According to a report released by Girls Inc., a study done by the American Institutes for Research found that girls who participate in the organization have a significant advantage over their peers who do not receive the same supports offered by Girls Inc.
The report, “Stronger, Smarter, Bolder: Girls Take the Lead” looked at multiple factors for girls, including physical activity, mental health, substance use, teen pregnancy, educational achievement, STEM experiences, graduation rates, juvenile justice, healthy relationships and leadership opportunities.
The local Girls Inc. in Shelbyville is hoping that the report inspires local children to join the organization.
“At Girls Inc. of Shelbyville & Shelby County we have witnessed the findings in this study play out before us daily,” said Amy Dillon, President & CEO of Girls Inc.’s Shelbyville & Shelby county affiliate in a press release. “We have seen the girls we serve excel in the classroom, develop strong and healthy relationships, develop wonderful self-confidence and become leaders.”
Among the highlights in the report, Girls Inc. saw a 7 percent increase among high school girls nationally who participated in a team sport from 2017 to 2019, up to 56 percent. Less than half of all high school females participate.
The report also found that females who attended Girls Inc. were less likely to use substances such as alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Students who go to Girls Inc. also have better attendance rates and are more likely to be engaged in the classroom, according to the report.
The research we have been provided just solidifies what we have known to be true of our work. We know that empowering girls changes lives, strengthens communities and improves society, and we are honored to make a difference in the lives of the girls we serve.”
The study done by AIR was completed in two years and was intended to find what kind of impact Girls Inc. has on its students’ lives. It compared members of the organization to non-participating girls, who self-reported their experiences, skills and attitudes, as well as objective measures from an academic view.
“The research shows us that Girls Inc. is making progress on some of the toughest issues girls face – but all of us working in this field still have room to improve, especially in our work with girls of color, LBGTQ+ girls, and low-income girls,” said Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., President & CEO of Girls Inc. in the press release. “All girls deserve equity of access to wellbeing and opportunity, and we have to see the whole girl, in her context and community. That’s what Girls Inc. has always done, and we believe that’s a key to the success we’ve achieved.”