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Mentoring and martial arts: that’s the latest cool combo for 16 of our girls, ages 9-11, twice a week. On Thursdays, several mentors—including college interns, a therapist and a UMass educator—come to the Teen Center and cook up activities for the girls, tagged to their interests. Art projects, board games, read-out-louds, you name it.  

Meanwhile, Mondays feature a Girls Inc. program called “Action for Safety,” which helps the girls build negotiation, assertiveness, and self-defense skills. Martial arts are the big draw here, and the coaching is intense. In fact, at the end of their 10-week session, the girls will each break a board, Bruce Lee-style!