Ruth Tumasang joined Girls Inc. of Tarrant County during her junior year of high school when she found out about it through her cousin.
Her cousin told her it would be cool for her to join and grow through Girls Inc., and Tumasang is grateful she listened.
Girls Inc. of Tarrant County will celebrate local girls advancing their education through its College Shower program at 6-8 p.m. July 21 in The Woman’s Club of Fort Worth.
“So, just like everyone else in Girls Inc., I’m excited, my friends are excited about it and I feel like Girls Inc. has done a lot for me and my friends,” Tumasang said. “I feel like it’s a very good place for everyone to actually grow in a very protected environment, and it encourages us to do more, beyond high school and beyond what we thought we could like achieve.”
In the 10 years of Girls Inc.’s College Shower, the program has grown from serving one girl to more than 600. This year, it will celebrate 53 girls.
“Ten years is pretty incredible. Almost 700 girls have been served by our community,” Jennifer Limas, president and CEO of Girls Inc. Tarrant County said. “During that time, we made sure that they have the tools that they need to succeed in college and in their careers of course.”
The celebration is an event that will congratulate the girls for all they’ve done.
“There’s the big reveal where the room is lined with gifts and packaged beautifully,” Donna James- Harvey, liaison for the Fund to Advance Racial Equity at North Texas Community Foundation, said. “The sponsors are there to support and share excitement of everything that the girls are going to receive.”
Girls in the college shower are preparing for college or straight into the workforce.
One year, Girls Inc. of Tarrant County had the National Association of Women in Construction support one of their girls to be a welder. She was given equipment and supplies needed to help her complete certification and begin her career.
“So some of our girls are going into their careers, and we want to make sure that they have the tools and the mentorship that they need to succeed and to fall back on when they hit those obstacles that they may not know how to navigate,” Limas said.
“I’ll be studying education to become a teacher. I do still plan to be a part of Girls Inc. because it’s just a really good organization,” Avalos said. “It empowers girl empowerment and woman empowerment.”
The college shower also is an opportunity for the girls to receive essentials that a student who will attend college such as bedding, school supplies and refrigerators.
For girls who will continue to stay in the area for college, they are provided with gas and meal cards.
Girls Inc. of Tarrant County has two distinct sponsorships: Companies support college and career programs through monetary donations; and sponsors of the college shower provide scholarships or needed supplies.
The girls participating in the college shower have participated in programs throughout the year. Many of them have been a part of Girls Inc. since kindergarten.
Programs are held within schools in the area and fall under different categories, health and wellness, economic literacy, media literacy, Operation Smart, Eureka!, and Girl Power/Taking Care of Business, Friendly PEERsuasion, Girls Beyond Bullying, college and career readiness, and STEM programs.
They are community-based programs that partner with local school districts so many of the programs are facilitated during the school day, after school programs, or at libraries and churches.
“Partnering with schools is a big part of what we do, not only for how we reach girls but also working with them to identify what are their greatest needs on campuses,” Limas said.
Girls Inc. strives to see the gaps on campuses post-COVID-19, what it can do to support the girls for their mental wellness and the tools to get to the finish line for high school graduation.
“Girls Inc. focuses on the whole girl and so all of those separate programs really combine together and support girls in being them whole selves,” Limas said. “Showing up not only to be their best selves but to support their community, and their schools and grow up to be economically independent, healthy both mentally and physically women.”
Tumasang felt it prepared her for college as she plans to attend Tarrant County College to study nursing.
“I feel like everyone needs to get appreciated for graduating high school and feel like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t just end in high school.’ Each of us have our own pathways,” Tumasang said. “I feel like each of us have to be recognized for what path we choose.
Fort Worth Report fellow Lonyae Coulter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.