Girls Inc. of the Valley received a $25k donation from the Panera Bread Foundation to support the college access mentorship component of their Eureka!: Strong, Smart and Bold Science for Girls program.
Girls Inc. of the Valley’s vision is of an equitable society where girls can explore career choices that are not defined by or limited by their gender. College Access Now (CAN), the college access mentorship component of Eureka!, was created in response to feedback from Eureka! Participants, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college, indicating that they felt overwhelmed by the college application process.
This gift from the Panera Bread Foundation will be used to make the college application process simpler by funding the following:
● A Eureka! Saturday in-person trip to UMass to do a ‘college application boot camp’ with the Diversity Fellows in the Admissions Department
● Purchase Chromebooks to loan to participants who do not have their own computers. Supplies and technology necessary for college success are unaffordable for many participants
● A graduation celebration for Girls CAN participants
“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with the Panera Bread Foundation to support and strengthen our communities,” said Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Executive Director, Suzanne Parker. “Our Eureka! program has demonstrated positive outcomes in enabling and empowering participants through college readiness, skill building, leadership development and mentoring. We are so grateful for the Panera Bread Foundation’s investment in this program.”
100% of the girls who completed Eureka! in 2021 graduated high school on time, compared with 82% of girls in Springfield and 76% of girls in Holyoke. And 89% are attending college this fall, compared with 57% of girls in Springfield and 65% of girls in Holyoke. The combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and evidence-based programming equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers while growing up healthy, educated, and independent.