Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Empowering the Next Generation of Women Builders


It’s no secret that the construction industry has historically been dominated by men. But that’s starting to change. As girls see more women breaking into and leading in the skilled trades, they can see themselves in these essential careers. Empowering girls to go for what they feel passionate about, but perhaps have previously been deterred from due to societal norms, is critical to leveling the playing field. And to really hit the nail on the head, we must create more opportunities for girls to learn about the wide array of possibilities for their futures—and the skills, education, and training they’ll need to get there.

Let’s look at some concrete (😉) evidence that points to the industry’s current lack of opportunity for girls and women:
  • FACT: Only 11% of construction workers and 27% of architecture and engineering professionals are women, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, while just 9% of National Association of Home Builders members are women.
  • FACT: According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “A majority (62%) of contractors report high difficulty finding skilled workers, up from 55% who said the same last quarter (and up 20 points year-over-year).”
Girl Scouts and The Home Depot Foundation are on a mission to fill the skilled labor gap and diversify the workforce. Best place to start? You guessed it—by creating, strengthening, and amplifying opportunities for girls in the construction industry! Our friends at The Home Depot Foundation hosted pilot workshops in three markets for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador-level Girl Scouts in 8th to 12th grade, providing introductory trades training experience and career education to participants. Girl Scouts built ADA-compliant picnic tables from scratch under the watchful eye of women industry professionals who served as inspiring role models. Check out their tool-riffic progress in a photo recap below:

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto


First things first—let’s get the measurements right.


And definitely leave a mark!

Girl Scouts of Colorado


#SquadGoals


Getting help from women industry leaders is the best!

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta


Tools, camera, action!

Finished product looks great.

Gold Award Girl Scout Alexis Bartley beautifully summarized the initiative: “Programs such as Girl Scouts and Path to Pro provide a gateway for women in construction by recognizing our role not through stereotypes but through the lens of raw ability.”

But wait, there’s more! The Home Depot Foundation is also offering scholarship opportunities to high school seniors (you don’t have to be a Girl Scout to qualify) as part of its recently announced Path to Pro scholarship program, which grants financial assistance to eligible candidates for trade colleges or postsecondary programs. Scholarship recipients are selected quarterly (i.e., June 30, September 30, December 30, and March 31), so there’s plenty of time to submit your application.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

What You Need to Know this Mental Health Awareness Month




May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and recent studies show that girls are disproportionally affected by the increasing mental health crisis in America.

After almost two years of dealing with the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic—along with mounting pressures at school, home, and socially—there is so much going on in the world that can take a toll on your girl's mental wellness. In fact, this past October, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Children's Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children's mental health.

Here are some things you should know about the youth mental health crisis right now:
  1. The Surgeon General issued a General Advisory report, “Protecting Youth Mental Health (2021),” where they found that youth symptoms of depression and anxiety have doubled during the pandemic.
  2. According to the CDC, ER visits for suspected suicide attempts increased more than 50% among girls ages 12–17 in early 2021 compared to 2019.
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) data shows nearly 90% of parents are now prioritizing their child's mental health over academic achievement. Yet teachers are tapped and therapists have patient waitlists up to a year long.
  4. Research shows that one in six youth/adolescents will experience a mental health condition at any given time (NAMI, JAMA Pediatrics).
While these numbers are alarming, there is some good news: there is plenty we can do. From intentionally focusing and prioritizing your girl's mental wellness to reaching out to experts for help, we have the tools to get ahead of this ongoing crisis. Keep in mind that regardless of girls' developmental stages, it is important to include experiences where they can participate in activities, find a sense of social support, and build strong relationships.

As Girl Scouts, we take action on matters we believe in and understand the importance of mental wellness. That is why we created the Mental Wellness and Inclusion Portal. From programs designed for all grade levels to training for adults, you and your girl can participate in various activities, receive support from peers, and build social-emotional skills—all in a physically and psychologically safe environment.

Here are just a few things you will find:

Available now:
  • Resilient. Ready. Strong.—A program where girls of all ages can earn a patch by completing a variety of activities that cover ten skills that may lift their mood, calm them down when they’re stressed, and help them face challenges.
  • Modernized Daisy petals—Say hello to our updated Daisy petal badges! Made specifically for girls in kindergarten and first grade, updated for the first time in over a decade. These badges cover important topics like inclusion, sisterhood, and the development of age-appropriate social-emotional skills.
  • Paint Your World Purple with Kristen Bell and Girl Scouts—A unique virtual event providing an opportunity to learn about the importance of being inquisitive, having a great work ethic, being your true self, and developing connections with others. Kristen Bell will take new and returning Girl Scouts alike on an adventure through the five steps to becoming a "purple person," chat about what it means to be a Girl Scout, and engage in fun activities to show the importance of being both.
  • Delivering Inclusive Program training—Girl Scout troop leaders will receive new training with an intentional focus on best practices for creating inclusive environments. The updated content—developed in partnership with DEIA experts and mapped to education standards—elevates learnings around gender, race, disability inclusion, cultural appropriation, and more.
Coming in Summer 2022 and Summer 2023:

GSUSA's new partnerships with expert organizations in mental wellness will better prepare girls and adults across the country to deal with the mental health crisis personally, as mentors, and as peers. "The National Council applauds GSUSA for recognizing that young girls are under a tremendous amount of pressure right now. Rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, and loneliness are soaring among young people,” National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “Providing evidence-based early intervention and prevention training like MHFA provide trusted adults with the resources to help young people cope with the traumatic stressors caused by the pandemic.”

All great opportunities and resources that develop foundational knowledge and skills to support mental wellness for both girls and adults.

Check out more programs and resources here.

Developed in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of nearly 3,200 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults, and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 2.6 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

The David and Lura Lovell Foundation is a family foundation established in 1994 that funds high-impact initiatives nationwide in four focus areas: mental health, integrative health and wellness, youth access to the arts, and gender parity.
Friday, April 22, 2022

The Girl Scout Tree Promise: It’s not a Moment. It’s a Movement



What happens when Girl Scouts come together? You guessed it—incredible things! When we use our collective power for good, we can make a difference in our communities and globally.

The Girl Scout Tree Promise, now a national service project, is a bold environmental and conversation initiative led by YOU—girls, volunteers, and supporters. In the past year, thousands of Girl Scouts have done their part for the planet. TOGETHER, we’ve planted over 44,666 trees around the world, including in all 50 states—and we’re just getting started.

Here are just a few highlights showcasing your passion and dedication:

Why bother with planting more trees? Planting trees can be one of the solutions to climate change and species loss. However, the climate change clock is ticking, and more action is needed from governments, corporations, and local communities to make a lasting impact for generations to come. All over the world, forests are losing their ability to thrive and grow back on their own due to the challenges climate change presents, including wildfires, droughts, severe changes in temperature, and other natural disasters. In cities, trees help cool communities, reducing the heat island effect created by buildings, machines, and pavement that hold heat. Planting more trees can help provide climate change mitigation and benefit our communities, especially in underserved neighborhoods. According to Yale Climate Connection’s blog, “Low-income communities, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, older or very young people, women—all can be more susceptible to risks posed by climate impacts like raging storms and floods, increasing wildfire, severe heat, poor air quality, access to food and water, and disappearing shorelines.”


There’s so much more trees can do for us. Planting millions of new trees can amplify the impact of existing trees and forests, further cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gases and pollution, preventing erosion, and providing wildlife habitats—essentially, working environmental magic. And the more people who value trees, the more people to plant and protect them. Honoring trees multiplies your efforts to fight climate change.

From Daisies to Ambassador Girl Scouts—even adult members and partners—every member and friend of the Movement can take action and participate in the Girl Scout Tree Promise! Can you think of one friend you can invite to plant or honor a tree in your neighborhood? Ask them to join you or your troop and unlock the special 2022 Girl Scout Tree Promise patch.

We believe in protecting the only planet we have—that’s the Girl Scout Law. Here is how you can get started:

1. Take the Girl Scout Tree Promise and plant, protect, or honor trees.
Not sure how to find trees near you? No problem. Scroll down to the “Additional Resources” section for extra help.

2. Record the trees you plant in the online tree tracker.

3. Visit the Girl Scout Shop for your Girl Scout Tree Promise patch.

If one Girl Scout following her dream of planting trees and making an impact on climate change is powerful, then imagine what 1.7 million Girl Scouts can do! Together we have a chance to impact the wellbeing of our planet, achieve climate justice, and create a ripple effect of positive change that will be felt by generations to come. The power is in your hands! Ready, set, plant! #GirlScoutTreePromise

The Girl Scout Tree Promise is made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project and Johnson & Johnson Foundation.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Kristen Bell Paints the World Purple with the Help of Girl Scouts

Award-winning actor, best-selling author, and Girl Scout alum Kristen Bell thinks the world needs more of something: Girl Scouts. And she’s hoping they’re ready to paint the world purple.


“Part of the Girl Scout Promise is to help people at all times, and I think the world not only needs more Purple People, but it needs helpers, too,” Kristen said. “Whether that’s helping your family, helping your community, or simply helping yourself by being kind, that’s something that has always stayed with me.”

But wait—what’s a Purple Person? Kristen and her friend and co-author, Benjamin Hart, answer this question in their book, The World Needs More Purple People, and their upcoming book, The World Needs More Purple Schools, which comes out on June 21.


 Ready to help Kristen Bell paint the world purple? Girl Scouts who join or renew their membership by May 13 can sign up for an exclusive virtual event with Kristen on May 19 called Kristen Bell and Girl Scouts: Paint Your World Purple. During the event, she’ll show why Girl Scouts and Purple People make a perfect pair.

“We share a common simple goal—make the world a better place,” she said. “Purple People and Girl Scouts are like peanut butter and jelly—we’re a great combination!”

Want to know a little secret before the event? Here it is: if you’re a Girl Scout, it’s likely you’re already a Purple Person! Purple People ask thoughtful questions, laugh a lot, use their voice, work hard, and are true to themselves. They’re a lot like Kristen, actually.

“I like to think that I’m pretty hardworking and industrious,” Kristen explained. “I like to be busy, and I like to help people achieve their goals. A movie or a TV show is all about a team coming together to achieve a common goal—a great final product—so I think being a good team player and always being open to learning and changing and adjusting has been really helpful to me and my collaborators.”

As a Girl Scout alum, being a Purple Person is something Kristen does in her daily life too—especially when making new friends (something Girl Scouts know all about).


“Whenever I meet a new person, I try to learn their story,” she said. “I think collecting as many stories as possible makes everyone’s world bigger and better. Listening to others helps me gain perspective and understanding. I try to see the commonalities I have with those around me while also learning about what makes us each unique.”

Kristen is a role model of what it means to be a Purple Person, and while movie and TV sets are an excellent place to practice her skills, the idea for the book came from somewhere a lot closer to home.

“My friend Benjamin and I wanted to explain to our kids that at a time when the world seems quite divisive, we can still find commonalities and have respectful, open dialogues about things we disagree about,” Kristen said. “We wanted to teach our kids about our collective humanity.”

Being a good citizen of the world and finding ways to make it a better place are things Girl Scouts and Purple People do every single day for one simple reason:

“No one lives on this planet alone,” Kristen explained. “We have a responsibility to share Earth, and it is an honorable goal to do our best to make it a little better for ourselves and everyone around us. It’s a shared world and making it better should be a shared goal.”

And if the world gets painted purple along the way, all the better. 

Hear more from Kristen Bell during the members-only virtual event on Thursday, May 19. Registration is open now through May 13 for Kristen Bell and Girl Scouts: Paint Your World Purple. 







Monday, April 18, 2022

7 Financial Tips You Need to Know Now from Girl Scout Alum Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz

I’m often asked, “What are the most important things girls should know when it comes to personal finance?” It’s a great question, especially since I’ve always been focused on empowering young women to take charge of their financial futures. And it’s timely, too, with April being Financial Literacy Month. So here are my favorite financial tips, especially for girls and young women just starting out:

      1. Put your goals on paper. It may sound basic, but it works. To turn dreams and ideas into real goals, write them down. Not only will it help you think concretely, but it will also be a source of motivation, and will ultimately provide the framework for a plan of action.

One way to approach it is to think in timeframes: short, medium, and longer-term goals. Short-term goals are things you want to achieve in a year or less, like buying a new bike or computer. Mid-term goals can be one to three years away, such as saving up for a special trip or a car. And long-term goals aim ten years out or more, like saving for college or even retirement, depending on how old you are.

Once you have your goals, attach a realistic estimate of how much each will cost. The main point is to work toward something tangible and realistic, where you can chart your progress to achieve your goal within a specific time period.

      2. Spend less than you make. I’m a big believer in living below your means, and a budget can help you do that. You can use the 50/30/20 rule as a guide. This means spending 50% (or less) of your income on things you need, 30% (or less) on things you want, and reserving at least 20% for savings. 

      Having a budget puts you in control of your finances by helping you prioritize and balance your income and savings.

      3. Prepare for the unexpected with an emergency fund. An emergency fund is “just in case” money. Financial surprises inevitably come up. Not being financially prepared can make a bad situation worse. When you’re just starting out, aim to save $100 first then $500, working your way up to $1,000 and beyond. Eventually you’ll want your emergency fund to be able to cover 3–6 months of important expenses.

Keep your emergency fund in a safe place where it’s easy to access. A regular bank savings account, money market account, or short-term CDs are great places to stash your savings. And remember, your emergency fund should strictly be used for emergencies.

      4. You need to save and invest. Saving is critical, but don’t stop there. You need to invest your money—the earlier you start, the better, thanks to the “magic” of compound growth. Compound growth creates a snowball effect, as the original investments plus the income earned from those investments grow together.

You can use the rule of 72 to see how fast money can compound. Simply divide 72 by your rate of return to see how long it takes for your money to double in value. For example, if you had $1,000 that was earning a 6 percent return, it would grow to $2,000 in 12 years (72 divided by 6 equals 12).

When you invest in stocks, you’re investing in businesses that provide different goods and services that people want and need. And as an investor, you are a part owner of the companies you invest in. As companies grow and flourish, you stand to benefit.

Investing in the stock market can feel scary, mysterious, and risky. But there’s a bigger risk of not reaching your goals if you don’t invest. Investing is pretty simple if you follow some basic steps. Learn how to get started at schwabmoneywise.com.

      5. Diversify. Because no one knows the future and the stock market can be so volatile, it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket when you invest. Diversifying means putting your money in different kinds of investments (stocks, bonds, cash), in different places (international, domestic), and different kinds of companies (manufacturing, technology, health care, etc.) so that all your money doesn’t go up or down at the same time.

Diversification can help protect you against losses from different kinds of investment risks, but like anything involving investments, it’s no guarantee. That said, it can help reduce overall investing risk.

      6. Manage debt wisely. Debt can be a useful tool to accomplish your financial goals if you use it wisely. There are two kinds of debt: good debt and bad debt.

Good debt is borrowing with low interest rates and low fees to help you build wealth and take advantage of more opportunities. Some examples of good debt are student loans you take out to attend college in order to improve your knowledge and skills, a mortgage to buy a home that will eventually increase in value, or a loan to buy a dependable car so that you can get back and forth to work and make more money. But keep in mind that borrowing too much can turn good debt into bad.

Bad debt is high interest borrowing with high fees that hurts wealth and can back you into a corner. Payday loans, pawn shops, and rent-to-own shops are some good examples of bad debt. For instance, a typical two-week payday loan with a $15 charge per every $100 that you borrow equates to an annual percentage rate (APR) of almost 400 percent!

Credit cards can be useful tools in managing your finances, but they generally carry high interest rates, so you need to use them carefully and wisely. The annual percentage rate (APR) on credit cards can range from about 12 percent to about 30 percent. When thinking about opening a credit card, it is important to note that carrying a credit card balance can encourage you to live an unsustainable lifestyle. Anything you buy with your credit card will eventually be paid for out of your money! 

As a general rule, you should avoid interest charges by never carrying a credit card balance over into the next month. Instead, only charge what you can pay off in full each month. And always pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and penalties, which can add up quickly. Paying your bills late or skipping payments may seem like a short-term solution but can cause big problems for you down the road that can not only affect your credit score, but also your ability to buy a house or rent an apartment, get a job or promotion, and even the amount you pay for insurance.

      7. Be patient. Whether you’re investing in your own skills through school or at work, paying off a debt, or investing in the stock market, it often takes time for you to see results. Patience can keep you focused on reaching your goals.

For example, constantly checking your investments can lead you astray from buying low and selling high as an investor. The more you look, the more likely you are to become distracted from your long-term goals and do the opposite (sell low and buy high) during inevitable stock market declines.

It’s time in the market (getting in and staying in), not timing the market (guessing when to get in and out of the market) that’s the name of the game when it comes to investing.

By being patient and disciplined with your money—as with just about anything you do in life—you can reach unimaginable heights.


I wish you all the best on your journey!


The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own individual situation before making any investment decision. 

(#0422-2FNR)

Girl Scouts of the USA is teaming up with Charles Schwab and its Founder to help bridge the financial literacy gap for Girl Scouts in grades K–12. With Charles Schwab’s support, Girl Scouts from all backgrounds will strengthen their money management skills and enhance their financial literacy, setting them up for financial success.

To help build girls’ confidence, Girl Scouts has developed Financial Literacy badges that your girl can start earning today! The badge activities are based on real-life situations, such as budgeting and philanthropy, to give girls a deeper understanding of financial literacy power their future life success!

 

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