Austin, Texas. Located in the heart of the Lone Star state, it can seem like it's worlds away, even from Dallas some days. Yet, even in our fair city, people find themselves worlds away from their homelands, sometimes suddenly and traumatically. With over 80,000 people who have been forced to leave their homes in recent years due to war and persecution, a large swath of these refugees settle here, calling Austin their home, some permanently and some temporarily.
GirlForward, a local non-profit with a chapter here in Austin, has made it their mission to help young refugee girls through education and support, breaking down the barriers and creating opportunities for girls who have been displaced by conflict. They work specifically with teenage girls (ages 14- 21) who have been resettled in Austin from countries including Afghanistan, Syria, DR Congo, Burma, and many others. Their inspiring work aids dozens of girls and young women in Central Texas, which is why we're excited to name them as our September charity for our Desk Donation spotlight.
GirlForward - Educating, Assisting, and Breaking Down Barriers for Displaced Young Women
Based around meeting the needs of growing girls who have been displaced from their countries of origin, GirlForward focuses on three main programs to accomplish their goals:
GF's mentoring program pairs each individual refugee with a personal mentor from the Austin community who dedicates several hours each week educating them on the 4Ws (Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and World). Girls are welcome to talk about anything on their minds, from school to their relationships. They're also able to discuss their future plans for their careers, as they work toward their ultimate goal of graduating from high school and going on to college.
Camp GirlForward provides a space for girls to expand their English skills and explore their identities while learning about the world. The camp takes place over six weeks every summer, and includes literacy-based curriculum that focuses on the themes of identity, community, and power. This intensive boosts their English speaking and writing skills, allowing some girls to jump ahead a whole grade level over the course of one summer. All of this real-world learning takes place in the classroom and outside of it, with field trips being a favorite among campers.
Lastly, the group's Safe Spaces Program provides safe spaces for refugee girls to talk, explore their identities, and form connections with other girls. Girls are also given access to countless resources to help them learn and grow, with curriculum ranging from one-on-one tutoring to monthly workshops.
Non-Profits Deserve Healthy Workspaces, Too
Healthy living shouldn't stop and start in the office. That's why we love to spread the joy of healthy work to as many people as we can. This month we donated a total of eight desks to assist the group in their efforts to help settle Austin area refugees in safe and compassionate ways. They'll soon be tasking at six of our reclaimed elm and two of our natural rubberwood height adjustable desks, which will help them stay comfortable and healthy as they pull off all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes GirlForward so great for so many women.
Learn More About Past Charities and Our Desk Donation Program
Want to know more and how you can help? Check out our Desk Donation Program page to read more about our past charities we've donated to and to share your favorite local Austin non-profit or charity for our next giving spotlight.