So much goes into empowering girls. For starters, it’s words of encouragement, messages of aspiration, access to role models, receiving the resources needed to overcome challenges.

It hardly ends there.

Girls Inc. of Tarrant County realizes that empowering young women is more than just some magic formula. Instilling confidence and belief is a process. Putting the right people in place, creating a nurturing environment of growth and providing programming that creates positive change is at the heart of Girls Inc.

Those objectives take center stage in the Girls Inc. summer program within Read Fort Worth’s Summer Scholars Collaborative. Over the break in the school year, 12 programs operating at more than 60 sites around the city are reaching more than 3,000 kids. Every program is rooted with a purposeful literacy component designed to help prevent “summer slide,” the loss of literacy levels over the summer.

IMG 0207“Girls Inc.’s mission is to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold,” said Kanei Fennell, Program Director of Girls Inc. of Tarrant County. “During the summer we hope to help the kids develop a strong foundation of reading and writing skills.”

The program enrolled 33 students, running from June 10 to Aug. 2. A typical day for the energetic group involves specific lessons and activities that are planned in advance. Snacks are included and the students receive individual attention, forming bonds with the staff in an effort to better understand their needs.

The reading component features a new book picked out each Monday, with activities for the rest of the weeks centered around that selection. Students also do silent reading before group work, along with the always popular “popcorn reading.”

Bridging the reading and comprehension gap from the end of the school year to the start of the next is critical.

“That the children will be able to strengthen their reading skills and retain new vocabulary words during the summer to help prepare for school in the fall,” Fennell said. “We want to prevent summer slide and have the students involved in learning all summer long.”

Girls Inc. also offers a number of targeted programs throughout the year for girls ages 5-18, including STEM, Literacy Initiative, Economic Literacy, Media Literacy, College and Career Readiness, and more. These programs are offered at different schools, libraries and recreation centers throughout the area.

To sign up for any of these programs, students need to be a part of the Fort Worth ISD or at a school where its offered. For programs at libraries and recreation centers, enrollment is available through the Girls Inc. website or at the program location.

The community is also invited to get involved.

“Girls Inc. provides different programs to keep our girls involved in learning and help build and promote a brighter future for them through mentorship,” Fennell said. “The community can assist by volunteering, and donating to the agency to give back to our programs to help the girls we serve.”

For more info on Girls Inc. and the its programs, visit

Article by Art Garcia