A new home with room to grow
We are delighted to have secured the former O’Connell building at 480 Hampden Street in Holyoke as a permanent home for Girls Inc. of the Valley. Purchasing and renovating the building allows us to combine our two center-based programs in one new highly visible location.
With 16,000 sq.ft. for program space for girls ages 5-18 and for administrative offices, a backyard for outdoor activities, a City park across the street, and parking for 58 vehicles, 480 Hampden Street will meet our needs far into the future.
The transformative impact on girls, families and staff in this new center will include:
- A building full of activity year-round – offering Holyoke elementary and teen programs during the week, and bringing girls from Chicopee, Springfield and elsewhere to Holyoke for weekend and summer programming.
- 1,000+ girls from under-resourced communities in the Valley will now have access to the many learning opportunities that Girls Inc. provides.
- Our elementary, middle and high school girls will be under one roof. The advantages are endless for the girls, staff, and families who have more than one child in our program.
- Our new home base will provide the infrastructure to support staff who work off-site in our school partnership program. We will be able to more than double the number of girls we reach with the life-changing Girls Inc. Experience.
This will be a true home for all girls in the Valley.
Exterior Entryway for the Girls
The eye-catching sheltered entryway will be where girls enter the building, separate from the staff entrance on Hampden Street. With convenient parking, families will use this entrance for drop off and pick up, making it easy for girls from throughout Hampden County to participate in Girls Inc.’s programs. Girls Inc. celebrates the similarities and differences among girls and welcomes girls of every background and ability.
Bienvenido – Welcome for Girls
The first thing girls see as they enter the building is this welcoming space, where they will be greeted and checked in. Visible through large windows, the bright café and kitchen will feature culturally diverse food choices and be used for learning about nutrition, cooking and healthy eating. Families will gather on occasion with the girls over a meal and share in the Girls Inc. Experience.
This double-sized (approximately 800 sq. ft.) multipurpose room is across from the Makerspace and the Library/Learning Center. The space is large enough to host the elementary, middle and high school girls together, whether they are gathering for peer mentoring or for a celebration. Suitable for both small and large group activities, the Community Room will be the site for healthy living programming, including dance, active games, yoga and meditation.
Our cutting-edge Makerspace will be a magnet for girls of all ages. In keeping with Girls Inc.’s focus on getting girls excited about STEM and STEM careers, this space is dedicated to educational and FUN hands-on activities. The Makerspace will be a cornerstone of our Eureka! program, where 8th grade girls begin a 5 year STEM journey toward a future full of possibilities. We are proud to announce that a Eureka! teen was just accepted to the highly competitive UMass School of Engineering, and will be receiving the first ever Girls Inc. Engineering Scholarship!
This space for teen girls to call their own will be a relaxed and empowering environment, full of college readiness resources. A diverse range of teen-centered programs will happen here, including the weekly meetings of the newly launched Teen Advocacy Board, where 15 teen members will learn and share about issues they face in their communities, taking action together while honing their leadership skills.
Girls Inc. has assembled a dynamic team to transform 480 Hampden Street into Girls Inc. of the Valley’s new home: Girls Inc. board member Chris Boino, president of Western Builders; Aelan Tierney, principal of Kuhn Riddle Architects (a women-owned business) with extensive experience in developing youth/childcare facilities, serving as project architect; and Frank Quigley, president of F.A. Quigley & Associates, with 40+ years of project management experience.
Renderings courtesy of