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Grant will help at-risk girls become Girl Scouts

November 25, 2018

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois are ramping up efforts to reach at-risk girls in Whiteside and six other counties.

Thanks to a federal grant, that work has gotten a little bit easier.

For the third year in a row, the organization has received more than $160,000 from Americorps to help reach underserved girls, said Lynda Fillipp, Girl Scouts marketing manager.

The money will allow the Girl Scouts to hire five full-time and 14 part-time Americorps employees. Whiteside County’s share is about $10,000, which will pay for three part-time employees.

It’s all a part of Project Opportunity – a youth development and education program that teaches girls about peer and healthy relationships, financial literacy, and science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.

The work will begin in earnest once the three part-timers are in place, said Emma Eschenfeldt, director of alternative programs at Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois. The pay for those positions comes in the form of stipends to pay for living and education expenses.

“We’ve been able to reach about 25 to 30 extra at-risk girls in the community thanks to the grants over the last few years, and we hope to have them running by the end of the year,” Eschenfeldt said.

The grant also will help pay for the Scouts’ expenses – things such as registration fees, program materials and transportation to and from troop meetings.

“For us, this is our chance to reach out to the girls in the lower socio-economic status,” Eschenfeldt said.

“They are the ones that greatly benefit from the Girl Scouts in developing leadership, social and emotional and other skills the program provides.”

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