Put the focus on women to advance United States


Do you have a young girl in your life? Is she looking forward to starting a new school year next month?

As we shop for school supplies and buy new clothes and shoes, let’s commit to a gift that will show every girl in Jackson County that she is valued, respected and capable of achieving. This school season, let’s make a difference — finding time, sharing our knowledge, and giving back — to benefit girls and our community.

Today, girls continue to face enormous challenges in our country and in our own community.

Indeed, in the United States, one in four girls does not graduate high school. Three in 10 will become pregnant by the age of 20. Women continue to be under-represented in fields such as business, science, and technology. Many still get the message that their looks are more important than their brains.

In Jackson County our graduation rate is much better than the national average, but what our girls need are positive spaces and people to open their eyes to new possibilities, to help them take that first step to seeing college as a reality or consider a career as an engineer or CEO.

They need to be told that they have the right to resist stereotypes, be safe, and prepare to be economically independent.

We have all heard about the ripple of positive change that flows through families, schools, and communities as girls are educated, healthy, and thriving. Imagine how much more our community would prosper if we were fueling the fire of all young women to defy every negative expectation and obstacle?

So what can you do? As a business owner, you can open your doors to share your unique career path. As a professional, you can lend your expertise pro-bono to an organization making a difference.

As a community leader, you can make girls’ issues and access to educational programs and mentors a priority.

As an individual, you can take the time to listen to a girl in your life, ask about her goals and worries, and help her understand her true value. You can support organizations such as Girls Inc of Jackson County by contributing to the Jackson County United Way. Your donation supports Girls Inc. as well as 19 other local agencies.

The money that Jackson County United Way invests in Girls Inc. allows us to serve girls all over the county regardless of what school they attend, how much money their parents make, what language they speak or what color of skin they have.

The United Way’s support keeps Girls Inc. fees much lower than what it actually costs for all of the programs and services Girls Inc. offers. Without the United Way, only the wealthy girls would be able to attend daily classes after school and during the summer.

With the support of the United Way and this community, the girls of Jackson County are ready to stand up on their own two feet, to seize every opportunity, to succeed in school and then to also give back. The girls of Jackson County will thank you with their strength, achievements and positive change for us all.

The value for all of us is priceless.

Brenda Tracy is executive director of Girls Inc. of Jackson County. She may be contacted at 812-522-2798 or [email protected].

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