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Coast Hills

Girls Inc. gives girls the gift of confidence

by Joshua D. Scroggin
August 23, 2017
CoastHills Credit Union corporate employee Selenda Diaz and her sister Ava present Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara a check for $1,000 from the Credit Union's employee giving program.
CoastHills Credit Union corporate employee Selenda Diaz and her sister Ava present Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara a check for $1,000 from the Credit Union's employee giving program.

There are only three rules at Girls Inc. — Be respectful, be responsible, and be safe.

Every night when Selena Diaz’s little sister, Ava, came home from her Girls Inc. Summer Camp in Goleta, she couldn't wait to show her big sister what she learned that day.

Ava excitedly demonstrated the correct method to French braid hair and how to play cat’s cradle. She explained where she went on the day's field trip, discussed what books she read, and more.

Selena, an employee at the CoastHills Credit Union corporate headquarters, was thrilled to see her little sis actively engaged with the world around her and eager to learn something new every day.

Ava is one of 1,477 girls who attend Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara. Girls Inc. has served the Santa Barbara area for 60 years and believes that every girl has the power to change the world. With a hands-on curriculum and a supportive atmosphere, the organization is able to achieve their vision of teaching girls to be strong, smart, and bold through their after-school program and summer camp.

Girls Inc. welcomes all girls from ages 5 to 18, but unfortunately not all girls can afford the program fee. Nearly a quarter of the girls require a scholarship, and the organization couldn’t do it without fundraising efforts and individual donations. 

That’s where Selena realized she could make a difference. Selena joined the CoastHills employee giving program, “I’m All In,” because she wanted to give back to the community. Credit Union staff pool donations directly from their own paychecks, and each quarter, names of participants are randomly drawn to decide where the money will be donated.

Selena said she had never won anything before and never expected her name to actually be drawn, but that all changed when her name was one five announced this summer.

When faced with awarding a $1,000 community sponsorship, she thought of Ava and how positive the Girls Inc. experience has been for her. Selena realized that with her I’m All In donation, she could ensure that more local girls had the same opportunity.

Thanks to Selena’s donation to the scholarship fund, more girls will be spending time in the library, theater, kitchen, computer lab, and exploration room at the Girls Inc. campus for hands-on learning.

Thanks to the volunteers from local high schools and colleges, the girls get one-on-one homework help and mentoring. Having access to these enrichment activities and positive role models goes a long way in fostering self-confidence, leadership and life skills. Girls in the program say they’re excited about learning.

Interested in making a difference? Girls Inc. maintains an Amazon.com wish list that lets you choose exactly where your money goes. Both you and the organization know your donation is being used for something specific that the girls really need.

For those interested in giving in other ways or volunteering, please visit the Girls Inc. website for details. 

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