Gwen’s Girls knows that education is critical for self-sufficiency. However, many of our girls struggle with their educational endeavors.
The majority of the girls in our programs lack a general knowledge of careers and occupations, including the necessary educational requirements for specific careers or job tasks. In addition, many of their families are financially disadvantaged and have limited educational backgrounds and/or knowledge about the fields to which the children aspire. They may also lack the social and cultural resources necessary for making career/work decisions.
Job shadowing is a powerful way for girls to learn about the world of work. Going to a workplace and learning the daily responsibilities of an occupation not only teaches our girls the details of a career, it also reinforces the expectations of a professional environment. Some of the experiences, such as job shadowing at Allegheny General Hospital and the UPMC Shadyside pharmacy, provide our girls with one-on-one attention from a professional in a career of interest to that girl. Other shadowing experiences have been designed as job tours to educate small groups of girls about careers available in various workplaces. These experiences provide hands-on opportunities for girls to learn the skills necessary for specific careers, and the girls also meet positive role models.
It is not always an option for us to take girls to worksites during the school day. Therefore, a number of professionals from various occupational backgrounds visit our facility to teach our girls about their professions. This gives the girls the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers, both traditional and non-traditional. Having a speaker in the more casual setting of our After-School Program allows for candid conversation between the professional and our girls. Speakers often tell the story of their personal career path, such as how they became interested in their career of choice, connections between school and work and what challenges or barriers they faced along the way. By hosting career speakers in our After-School Program, we are able to reach a large number of girls.
We are pleased to inform you that Gwen’s Girls has again been approved for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program from the Commonwealth of PA for fiscal year 2014-2015.