NASHUA, NH (January 11, 2017) – Girls Inc. of New Hampshire has received $70,000 to further serve girls at increased risk of juvenile delinquency and victimization. The funds are part of a $2 million, two-year grant awarded to the Girls Inc. national office from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Part of the OJJDP’s Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, the grant funds support organizations as they strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities.
Funds will support Bold Futures, a weekly group mentoring program providing girls consistent, in-depth programming and experiences to strengthen their coping skills, reduce risk factors, minimize entry/re-entry into the juvenile justice system, and increase family engagement. Girls Inc. of New Hampshire was selected as one of 15 local organizations to implement the mentoring program. Over the two-year period, the Girls Inc. network will serve approximately 1,800 girls ages 9 to 14.
Bold Futures supports the well-established history of Girls Inc. providing long-lasting, trusting mentoring relationships to help girls navigate gender, economic, and social barriers. Girls in high-risk communities face stunning exposure to violence, victimization, and sexual assault. Without adequate support, victims too often become offenders — girls responding to trauma and environmental violence with behaviors that result in their involvement in the juvenile justice system.
According to Cathy Duffy Cullity, CEO, “Girls who have graduated from our programs repeatedly tell us that the adult volunteers and teachers who greeted them each day are the reason they are successful today. We know that mentoring is the single most important factor in preventing risky behaviors in youth. This grant will significantly expand our capacity to reach the girls who need us the most.”
Increased services and funding comes at a critical time. While overall rates of juvenile arrest and detention have decreased since the 1990s, girls have not shown the same improvements as boys. In 1992, one in five juveniles arrested was a girl (20 percent); in 2012, that rate grew to one in three (29 percent). At all stages of the juvenile justice process, girl involvement has increased and disproportionately so for girls of color from low-income communities.
Through Bold Futures, Girls Inc. aims to equip girls with the guidance, support and skills to be engaged in school, build healthy relationships with peers and family, and reduce negative and high-risk behaviors. The desired outcome is to reduce the number of girls entering the juvenile justice system and ensure that girls who have experienced trauma get the services they need to heal and succeed.
Bold Futures will become a model program implemented across the larger, 82-affiliate Girls Inc. network and will be shared with other organizations in multiple states to strengthen juvenile justice prevention efforts nationwide.
About Girls Inc.
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Our comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. These positive outcomes are achieved through three core elements: people – trained staff and volunteers who build lasting, mentoring relationships; environment – girls-only, physically and emotionally safe, where there is a sisterhood of support, high expectations, and mutual respect; and programming – research-based, hands-on and minds-on, age-appropriate, meeting the needs of today’s girls. Informed by girls and their families, we also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls. Join us at girlsincnewhampshire.org