Through its Break The Cycle endowment, the Giving Circle of HOPE (GCH) periodically offers grant funding to local nonprofit organizations with programs that support girls to develop positive self-esteem and a healthy attitude about their bodies. The GCH established the endowment in 2006 through the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia. Awards are made every two to three years. Including the two this August, a total of seven awards have been made. Previous recipients are: Girls on the Run at the Weems Elementary School in Manassas, Facets, and the Alexandria Campaign Against Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP).
On August 20, 2016, the Giving Circle of HOPE’s Guiding Circle members Sheila Morris, Jean Wyman, Lydia Patrick and Danielle Blunt Craddock, the Founder/Director of GIRL, gathered to celebrate the grant award.
The $1,500 grant is for its Pathways to Careers Program, which will introduce high school girls to smart decision-making for the future through career exploration. The program will include Saturday workshops with college student mentors who can share their experiences of studying for a career and with women from diverse career fields who can share their journeys to a successful career. It will also include a field trip to a job site and job shadowing opportunities for the girls. In addition, participants will attend GIRL’s annual career conference where middle and high school girls learn about exciting careers of the 21st century as they meet women working in a variety of career fields and attend interactive workshops.
My hope is to obtain as much experience and exposure now, while I am in high school, to be able to narrow down some of my uncertainties in which course of study I should pursue. Instead of wasting time and money in figuring out which major I should pursue, I feel that this career program will help me figure that uncertainty out. I hope to plan a career track that will introduce me to fields of entrepreneurship, leadership, business, and social media that will give me the opportunity to determine a major in Business Management and Communication. ~ participant in GIRL.
On August 27, the Giving Circle of HOPE’s Guiding Circle members Sheila Morris and Lydia Patrick joined Linda Odell, Founder/Executive Director of SOHO and SOHO participants and their mentors during a nature program event at Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County.
The $1,500 grant to SOHO will fund a new program which promotes practical skills through carpentry and interior design, technology, and architecture, as well as career aspiration and success in school. The girls create a personal space at home that conveys a sense of value and worth, plus a lasting reminder of the circle of support and care that they have received.
Linda Odell reflected on what a participant once told her. Being in SOHO was the best year of my life and finishing my space was the best day of my life.
In talking with two of the girls ages 11 and 12, they said of their SOHO experience I like meeting my mentor, doing carpentry, seeing all the Christmas trees in the White House, bowling, and building a bird house with my family. Both had suggestions for improvements too. I would like more space in the classroom and to go on more trips to see art.
Volunteers are needed by SOHO to be mentors. Now is the time to step up with the new school year starting. Please see their website for details and to sign-up.
The Break the Cycle endowment has funded seven grants in ten years, empowered dozens of girls living in our community, and offered service opportunities to members of the Giving Circle of HOPE. It’s a win-win for everybody.