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Monday, June 9, 2008

Featured Activism: "Cool Girls", Atlanta, GA

You know sometimes how you come to this site and I depress the crap out of you by telling you all of the devilishment, inhumanity and barbarism being unleashed on Black women and girls in this country? Well I was happy to see a piece about "Cool Girls" on CNN.com. They are based out of Atlanta, GA and they are basically addressing about 80% of the issues we lament about twice a week on this blog. Watch the CNN.com piece on Cool Girls.

Cool Girls, Inc. was founded in 1989 by attorney Dawn Smith and a group of girls who resided in the East Lake Community. At the time, East Lake was considered Atlanta’s worst housing project and was known for its notorious reputation for violence. Interested in tutoring disadvantaged youth, Ms. Smith collaborated with Epiphany Episcopal Church and the Urban Training Organization to form a girls club at the Drew Recreation Center. At the first meeting, the girls chose the name “The Cool Girls of East Lake” for their new club.

From The Cool Girls website:

The work we do here at Cool Girls is unique and effective. It is our vision to create a girls-only learning environment where girls in grades 3-8 are empowered to succeed in academic, social and professional arenas.

Our programs instill the tools necessary for Cool Girls participants to achieve productive futures - confidence, motivation, and good decision-making skills. To this end, we strive to ensure that each Cool Girls graduate:

  • Believes she can do well academically and is motivated to do so.
  • Delays sexual intercourse and uses safe, responsible practices if she becomes sexually active.
  • Practices good health, in particular avoiding substance abuse.
  • Develops a set of specific skills that will enhance her education and employability.
  • Is able to identify when she needs resources and support and knows how to access them.

We are able to do this through our five after-school and out-of-school program components - Cool Girls Club, Cool Scholars, Cool Tech, Cool Biz and Girls LEAD, and Cool Sisters. Each program builds upon the other, playing a critical role in the development of our program participants. The Cool Girls

But you know what I love most? The folks at Cool Girls know how to add and subtract. Because unlike certain "five-letter organizations", at the end of the year, they aren't in debt. The publish their revenue and expenditures online . In addition, they have published an evaluation from Georgia State University that charts their effectiveness. That indicates transparency, strong internal controls and fiscal discipline. I love it!