In the wake of the election outcome, I’ve seen many people trying to find organizations to donate to and make a difference for vulnerable populations. I’ve decided to start a recurring segment on my blog featuring nonprofits that I love in hopes that you find places to volunteer your time and donate your resources! (Side note: if you have a clever name for this segment, I’m all ears)
First up: GirlForward
GirlForward is an organization here in Chicago that mentors and supports refugee adolescent girls. They also have a location in Austin, TX.
There are 5 main challenges that refugee girls face: poverty, social isolation, language barriers, limited education and a need for role models. Girls are likely the translators for their parents, thus accompanying them to doctors appointments, errand running, etc. They are also constrained to their home country’s gender roles, where women and girls are the ones who cook, clean, take care of their siblings, etc. All of these challenges on top of just being in a new country with a new culture is overwhelming for anyone, let alone a preteen or teenage girl (an awkward time in life for anyone!).
GirlForward pairs volunteer mentors with refugee young women. They meet weekly to discuss school work, participate in social activities, create goals and prepare for college and future careers.
So what can you do?
- Donate – just $20 provides a girl school supplies for their summer education program!
- Volunteer – beginning in March, you can apply for either the Austin or Chicago program as a mentor. Check their site for mentor requirements. There might be openings in December, if you’re looking for an opportunity sooner.
P.S. They just released some sweet merch if you want to rock a GirlForward tee!