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Girl Central

GirlCentralThumbnail3-01Girl Central is a unique after-school program that helps middle and high school girls in our community build the skills and tools to grow into strong and confident teenagers. Research shows that girls experience an increased amount of social and personal stress during puberty, which tends to begin in middle school.  Before puberty, there is no difference in depression rates between boys and girls; but by age fifteen, girls are twice as likely to become depressed and ten times more likely to develop an eating disorder than boys. 


SIGN UP TODAY FOR GIRL CENTRAL SUMMER CAMP - July 21 to August 15, 2014! For more information, click HERE!


Girl Central offers girls a safe place where girls, together, can move through the most challenging time in their personal and social development, learn to stand up and speak for themselves, think critically and analytically, build confidence and self-esteem, and create positive futures. 


Through Life Skills & Supportgirls build their personal strengths and decision-making abilities while exploring meaningful possibilities for their futures.  Activities include an annual Mother/Daughter night, rock-climbing excursions, volunteering at neighborhood centers, Planned Parenthood workshops, guest speakers/facilitators on a myriad of relevant topics, public forums during the YWCA’s Week without Violence, career panels, college tours, on-campus racial justice activities, and more!


Girl Central girls are Mentored by YWCA women who want to give back. By matching dedicated mentors with responsive young mentees, both benefit from the growth and satisfaction they experience as their relationship develops.  The mentor draws from her life experiences and talents in guiding the young girl’s development, and the mentee gains a dedicated mature friend, positive role model, listener, and all-around “cheerleader.”


Girls explore fields where women are historically underrepresented by learning the key components of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math - which reinforces their natural curiosity about their world and how things work; offers the opportunity to participate in "hands-on" exhibits, demonstrations, projects and experiments; develops critical thinking through the successes and failures of scientific experiments; and inspires them to pursue careers in STEAM! They can also receive science credits from school! We have also just launched a new partnership with OnlineCourses.com, one of the top online websites offering college level courses - from institutions such as Yale, MIT, Stanford and Harvard - free of charge.  What's more, courses can be accessed from any mobile device - a truly mobile education! Visit THIS LINK to get started!


Creative Expression programming uses art forms to help girls develop the leadership and cooperation skills, self-esteem, joy, creativity and discipline needed to confront the challenges in their daily lives and to grow to their potential. Girls learn dance (Hip Hop, Latin, and creative expression), spoken word, poetry, photography and video. 


Girl Central was asked by CityTV to film a television show for teens in an effort to extend the reach of Girl Central to girls unable to come to the YWCA after school or on weekends.  The Girl Central Show is a teen talk and life skills program, featuring a team of dynamic teen girls of different experiences and backgrounds discussing the most relevant issues on campus as well as struggles in their daily life.  Each show features 4-5 teenage girls plus YWCA staff.  The priority of the show is to empower, encourage and educate teen girls to make smart choices in a fun way through inspiring female interviews and spotlights, straight up real advice, personal stories, and rotating creative segments for girls.  Topics include boys, dating, peer pressure, self-esteem, fighting with friends, dealing with parents, and more!  Filming just concluded for 2013 and Girl Central is on track to film new episodes for 2014.  In addition, we are in conversations at this time with the City of Santa Monica to bring the show to Los Angeles County.  To view clips from recently broadcast shows, check out The Girl Central Show's YouTube page!


High school girls can launch their own businesses through Girl Em(POWER)ed. Girl Em(POWER)ed is the natural extension of programs like the Girl Scouts with the same potential for a multiplier effect. So, when girls have outgrown selling cookies, they can enroll in Girl Em(POWER)ed and learn to run their own businesses. Girl Em(POWER)ed is innovative. It takes girls through the entire business cycle from education to incubation to implementation, and beyond. Girl Em(POWER)ed is unique. It has the built in brand power of the YWCA, which is equipped with a national network prepared to supply a lifetime of mentorship. Girl Em(POWER)ed is accessible. It is local, affordable, and timely. So, why is it important for the YWCA to launch Girl Em(POWER)ed? Because research shows that female entrepreneurs are our nation's secret weapon for achieving sustained economic growth. To learn more about Girl Em(POWER)ed, joins us at our first business pitch event on Thursday, November 14, 6:30 pm, at the YWCA. Click HERE for more information.


Interested in watching Girl Central in action? Click on this VIDEO!


GirlCentralWeb-w500-h340Here is What Two Girls from Girl Central have to say:

I owe Girl Central everything!  Girl Central really started to affect my life when I was in ninth grade.  I was a socially outcast, depressed preteen; I cut myself daily on my stomach, wrists, thighs, and palms.  I didn’t care.  My parents stopped speaking to one another, friends, family, and others because I felt like no one wanted me around.  I was prepared to commit suicide and I was going to do so.  I confronted a friend about this idea indirectly, she guessed that I was talking about myself, and started freaking out.  It then became a Girl Central discussion and soon enough the room full of girls started crying and saying really nice things to me that I never would have known otherwise.  The girls even volunteered to go with me to a self-help counseling group for teens that practice self infliction.  This was one of the most touching experiences of my life.

- Kiki


I'm Jazlyn Landaverde...just an ordinary girl, shy and afraid of being judged. But, with the help of a wonderful place, called Girl Central at the YWCA, I came out of my box and am now 100% more confident of who I am. Once I had problems at school where people were making fun of and bullying my best friend. They would call her a whore and a slut when those words weren't even close to describing her. It would eat me alive to see her go through that much pain. I would go home crying, but I wasn't able to explain because I was afraid too. But with the help of Girl Central, I learned how to stand up for her and stop being a bystander. Now the bullying and name calling has stopped, and I can actually say I made a difference with the help of Girl Central. Girl Central was the place that cared enough to help me break the locks that kept my box closed and open up. Not only did they help me with my self-esteem, but they were also always there for me through thick and thin...every day of the week. I knew that I could trust my Girl Central members, and I could tell them anything. When I had family problems, I always knew that I could lean on Girl Central and be accepted. When I had friend problems at school, the Girl Central program always had their arms wide open for me.  When I was at my lowest, they knew how to make the sun rise for me again.  

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Research has shown that Girl Central increases a girl's self-esteem, decreases depression, increases school attendance, and improves body image. To sign up right away, please contact Veronica Sabbaghi, Director of Youth Development, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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