A Place for Girls
From Connie Hill, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama President & CEO
Sometimes a conversation goes somewhere unexpected. When Girls Inc. approached the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD), we had a specific ask. Beginning with Marks Village, we wanted to expand our services to include girls in HABD communities. We would give scholarships to the girls for our after-school enrichment programs. We just needed HABD to create a safe drop-off point for the girls when we brought them home at the end of each day.
HABD went further. They offered a three-bedroom apartment in Marks Village – directly across from their Campus of Hope – as a permanent, satellite Girls’ Inc.! With support from HAT, an empty apartment became the Girls Inc. Empowerment Center. A year later, we are open after school each day, creating a pro-girl/girl only space in the center of the neighborhood.
The Empowerment Center is a model to grow Girls’ Inc. It also gives us deeper involvement in the communities where the girls live. We quickly saw that, beyond our educational programs, the Empowerment Center could meet some of the basic needs of the community – like healthy food. We have added a food pantry for the community by partnering with the Community Food Bank. HAT funding helps us provide fresh foods for the girls and their families.
While we closed the Empowerment Center temporarily because of COVID-19, our last day on-site was spent distributing food boxes to make sure our families would have the extra food they needed while they shelter at home.