*Blog written by Ellen Humphrey, outgoing Board Chair of Girls Inc. Indy

It’s hard to believe that my time on the Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis board has come to an end. Time passes so quickly! When I joined the board six years ago, I felt a deep connection to our mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. That hasn’t changed. Our staff’s tireless dedication to that mission hasn’t changed either. But quite a bit did change during my tenure. Among other things, we launched our Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) program and are on track to double the number of girls in the program this year; our long-time CEO who built the foundation of our outreach model handed over the reins to a new leader with innovative ideas and an eye toward the future; and we continue to serve thousands of girls with impact each year, reaching nearly 4,000 girls in 2018.

Among the many fond memories I have from my activities with the organization, two stand out. The first is personal: in 2013 when I initially joined the board, my youngest daughter who was 9 at the time attended our Girls Inc. Day. This is a day that girls are exposed to STEM careers and learn from STEM professionals. Leading up to that time, my daughter had always wanted to be “a dancer or a singer” when she grew up. After Girls Inc. Day, she wanted to design video games for a living! At 15, her career aspirations continue to evolve, but that experience taught me how important exposure is in shaping our girls’ futures. My second memory is my interaction with one of our Girls Inc. summer camp girls at one of our Touchstone luncheons. She couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 years old, and she demonstrated what she learned about how to protect herself if someone tried to grab her. And she wanted me to be the “grabber”! The confidence with which she approached the situation was inspiring! I always come away rededicated to our mission when I interact directly with our girls.

2019 is going to be an exciting year for Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. Our strategic planning process for the coming years is already underway, led by our CEO, Elyssa Campodonico-Barr, and our dedicated board. Evolving our model to deliver outcome-driven programs and meaningfully impact as many Indianapolis girls as possible will be of prime importance. We’ve already secured early partnerships to introduce new intensive programs focused on college preparedness and career readiness in 2019. I can’t wait to see what the future brings, from the perspective of a dedicated Girls Inc. Indy supporter!