Girls Inc. of Worcester held its annual “Girls Celebration”, a tradition for over 22 years, on Thursday, March 23rd, at the College of the Holy Cross from 4:30 – 6:30 PM. This event highlights not only the success of Girls Inc. girls, but also provides the community with a snapshot of our progressive, innovative programs and staff that make our organization a vital component in Worcester’s community to make its girls strong, smart, and bold leaders for the future.
Over 100 sponsors and supporters showed up to help us present awards to community champions who have advocated and partnered with Girls Inc. of Worcester this past year: Senator Robyn Kennedy, Strong Advocate Award; Craig Dotting, Principal of Vernon Hill Elementary School, Smart Advocate Award; Diane Giampa, Executive VP at Bay State Savings Bank, Strong Advocate Award; Agnes Nkansah, Outstanding Alumna Award; and Kathy Chen, WPI Executive Director of Stem Education, for Outstanding Community Partner Award.
The event, themed “HERstory in the Making”, allowed Girls Inc. of Worcester the opportunity to not only thank our community champions, but to showcase our key activities and successes throughout the year with food, videos of our activities, and a salute to the Girls Inc experience with a video humorously entitled “Girls Inc. Smells”, a reminiscence of smells that invoke pleasant memories and experiences by our alumnae. The event offered a chance to return to an in-person celebration, which was felt by everyone through the excitement and generosity of our guests.
Guests were entertained by 12 younger girls from our After School and Summer Camp program who sang a favorite camp song, while about 25 girls in our current Eureka! program talked about their experiences and goals for the future with guests.
During the event, Girls Inc. of Worcester also presented two Girls Awards to 2023 Eureka! Graduates who have completed our Eureka! STEM and Leadership program. The Vanessa T. Marcotte Award honors a Girls Inc. of Worcester girl who truly exemplifies Girls Inc.’s mission as well as Vanessa T. Marcotte’s legacy by being ambitious, generous in spirit, brave, and kind. This was awarded to Gianna Degon, who seeks to go into engineering to combat climate change. The second Girls Award, the Valerie S. Loring Girls of the Year Award, recognizes girls who exemplify the qualities of vision and leadership, courage and perseverance, generosity and compassion, and dedication and sincerity. This year, the award went to Syeda Faatima Adnon, who also received the Girls Inc National Scholarship.
In her acceptance speech, Faatima epitomized the heart of Girls Inc. or Worcester and its 100+ years of support and advocacy for girls in Worcester: “Eureka is consistently embodying and encoding the slogan of smart, strong and bold into each and every one of its participants. Eureka has allowed me to build amazing connections, including lifelong friendships, and is able to provide that safe space where you’re able to push your boundaries, knowing there’s people behind you in case you stumble. I believe that empowering girls and young women is crucial to creating a more just and equitable society, and I am honored to be a part of this mission.”
The “HERstory in the Making” evening was a reminder of the value of our sponsors and supporters who provide us with the ability to continue to be a strong, smart, and bold influence on our young women of Worcester.