Pittsburgh-area programs for girls

5 Pittsburgh-area programs for girls who want to make history

Photo by ahmad kartubi used by permission via Unsplash.

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, the Kidsburgh team has been thinking a lot about how we can help today’s girls find their paths toward making the world a better place. So we’ve gathered a list of programs to share with all you grownups out there who are busy raising Pittsburgh’s next generation of women. These Pittsburgh-area programs are perfect for girls who want to make history one day.

There are many ways we can help girls develop their civic leadership muscles. The Pittsburgh region is home to annual events that encourage civic engagement — just one example is the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern PA’s recent Empower Her event.

But there are also many programs that run all year long to help develop girls’ passion for making the world a better place. Civic engagement is all about improving the quality of life for the community you live in. Whatever your young girl’s passion might be, there’s a program in the Pittsburgh area that can help develop that drive.

Here are five you’ll want to explore:   

The Urban League’s Black Female Leadership Development Institute: The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh has always been committed to helping Black Pittsburghers and other marginalized groups through a variety of programs ranging from housing support to family assistance. The Urban League has also helped train the city’s youth for civic engagement. Their Black Female Leadership Development Institute [BFLDi] teaches young Black women skills like communication, networking and how to advocate for causes that matter to them through a combination of workshops and discussion groups. 

The Ellis School’s summer programmingPittsburgh is lucky – and unique – in that it has its own school for girls devoted to empowerment and civic engagement. The Ellis School is a great year-round option for parents of girls who are interested in community development and civic engagement. For families who cannot enroll their girls year-round, though, there are summer camp options that foster a desire to improve the community they live in. (While the Ellis School itself is open to female-identifying students, summer camp is co-ed). 

Girls in PoliticsGirls in Politics is a national organization that has deep Pittsburgh roots despite being a countrywide movement. Their Camp Congress, which this year will happen on April 2nd, introduces girls between the ages of 8 and 17 to the function and inner workings of the United States political system. Through a series of mock hearings and elections, girls learn the ins and outs of Congress. They learn about campaign finance planning and marketing as well as how to develop a campaign platform and slogan. At the conclusion of the session, there is a ceremonial signing of a bill by the elected Ms. president. 

The Girl Scouts of Southwestern Pennsylvania: Although each troop is locally-led and can vary in the work they focus on, the Girl Scouts have a strong focus on civic engagement. In the North Boroughs, for example, Troop 53314 has attended three Bellevue borough council meetings to advocate for placing a peace pole at a borough park. The Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania also offer badges and programs with an important mission: “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Contact the local council to find a troop in your area. 

The Women and Girls Foundation: This organization is another amazing asset to the region, pioneering the GirlGov program which spurs local girls towards robust civic engagement. The program is “designed to ignite high school-aged women and femme’s passion for social justice; cultivate their critical thinking, spark their interest in careers in public service, build their understanding of history and government, and prepare them as our next generation of voters, leaders, and change-makers.” Typically girls from over 40 different high schools participate in the program, graduating ready to make Southwestern Pennsylvania a better place for all residents.