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As you may recall, this summer we introduced a Nonprofit Pitch Fest in celebration of ESET’s 30th anniversary. Unsurprisingly, we heard from a lot of incredible organizations that are doing excellent work to help our community. You’ll be hearing about more of these organizations in the future, as this has introduced us to a lot of interesting outreach programs. In this post, we’ll focus on the Grand Prize winner: Girls Inc. of San Diego County.
Girls Inc. of San Diego County was founded 50 years ago as a local affiliate of the national Girls Inc. The national organization was started as the Girls Club of America more than 150 years ago, to help young women who had migrated from rural communities in search of job opportunities. They continue this tradition today; helping girls get support to find a rewarding career, such as in science and technology industries.
The network of local nonprofit organizations that comprise Girls Inc. reaches more than 140,000 girls annually, at 1,400 sites in 400 cities across the US and Canada. They serve girls from all walks of life and backgrounds. Many Girls Inc. participants are considered “at risk” through no fault of their own, due to circumstances such as family poverty, exposure to gang-dominated environments and even homelessness. More than 83% belong to minorities and 73% come from families with an annual household income of $25,000 or less.
Girls Inc. of San Diego County has inspired girls to be strong, smart and bold through workshops and training in technical skills. Their research-based programs focus on a variety of areas intended to help girls be prepared and successful in whatever career they ultimately choose. Trained mentoring professionals help equip girls to achieve academically; lead healthy and physically active lives; manage money; navigate media messages; and discover an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Their organization will be using the funds from ESET to support outreach programs in San Diego that inspire girls to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering and math, and give them opportunities to learn technical skills, like coding, that can lead to jobs in cybersecurity and related fields.
“At Girls Inc. of San Diego County, we are training the next generation of cyber-defenders,” said Carla Vallone, President, Board of Trustees, Girls Inc. of San Diego County. “Our trainees don’t look like the current cybersecurity workforce. Our trainees are girls ages 8 to 18, many of whom are girls of color from diverse backgrounds. We are grateful to ESET for this essential funding that will support our STEM outreach programs here in San Diego County.”
“Ultimately, Girls Inc. really stood out for the work it is doing to inspire young women to be strong, smart and confident while teaching them technical skills,” said Celeste Blodgett, Vice President of Human Resources and Learning and Development at ESET North America. “Its submission laid out very specific ways it will address the cybersecurity skills gap problem, while also helping with diversity in the tech sector.”
By giving support, encouragement and resources to girls who might otherwise not be introduced to the possibility of a career in STEM, we can help improve the future for all of us. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support organizations like Girls Inc. of San Diego County as they work in partnership with schools and communities to help address the unique environmental challenges faced by girls and young women.
Author Lysa Myers, ESET