TechGYRLS, TechTEENS & Pathways
Closing the Gender Gap
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The TechGYRLS® program strives to improve the lives of girls ages 9-14. This is the time in their lives when they are experiencing many changes emotionally, physically, and socially, and when the STEM gender gap begins. The program’s goal is to create a safe environment where girls can learn the areas of STE2M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Math). TechGYRLS® focuses on these five areas because studies have shown that girls tend to fall behind boys from middle school onto high school, starting at age nine. By focusing on STE2M, TechGYRLS® helps the girls discover or enhance interests in these areas and hopefully pursue careers in these fields in the future. These goals are reached through fun, hands-on projects and activities after school and during school breaks. Activities include STE2M projects, robotics competitions, IT Empowerment Day for Girls, field trips, job shadows, and community service.
The TechTEENS program works with young women ages 15-21. The STE2M focus remains, but the program is geared more toward encouraging girls to achieve higher education, helping them find and pursue careers, and become ‘successful’. The concentration is on college and career planning, scholarship research, resume writing, job skills, and professionalism. TechTEENS helps girls think about and plan for their futures after high school through class activities, college visits, and job shadows.
Pathways is also offered at the high school level and is open to both males and females ages 15-21. This course combines life and social skills, sports and recreation, and community service to help the students develop their whole selves. Topics covered include anger management, healthy relationships, violence, racial justice, community involvement, respect, success, teamwork, professionalism, and cooperation. Students work together to develop into responsible, respectful, and productive adults.
All of the TechGYRLS®, TechTEENS, and Pathways programs accommodate schools and their individual schedules. There are currently 11 school-based programs running. Some of the programs are part of the girls’ school day and others are afterschool clubs. Last fiscal year, the YWCA TechGYRLS® program reached over 650 students. That number includes the annual IT Empowerment Day for Girls, Spring Break Camp and Summer Camp.
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