The Nysether Family Foundation has donated $7,500 to help support the SMART Girls program at the Clubs. The program fits in with the Nysether Family Foundation’s focus on improving the quality of life for youth. In order to make a positive impact on young women in Snohomish County, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County offer the SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Girls program. This program empowers girls to make healthy decisions regarding sex and relationships and encourages them to develop and work toward school and career goals. The long-term goal of SMART Girls is to help participants acquire and maintain lifelong attributes of a positive self-concept and good decision making skills regarding personal safety, relationships, and healthy lifestyles.
SMART Girls, a curriculum-based program, is currently offered in 13 Clubs and school-based sites. Last year 284 girls participated in the program; representing a 42% increase from the year before. Each Club runs their own program, choosing activities and seeking involvement of female role models meeting the unique needs of each community.
SMART Girls operates throughout the school year, meeting weekly for group sessions to talk about girls’ issues, once a month the meeting is a workshop, field trip, or other event. Activities include life skills workshops, sexuality workshops, nutrition and fitness workshops, healthcare system workshops, mentoring workshops, computer assisted instruction, SMART Girls Speakers, SMART Girls field trips, team building activities, and recognition events. Clubs recruit SMART Girls participants throughout the year and all girls aged 9-18 are eligible to participate.
In 2013 the girls were able to participate in many activities to help them focus on good choices and positive futures. One highlight was a three day aerospace training program at the WATR (Washington Aerospace Training and Research) Center. Girls were able to learn about aerospace, engineering, and electrical principles and participate in hands-on learning. This year participants cut their names onto large metal pieces using tools and materials designed for use in airplanes.