gwens girl's logo
gwens girl's logo


The winter blues do not damper Gwen’s Girls!

With all this cold and bitter weather, many people are facing the winter blues. However, here at Gwen’s Girls that is not the case. Every evening the girls, come into the center full of excitement and energy, and are ready to participate in all the activities that Gwen’s Girls has to offer. One activity that the girls especially enjoyed was splatter painting, where they took different colored markers and paint and flicked the colors onto paper. They said that this was something they really liked doing because it was messy and turned out looking really cool!

How is it that these young women are able to be optimistic with such yucky weather?  Here are 5 ways our girls do it:

  1. Surround yourself with friends!
  2. Be active!
  3. Do something you like!
  4. Relax after a busy day!
  5. Embrace the weather and play in the snow!


Gwen’s Girls Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day came early for the G.I.R.L.S. program participants, who celebrated on February 12th with a special meal provided by volunteers. The Senior girls helped to prepare the healthy dinner, which included pasta, roasted vegetables, chicken, salad, fruit, and of course – chocolate. They chopped fruit, dressed the salad, and set up the tables so that everyone could enjoy the meal. Everything was delicious, and many of the girls said that they would be able to recreate a similar meal on their own. After dinner every girl received a flower to take home.


Bridging the Gaps

Gwen’s Girls was lucky to have two Bridging the Gaps interns from the University of Pittsburgh working in our group home. Please view this video that talks about their work and experiences with our girls.


Our girls create ring tones

Girls in our After School Program put their spin on hand clap rhymes to create two ring tones. They performed “Cinderella Jump Rope Tone” and “Down By the Bank Ringtone” which were captured by Teresa Foley of

Transcription of the Gwen’s Girls’ Tones

Cinderella Jump Rope Tone:

Cinderella, dressed in yellow / went upstairs to kiss a fellow / made a mistake and kissed a snake / how many doctors will it take / one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, [etc.]

Down By the Bank (hand-clapping) Ringtone:

Down by the bank with the hanky pank / where the bullfrog jump from bank to bank / say E-Fi-E-Fi-Fo, skittle diddle kernel pop / I pledge allegiance to the flag, Michael Jackson makes me glad / Coca Cola has caffeine, now we’re talking jelly bean / Jelly beans are out of site, now we’re back to / Down by the bank with the hanky pank…

To get the ring tones and see more information about this exciting collaboration, click here

The girls created ringtones by clapping their hands.



My Gwen’s Girls Story

I have been a Gwen’s Girl for six years. I started when I was eight years old. I was so excited when I first started. My older sister Kym came to Gwen’s Girls when she was younger, and I used to be so jealous when she came home and told me what they did and where they were going that I would cry. I couldn’t wait to turn eight so I could start Gwen’s Girls!

My start date was 2004. I was so excited. Gwen’s Girls taughts me everything. My most favorite was learning about bullying. I plan to stay in Gwen’s Girls until I am 18 years old and learn more.

– Destiny I., 14


What’s my Gwen’s Girls Story?

I have been in Gwen’s Girls for going on nine years. Gwen’s Girls has been a very important accessory in my life because of how much they have helped me through so many ups and downs.

The staff has helped me become aware of abusive relationships and how important it is to get out of them before it’s too late. I have been so excited to share and experience life with such an enthusiastic view of people, and I’m excited to carry on Gwen’s Girls legacy and expectations.

-Taylor J., 17


Read what our Girls have to say

Read what some of our girls have to say about Gwen’s Girls – in their own words.

“It’s an afterschool program for young girls who need help. I’m here because my grandma wanted me and my sister to come. It really helped me through hard times in my life and is helping me find myself.”

“The reason I’m here is because my mom wanted me off the street. The staff helps me with my problems and relationships with my mother and brothers.”

“We go on a lot of field trips and make a lot of friends. If your kids go they will be safe and doing something positive.”

“Gwen’s Girls helps us achieve the goals we desire starting with job readiness – showing us the obstacles in life we have to be ready to face.”


My Hero, My Friend

One of the girls writes about Gwen’s Girls Founder, Gwen Elliott.

When I was 8 yrs old my grandma took me to a support meeting at the Hosanna House. I can remember that was the first time I met a lady that sort of reminded me of my great – grand mom. She was chubby and had gray hair. I said to myself “oh” another person watching me and telling me what to do. Well she looked very strict to me and my next thought was “I’m in trouble.” Then she came over to me and had the most prettiest white teeth and the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen on an older woman. The look in her eyes showed me that she cared about little kids just like my great – grandma.

I started reading about her. I remember when she died I asked my grandma if I could I go see her at the funeral home, my grandma was surprised because I didn’t even like funerals and I didn’t even go to my granddad’s funeral but, I had to go see Ms. Gwen.

She has inspired me to always have self esteem. I didn’t know what it meant at 8 yrs old; but now I know she wanted me and all girls to feel good about ourselves. Maybe we are having trouble growing up but, she started an agency to help us grow up with respect for ourselves and others. Sometimes I think that I and Ms. Gwen went through the same situations growing up. I chose Ms. Elliott because she’s a warrior, an achiever, but most of all a role model to me.

Ms. Gwen Elliott was born June 1944 in Duquesne. At the age of 5 her mother died in a botched abortion but she didn’t find out what had happened to her mother until she was an adult. Ms. Gwen actively served her country in the Air Force and she left that uniform for another, a police uniform, in May of 1976.

She also was one of the first out of twelve women officers hired by Pittsburgh Police Department as well as the first female to ever achieve the rank of sergeant on the police force.

In the year of 1986 Ms. Gwen was promoted to Commander and was the first African American woman to attain that rank. Ms. Gwen had many goals. One of them was to stop crimes against women and children. After Ms. Gwen retired from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police she founded Gwen’s Girls.

In the year of 2002 Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth, and Families funded the creation of Gwen’s Girls. Ms. Gwen served on over 25 boards which included; National Organization of Black Women in Law Enforcement, NAACP, Freedom Unlimited, Woman’s Center, etc.

Ms. Gwen really cared for girls getting into trouble; girls that needed extra guidance. A place for girls’ voices to be heard which was named Gwen’s Girls. I feel great knowing that if she went through all of the hard things in life, I will try to follow her example and be the leader in my community. Gwen’s Girls program shows me how to believe in myself.

Some girls are ashamed to be a Gwen’s Girls but I am proud to be called a Gwen’s Girls because my hero has the same name that I like to represent. I will always remember her when I think I can’t achieve my goals. You have given me a great opportunity to be a leader such as you were.

by Janera

Menu Title
Skip to toolbar