches actually support some weight?

Then, our first young builder sat on the bench she had built with her partner. She and all of the other builders were so awed to see it support both of them. Their disbelief was shattered when she yelled, “You guys, they’re ‘sitonable.’” That’s a direct quote!

The time we spent watching those girls grow through building was priceless. We tip our (hard) hats to Brooke and all of the other wonderful women out there creating environments for our girls that allow them to tap into their true powerful potential.

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!