Women’s Herstory Month is an opportunity to demonstrate and elevate the women leaders that have changed the fields and disciplines that inspire our youth. Every day, young women in our Clubhouses are making history. We must honor these historical moments as they happen. Our message to young women is clear: Whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it, you should do it, and, in fact, other women have done it before. The Clubhouse is here to validate the gifts, talents, and voices of young women. Our responsibility is to remind our members that they are worthy; that they are not just able, but they can excel in these fields. This March and beyond, consider how you will celebrate women’s history, and how you will support the representation of women in STEM, both in and outside of a Clubhouse.
The Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ Family Service Association in San Antonio recently held a Women in Tech Summit with the goal of empowering young women to explore STEM fields. At the same Center, members participate in a STEAM summer camp for young women thanks to a partnership with Saint Mary’s University. They also continuously partner with Girls Inc. and the Boardroom Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to invest in the future of young girls and professional women by exposing and preparing them to become more present and successful in non-profit and corporate boardrooms across the country. These have been successful strategies for recruiting and retaining more young women in the Teen Tech center, connecting them with additional gender-affirming spaces and mentors.
At The SWICN Clubhouse in Dublin, young women participate in activities affirming their identities, skills, and contributions to society.
At The Gum Springs Community Center Clubhouse in Alexandria, young women are learning coding and robotics with the iRobot Root Robot for education.
At The Best Buy Teen Tech Center @ Jerry Colangelo Branch in Phoenix, many of the Club’s professional staff are women, who serve as visible role models to Center members and visit with them often. In October the Governor of Arizona toured the Clubhouse, accompanied by Marcia Mintz, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, and met with teens from the Center. At one point a younger male member was with the group talking to the Governor and our CEO and he asked our CEO if she was the Governor. Marcia responded “no,” but that she was like the president of the Club. He responded with, “But you’re a girl!” Marcia said, in front of several teen girls, “Yes, I am a girl. All girls can grow up to be the boss of a company or the president or a company, or even the country. Girls can do anything.” Additionally, eight of their youth leaders are young women and the president is also a young woman.