What a difference a century makes. The last 100 years have brought many major changes to our world in areas of technology, government, population, inventions, entertainment, health care, and transportation.

The Girls Inc. history began in New England during the Industrial Revolution to provide programs for young women who moved to the area in search of jobs in textile mills and factories.

When the world was in chaos during the Depression, Girls Club centers were warm, friendly places where girls could forget their troubles. Programming in the early days was focused on recreation and on preparing girls for their future roles as wives and homemakers.

In 1916, Emma D. Harris was part of the positive changes for women in the Worcester, MA area as she donated her home at 67 Lincoln Street to form the Worcester Girls Club.

One early member of the Worcester center said, "I remember doing chores to earn my weekly five cent fee so that I could attend the program. I went without candy, gum, ice cream and movies so that I could belong. Because I knew there was a place for me, and always felt as though the club wanted me."

It has evolved over the past century in many ways and now operates as Girls Inc. of Worcester, but its mission to invest in girls and make life better for them has always been the foundation of the organization.

The role of women in our society has seen many positive changes since the 1900’s as women have become healthier, educated, and independent. Women have become stronger, as they have learned to value themselves more when making choices and decisions and meeting challenges that will affect their future. Women have become more educated, as they pursue careers in what were once fields dominated by men. Women have become more bold and confident, as they embrace their own gifts and uniqueness and believe in themselves.

To move forward and meet the challenges of the next 100 years, we need to celebrate and commemorate the achievements of our first century.

Discover the history of Girls Inc. of Worcester from its start in 1916 through its 100th anniversary in 2016, with local and national milestones.

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