Inspiring Girls To Change Their World
By: Tomikko Robinson
Cool Girls Volunteer Placement Chair
We’re in the thick of the holiday season, and this is the time of year when many of us are kinder, more generous and certainly more festive. Some believe it’s the best time to throw a holiday party, be someone’s Secret Santa or donate time or items to those less fortunate. For me, it’s the time of year that I worry about my children’s Christmas lists and what to get friends and family. It also means partnering with neighbors to sponsor a family in need and purchasing items for children in need. But this holiday, I’m grateful for the time spent with fellow members of The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. (JLA) during our volunteer service with a special organization, Cool Girls, Inc.
Cool Girls is an Atlanta-based, after-school program founded in 1989 by Dawn Smith who lived in the East Lake Meadows housing community. She saw a desperate need to protect young girls who were growing up in what was believed at that time to be a dangerous neighborhood. With the support of Epiphany Episcopal Church and the Urban Training Organization, they formed a girls-only club dedicated to providing positive after-school activities. Cool Girls is an attentive and close-knit community, working with girls from second to eighth grades. Cool Girls focuses on the whole girl, emphasizing health and wellness, education and community involvement. Their fitness program, Cool Fitness, teaches the girls about nutrition and physical fitness while promoting a positive body image and minimizing the risks of childhood obesity. Members of JLA are able to spend time with the students, by participating in a number of service projects in the Cool Scholars and Unplugged programs. Most recently, JLA members volunteered to give more than 200 girls a holiday shopping experience at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur. Volunteers led arts and crafts and educational breakouts.
Through partnerships with eight Title 1 schools in Dekalb and Fulton Counties, Cool Girls currently serves over 350 young women and in total has served more than 6,000 girls. The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. is proud to partner with Cool Girls and this holiday season, we are honored to be apart of their work in changing the lives of our future leaders. To learn more about Cool Girls, visit thecoolgirls.org.