‘Tis the Season: Get Involved and Give Back With Girl Power

by Holly Trantham

In this season of giving, I’d like to take the time to talk about that piece of ourselves which is sometimes the hardest to give: our time. It’s no secret that volunteering is a beneficial activity for anyone, both mentally and physically. Not to mention the fact that there are always others who will benefit from you donating some of your time.

I have only recently made volunteering a part of my routine. After graduating college and moving to New York, I was feeling a little lost—I needed to find a way to integrate myself into the city and meet some new people. I now volunteer as a tutor with the Fresh Air Fund and a bookstore volunteer with Housing Works. I seriously cannot say enough good things about both of these organizations. Both are so fun and turns out filling up my schedule (ok, for a grand total of two nights per week) has actually made me more productive in all aspects of my life.
I decided to research some girl-centric volunteer opportunities across the country, because here at BUST we are super into the fabulous feminists of tomorrow. These organizations are focused on advocating for girls’ futures as a way to counteract the lack of encouragement that currently exists. (They also recognize that advocating for girls does NOT equate to being anti-all other young people.) 

Unleashed is a New York City based “social justice program that  helps adolescent girls recognize their power, learn to embrace it, and use it effectively by taking a stand against an injustice they are passionate about, and advocating for animal rights and welfare in the process.” If you are equipped with at least a masters in counseling, social work or psychology—go you, by the way—you can apply to lead a group of awesome middle school-aged girls in animal advocacy. The website lists many other ways to get involved as well.

Girls Inc. provides mentoring programs for girls all across the U.S. and Canada. They have numerous programs in basically any issue you can think of, from economic and media literacy to pregnancy prevention to leadership and community service. Check the website for a chapter near you to find specific volunteer opportunities; they are always looking for a number of helpers in a variety of fields!


Gloria Steinem at a Girls Write Now Gala

Girls Write Now: if you are an experienced writer living in NYC and are looking to inspire the next generation, look no further. Girls Write Now “provides guidance, support, and opportunities for at-risk and underserved girls from New York City’s public high schools to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy school, career, and life choices.” Visit their site to apply to become a one-on-one mentor for a kickass young lady.

Science Club for Girls in Cambridge, Massachusetts seeks to close the achievement gap in STEM education by offering free programs that connect girls K-12 with female scientists and mentors. Their leadership program gives teenage girls “the opportunity to be role models, teach young children science, learn life skills, conduct outreach, and explore careers in science and technology.” Girls are still completely underrepresented in the science and technology community; you can change that by leading a team or mentoring a group of future scientists. 

Black Girls CODE: another great STEM-related program! Black Girls CODE is based in San Francisco but you can find their programs in many cities. Founder Kimberly Bryant hopes to “provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.” While they have some volunteers lead classes on webpage design, you do not have to be a coder to get involved.

Girls on the Run is a national organization (with some chapters in Canada!) and mentoring program for girls grades 3-8 based on—you guessed it—running. They seek to “unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.” Through experienced-based mentoring, girls learn confidence, get to know themselves and take charge of their lives. You can get involved as a coach or a running buddy. Get some exercise while you change the world!

This is by no means a definitive list of amazing girl advocacy programs. GreatNonprofits and VolunteerMatch are excellent resources for finding volunteer opportunities, and if you have any others you’d like to spread the word about, shout them out in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Images courtesy of Science Club for Girls, Girls Inc., Girls Write Now, Girls on the Run, Black Girls CODE and Unleashed

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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