Field Trips at Girls Inc.

While most summer days Girls Inc. members spend their time in centers, engaging in educational and hands-on activities, being able to venture off the campus can be exciting and refreshing. Among the many activities that happen at Girls Inc., field trips are a great way for the girls to experience new, exciting scenery, as well as the opportunity to experience a new learning environment. On these field trips, the girls are able to expand their minds and engage with their surroundings.

In the month of June alone, girls had the opportunity to attend field trips to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, Lauritzen Gardens, the Durham Museum and many more. July field trip offerings included Mahoney State Park, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the Omaha Children’s Museum, and Arbor Day Farm. Field trips usually group the girls up into approproate age/grade groups and include a strong ratio of adult-to-girl chaperones in order to ensure safety along with the fun and education.

These field trips are educational, but they are also an important chance for the girls to relax and have fun – to be kids! Field trips create the foundation for a fun and enticing summer for girls in both centers in North and South Omaha.

Larger field trips at Girls Inc are funded by the Peter Kiewit Foundation which allows the many more girls to attend. Transportation is also always provided for the field trips through the support of the Foundation, which ensures access for all girls to attend.

Eureka! Externships at Girls Inc.

At Girls Inc. girls have many opportunities to be succeed and one of the most impactful opportunities is the Eureka! STEM (Science, Tecnology, Engineering, and Math) program. Eureka! was founded in 1988 at a California Girls Inc. affiliate to help older participants of Girls Inc. succssfully access college and other post-secondary education in order to transition to independent, self-sufficient adulthood. Girls Inc. of Omaha is one of the fourteen Girls Inc. affiliates to offer this program.

The Eureka! program, which is free for participating girls, is split into three parts; Summer Camp; externships; and college and scholarship prep. Girls begin the Eureka! program as rising 8th graders with a STEM Camp at University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). The camp runs for two summers, spanning into the girls’ 9th grade year. The camps, which run the full month of June on the UNO campus, provide the girls with STEM education and hands-on challenges in computing, robotics, aerodynmaics, engineering, biology, botany, and more. The girls learn from professionals in those fields and UNO professors, graduate students, and interns. They also gain experience in health, leadership, advocacy, and personal development. While at the camp, the girls get a chance to take swimming lessons, either learning to swim or to improve their existing swimming skills. After the camps, the girls participate in monthly STEM and/or social experiences throughout the school year. They participate in field trips that include the Henry Doorly Zoo and watching the Sandhill Crane migration in Wood River, Nebraska, and they also go to the movies and have sleepovers.

In their 10th and 11th grade years, the girls participate in what is known as an externship. In this program, they gain real-world experience working in a field of their interest. Some companies are gracious enough to donate a stipend for the girls, so not only are they gaining experience in the work field, they also earning compensation for their time. Girls Inc. provides transportation to and from externship sites if needed. The externshop experience has given many girls an opportunity to see themselves in the professional field of their dreams, and empowered and helped them attain their career goals.

Prior to and during 12th grade, the girls work on college readiness. They complete FAFSA student aid forms, work on scholarship essays, research school choices online, tour campuses, and speak with financial aid officcers.

Girls Inc. graduated its eighth cohort of girls from Eureka! in 2019 and they will be the third cohort to head to college in the fall.

Thanks to all of the companies that hosted girls as externs for 2019. Below is a complete list of those companies:


Eureka! Grads Share Highlights

Rajhae (L) and Mya (R) share remarks about their Eureka! experience.

Rajhae

 

I have been a Girls Inc. member since I was six years old. There was really no other place I’d rather be. Girls Inc. always had fun opportunities for me as I got older. The best part of my Girls Inc. experience was Eureka!

Eureka! taught me many important life lessons, like how to budget my money and more about robotics. I learned how to make my own game system with playdough. Perhaps most importantly Eureka! taught me time management and how to be professional in a job setting.

Ms. Hannah and the Eureka! staff took the time out of their day to find us externship placements. They weren’t just any job; the externships were jobs that were similar to what we wanted to do after college. My first year of externships I worked at Charles Drew Health Clinic. I had so much fun being able to take vitals and cleaning rooms after the patients were discharged. I also watched [a woman] get a Pap smear! I know from my education at Girls Inc. how important those annual exams are.

My second year I worked at Encor, a program for individuals with disabilities. I was able to work at the Encore center and at a location where the adults were living independently… The most fun part of the job was interacting with all of the clients.

…This experience…made me want to pursue my CNA license. My plan is to start at Metropolitan Community College, and then switch to UNMC to become a Registered Nurse. Eureka! is a great program for young girls to start their journey in to life. Eureka! can help lead you in the right direction and help you make the right choices. I want to say thank you to my fellow Eurekans, and congratulations! I couldn’t have chosen a better group of young ladies to share this experience with.

Mya

 

I am senior at Central High school.

I started the Eureka! program as an 8th grader.  I remember riding to the campus of UNO with my mom feeling a bit of resentment because it was summer and I was supposed to still be at home in the bed asleep.  It was summer at 8am…this was summer school.

Just like school, I learned a lot but Eureka! was different because I enjoyed the learning experiences.  It helped me to discover my love for science by doing rigorous experiments. My favorite was the High-Altitude Balloon Launch when I sent a goldfish into space to study the impact of changes in temperature when leaving the earth’s atmosphere.

Throughout high school my passion for science grew along with my desire to help others within the field of medicine.  As a third-year Eureka! student, I was able to complete an externship at Charles Drew Medical Center. I was able to interact with patients, nurses, and other medical staff.  It was there I received hands on training and solidified my desire to become a nurse.

This fall, I will attend Alcorn State University in Mississippi where I plan to graduate in four years with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I hope to eventually work in the Labor and Delivery department of a research hospital so I can pass my knowledge on to other students with the same passion. Currently, I am in the process of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and I volunteer weekly at Life Care Center of Omaha.  With my CNA, I will work-part time during college to get experience and create a network of healthcare mentors.

As I embark on my new journey to college and nursing, I know that no matter what I face, the lessons I learned as a member of the Eureka! family have provided me the drive, focus, and motivation to help bring new life into world, and will allow me to overcome any obstacles I face.  For me, success is not an option, it is a way of life.

 

Testimonials from Ms. Beth’s Coding Club

Today in Coding Club, I loved doing stations. I enjoyed playing the Osmo App games. They were really, really fun. I even created a new game and it was so fun. – Messiah

I loved Osmo because it was super fun and cool. I enjoyed the Roofbot app because it was challenging. I wonder if we can play Osmo more often because I loved it. – Camille

I loved the Star Wars Project [at code.org] and it made me happy. I learned to play the Roofbot app and it makes me feel excited to play it next time, too. – Amaiyah

Regan’s remarks from Lunch for the Girls 2017

Regan

My name is Regan Fulton, I’ve been a Girls Inc. Member since age five. Yesterday was my birthday. I’m ten years old.  Being a Girls Inc. girl means I get to participate in a lot of different programs and clubs. I’m in soccer, robotics, sparks and my favorite – the coding club. Last year, Ms. Beth was signing up girls for this club. She started with ten-year-olds for her first session and I was only nine. I really wanted to be a part of the club and I knew that I was smart and good enough to be with those older girls. I find coding very fun because you get to use all four subjects of science technology, engineering, and Math.  During the coding club we programed Sphero’s and ran them through different obstacle courses, coded bracelets with our names on them for Valentine’s Day, programmed an EV3 Mindstorm robot during Lego League Club and played scratch games. I really like playing coding games. My goal is to keep practicing and getting better in coding because when I go to college I want to be a teacher. I want to teach people what coding is and why it’s important for our future.  So, if anyone in this crowd today would like to come and help us continue to learn how to code please e-mail Ms. Emily (emwaja@girlsincomaha.org) because we are looking to grow our coding team. Without teachers we can’t grow. So please, come code with us.

Thank you for believing in our coding future.

Mr. Joe’s Fitness Club

Inaugural Fitness Club from September 9th – November 15thimg_9233

The idea behind Fitness Club was to create a little extra motivation to get moving. I did not take any body composition measurements like weight, % body fat, height, VO2 max, etc. My only expectation was that the girls showed up on a regular basis and had a good attitude. The class was only supposed to last for 8 weeks; however, the girls kept coming and I extended the club for two extra weeks. Fitness club met almost every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the months of September through November.

For me, my goals were to make the participants more comfortable in a weight room setting. I think everyone has had an experience where they have felt intimidated or uncomfortable working out, especially in an unfamiliar weight room. I taught the basic etiquette for the workout equipment and cardio equipment. Almost the entire first session was spent just on technique and teaching the core movements that would be used in Fitness Club. After this, the workouts started coming.

img_9295The workouts were difficult, but the girls persevered and finished every time in their own way. When the girls needed some extra motivation, Ms. Anna and Ms. Adaisha were able to help out and lead a workout or two. After most of the workouts, I would prompt the girls with a question to write in their journals. We were better at writing in our journals some weeks more than others, but here are some of their entries below:

 

“The most challenging thing in fitness club today was burpees x50. It was hard and challenging because I never did them before and it was 50 of them to do. After a while, I got used to them though and did all 50.”  Kendra – 14

“The thing I like about fitness club is that we get to work out and work with abs and get in good shape.” Fitness club member – 12

“My goal for fitness club was trying to work out and eat healthy.” Natalia – 14

“In the future, a way to stay fit everyday, I will jog everyday or go to a fitness club and eat healthy.” Imani – 14

“My goal was when I started was that I am supposed to stay in shape.” Malika – 12

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“The hardest part of fitness club is you still have to keep going even if it hurts. I though the exercises were really hard because it hurts a lot but you can’t stop doing it. The only thing you have to do is try harder. Fitness club helps me use up my time better as well.” Nevaeh – 12

“Working out has helped me feel better about myself and lets me know that I can do what I put my mind to, without others telling me so.”

“Beside my physical appearance, it helped me more with sleeping and getting rest. My motivation and confidence is higher. Also, it has helped with stress and I’m doing better in school.” Kendra – 14

“My favorite workout is going on the bikes and getting my legs pumping so they can be strong.” Fitness Club member – 12

“Working out helped my sleeping because I will go to bed right after because I’m relaxed and I fall asleep quicker.” Natalia – 14

“Working out has helped me feel better about myself and lets me know that I can do what I put my mind to, without others telling me so.” LaKiya – 14

“My favorite is working out on the bikes because I can burn calories.” Virginia – 13

As an instructor of the club, I learned a lot in the process of leading this club. One of my goals for the next Fitness Club is to start each session with an open discussion on maintaining a healthy lifestyle after they graduate from high school and Girls Inc. Now, I will lead a short session of Fitness Club for the Kindergarteners – 3rd Graders. This will be a fun and exciting new challenge. Fitness Club for the teenagers will start back up again after the New Year.

-Mr. Joe

 

 

 

 

 

Queen & Teriana review the book club experience…

Sins of the Father collage

 

My name is Queen Freeman and I’m 12 years old. I’ve been a Girls Inc. member for 5 years. Being a Girls Inc. girl is very enjoyable. You get to make friends who are not in the same school as you and you get to sign up for a lot of different programs and opportunities.  I have had a chance to participate in very many programs such as Techbridge, Art club, B.U.M.P (Bike Union mentoring Project) and much more. This year my most favorite was the book club. During book club we were able to read: Sins of the Father by Theolonious Legend and Teenage Blues and Teenage Blues 3 both by various authors. Being in a book club I’ve been able to work with my friends in book discussions and share how the stories impact us and how we are able to relate to these stories. Sometimes you go in thinking this book is going to be boring and not make sense, but you start reading and you gradually find yourself so focused and attentive that you want to read the book in a day. Because of book club I now have better grammar and I’m more likely to pick up a book and read for fun. It is amazing how a book can capture your imagination and take you on a journey while at home or at Girls Inc.  Everyone should join a book club.

My name is Teriana and I’m 9 years old. I have been a part of Girls Inc. for 3 years. In those 3 years, I’ve been able to attend a lot of fun field trips to the planetarium, baseball games, swimming and shows at the Rose Theater. This year I’m very excited to continue to be a part of a book club. We call it Read and Feed because we get snacks as we read. This summer we read, The Name of this Book is Secret by  Pseudonymous Bosch. The main reason I enjoy book club, is because it is quiet and very relaxing. I get to practice how to pronounce new words that I’ve never seen and learn how to express myself using those words. If you have never joined a book club do it!!  OR  join our Read and Feed at Girls Inc.  You.  Will.  Love.  it.

 

Composting at Girls Inc

As part of the TechBridge program, Girls Inc teens have been making compost. Girls and staff have been collecting and preparing organic materials (egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit peels), and they haven’t been doing it alone:  they’ve had a little help from some worms.

 

Once the worms have finish eating their “worm food,” Ms. Jen will send a fertilized soil sample to a soil testing company to analyze its mineral content.

In the spring, girls will use the compost to fertilize plants in the Girls Inc garden. They will also grow plants in unfertilized soil, and in soil fertlized with manure. This way, girls and staff can observe compare the effect that different fertilizers have on plant growth.

Check back to see our finished compost!