PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Girls Inc. in Bay County has been serving young girls for around 47 years now.
Their mission—-simple. “Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.” Many of their members vouch for the non-profit organization saying they do that.. and more.
“I’ve been here for a long time and I feel that they have instilled in me a sense of responsibility for myself and the ability to take on new leadership roles that I wouldn’t have had without them,” said Mosley Junior, Calista Pantoja.
“It actually helps me with some things I want to get off my chest, not really get off my chest but if I have bad days they help me not be so stressed,” said 6th grader, Blue Gavin.
Girls inc serves girls from the ages of 6-18.
From after school programs to summer camps– their vision is to empower girls to succeed and prepare them with the skills they need for adulthood.
“I learned that to do better and they help us with a lot of stuff. Like if I’m having a bad morning, we do these breathing exercises that really really help me,” said 6th grader, Raven Barnes.
“They have just allowed me to feel like I can just be a better version of myself,” said Pantoja.
“I like how they talk to us girls and help us if someones trying to pressure us or something we tell them to back off and tell a grown-up,” said Barnes.
They are always looking for volunteers to help mentor these young girls.
Whether it be helping with homework, mentoring talks or going over reading with them… There are always opportunities to help.
“I’ve always felt like girls inc programs have done just what they intended- to make girls strong, smart and bold and to make them feel like they can be better than they currently are,” said Pantoja.
“Everybody’s situation is different, and their home lives are different and my home life is different. And to come into girls inc and you don’t feel judged, you don’t feel like you’re not good enough, but you’re in this area with all these other girls who are coming from the same place and growing the same way, so it’s just a really good reminder,” said Teen Coordinator, Ashley Gray.
“They do help and they do allow girls to feel better and make sure they can go farther in the future,” said Pantoja.
“I wanted to do better. I was hanging around with the wrong people and I just wanted to do better, and they really helped me do that,” said Barnes.
“Especially after the hurricane, girls need a place where they can be free and be themselves and I feel like girls inc just gives them that,” said Pantoja.