Save the Date

 Save the Date

Thursday, April 23, 2015
26th Annual Dinner & Auction

              Honorary Chair, Betty J. Apkarian

This year’s Annual Dinner & Auction takes place April 23, 2015 at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia with Honorary Chair, Betty Apkarian. Betty, a strong supporter of Girls Inc. for decades, led the Project Rebuild Committee from 1984-85. We will honor Betty and all those who stood with her as members of the Project Rebuild Committee. Additionally, our girls will add a special surprise to the evening’s festivities.

Girls Inc. Celebrates National Mentoring Month

Puzzle Hunt Girls Inc-Mentoring

Gili Rusak (far right), a senior at Shaker High School in Latham, NY, brings her passion for STEM to Girls Inc. periodically throughout the year.  She has helped middle- and early-high school girls learn the basics of computer coding, challenged their knowledge with a math puzzle hunt, and most recently was a workshop leader and keynote speaker for our annual Girls’ Summit. Here, Gili is helping Eureka! girls check their work on the math puzzle. Peer mentors like Gili make a difference in the lives of the girls we serve. She helps them see that they can do amazing things in STEM now, without having to wait until they are in college or working.

2015 Spring Programs

More local girls, and parents, discovered Girls Inc. last year
In Operation SMART (Science, Math, And Relevant Technology), girls learn about health care careers and perform surgery on “Zelda,” a girl-sized stuffed doll with several fabric flaps that reveal internal organs. 

Girls Inc. continues to grow and once again, Fall after-school participation increased over the previous year. As we look ahead to Spring, many programs will return, including Schenectady’s most popular program, Top Teen Chef, which was first offered last September.

A new program in Schenectady that is sure to be popular

Baking With Chemistry, Albany’s most popular program, is slated to return there along with many others as well as a new addition, Sister to Sister, where our older Girls Inc. members will mentor our youngest girls.

Registration is required; all after-school programs are FREE.
Schenectady spring registration: Tuesday, January 13, noon to 7pm.
Albany spring registration: Wednesday, January 14, noon to 7pm.
For questions, call (518) 374-9800.

2014 Recap

Looking back on 2014 events and toward those planned for 2015
We were thrilled to have welcomed Jane and Neil Golub as Honorary Chairs for the sold-out 25th Annual Dinner & Auction held last April at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia.  Board Chairs of the previous 25 years were given special honors, and the evening was filled with the announcement of numerous agency successes and achievements, including outstanding growth. Thank you to our sponsors, Honorary Committee members, auction item donors, our auctioneer LeGrande Serras, and all attendees who so generously supported the mission of Girls Inc. to make the silver anniversary of this fundraiser our most successful – ever!
Save the Date:
 April 23, 2015  
26th Annual Dinner & Auction
Local experts in various professions were panelists who answered prepared questions about bullying, its many forms, and how to combat bullying behaviors at a breakfast hosted by Girls Inc. and Schenectady County Human Rights Commission February 20 at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). Robyn King, LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) at SCCC and author of Eating Lunch in the Bathroom: My Story is the first-ever agency ambassador for Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region and helped to advance our inaugural agency focus, which for 2014 was anti-bullying. Robyn was emcee for the event. Panelists were Randy McGough, retired Director of Human Resources for NYS Office of Medicaid Inspector; Shai Butler, first Chief Diversity Officer at College of St. Rose; Tandra LaGrone, Executive Director of In Our Own Voices; Rowie Taylor, Executive Director of YWCA of Northeastern New York; Ebony Belmar, social worker for Schenectady City Schools.
The champagne and light fare Diamonds in the Rough event was held June 19 at Holiday Inn in Colonie and introduced several new supporters to the work of Girls Inc. In addition, Jennifer Campione went home the winner of a .90ct diamond cluster necklace generously donated by Frank Adams Jewelers. Thank you to our lead sponsor, M&T Bank, as well as CDPHP, Berkshire Bank, Homestead Funding, and the Wolf Road Holiday Inn. Next year’s  event, to be held in the Fall, will be exciting and different!
The 2nd annual mission-focused Strong, Smart, and Bold Breakfast, held November 6 also at Colonie Holiday Inn, announced the agency’s focus for 2015: reading and writing literacy. Troy author and event keynote speaker Coleen Paratore (right) was announced as the 2015 focus ambassador. Girls Inc. alumna Hemavattie Ramtahal was inspiring with her address of how Girls Inc.’s positive influences helped her overcome an especially challenging childhood. Our sincere thanks to our sponsors: M&T Bank, The Times Union, and CAP COM Federal Credit Union. The 2015 event will unveil our agency’s focus for the following year.
On Giving Tuesday, December 2, Girls Inc. “gave back” to our donors and corporate supporters. Our Celebration of Friends, held at the Albany site, joined guests with current Girls Inc. members for two hands-on activities: extracting DNA from strawberries, and forming personalized items from multiple colors of clay. After being baked to harden, the clay items were returned to each guest to take home.
The year 2014 has been one of successes and challenges. We are so grateful to our many, many friends and supporters for helping local girls fuel their fire so that they may one day change the world!

Onward and Upward – Grants, donations helped Girls Inc. serve more local girls in 2014

Fozia Murphy (second from right) and Yuvette Wayman (not pictured) of GE’s Women’s Network coordinated a collection among members in October and delivered school supplies to Girls Inc. (Above) Girls Inc. members and staff help carry in from the parking lot the abundance of donated supplies. Girls Inc. is greatly appreciative of the many individuals and groups in the Capital Region that chose to support our mission in 2014 with financial and in-kind donations. We are also grateful to the many foundations and corporate partners that awarded grants to help us serve growing numbers of girls.

The Wright Family Foundation/SI Group awarded Girls Inc. $60,000 for the purchase of a replacement van and renovations to the Schenectady center’s garage. Another community partner in Schenectady, Mohawk Honda, assisted with the location, purchase, and delivery of the van, and added to its doors the prominently displayed Girls Inc. logo. 

Schenectady Foundation very generously awarded a $50,000 grant to Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region for capital improvements. From the Ground Up: Inspiring Girls, Strengthening Families is a three-year strategic, prioritized plan to address a number of interior and exterior issues and enable more effective and efficient center operations. 

Carlilian Foundation generously awarded a $15,000 grant to support the initial phase of this capital improvement project. Turner Construction will repair the building entrance and vestibule, and replace and relocate the ADA ramp for safer access by members, families, and the community. 

New York Newspapers Foundation awarded $3,500 for a much-needed new server. This will enhance how information is accessed and used across all programs. For the second consecutive year, Review Foundation awarded a $3,000 grant to implement the media literacy program, Girls Get the Message, where girls study different types of media, slogans and logos, merchandising, target marketing, and stereotypes in media.

Staff Spotlight

Uniquely individual wedding ceremonies

When Director of Program Development and Partnerships, Jessica Rowell, is not working for Girls Inc., she is marrying frequently…as a professional wedding officiant through her business, Carissa Ceremonies. Working closely with every couple, Jessica creates ceremonies that are deeply personalized and uniquely tailored, whether interfaith, non-denominational, or multicultural. Jessica also creates and officiates baptisms, baby naming, vow renewals, new home dedications, commitment ceremonies, and adoption celebration ceremonies.

For years, Jessica worked in the adoption field. She has a special affinity toward families created by adoption and enjoys helping them honor their connections through celebration and ceremony. This work also enables Jessica to honor her own adoption legacy. Even her business name, Carissa Ceremonies, has a special connection. Carissa is the name given to Jessica by her birth mother.