Bill of Rights
Girls have the right to be themselves
and to resist gender stereotypes.
Girls have the right to express themselves
with originality and enthusiasm.
Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely,
and to take pride in success.
Girls have the right to accept and
appreciate their bodies.
Girls have the right to have confidence in
themselves and to be safe in the world.
Girls have the right to prepare for interesting
work and economic independence.
Girls Incorporated of Lakeland offers daily after school and summer programs for girls in grades K-12 in West Polk County. We inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that equip them to overcome gender, economic, and social barriers. Our program incorporates learning into fun activities, while empowering our girls to reach their full potential and to understand, value, and assert their rights.
Board of Directors
PAL RIVERS POWELL
President & CEO
DEAN KIRKLAND MCMILLAN
CHRYSTAL MARTIN THORNTON
Chandra Learns to Stand Tall and Speak Up
Chandra wishes she had started Girls Inc. in elementary school — recalling her middle school and high school years at Girls Inc. with much fondness. An alumnae of Girls Inc. of Lakeland in Florida, Chandra became involved thanks to friends who were part of the program and her aunt who was the executive director.
Now, an urban planning Director for her county, she draws on the many lessons learned during her time at Girls Inc. and the confidence she built that now translates into her career, every day.
“I learned to stand tall and speak up – literally. In my career as an Urban Planner, I often have to speak before crowds of people. Sometimes, the crowds are not happy about changes being proposed in their neighborhoods,” she continued. “It is vital that I stand tall and speak up so that I get my points across and that I ensure my audiences that I know what I am talking about.“
Being a part of a pro-girl environment also taught Chandra that “she never had to make excuses for being a girl or a woman.” Her field of work is male-dominated but she has fought for her right, and the rights of other women, to be a leading presence in the industry. During her time working she has seen more and more women starting their own construction companies and knows that these women are role models for young girls who dream of one day doing what they do.
Chandra has accomplished so much since her time at Girls Inc. She has worked for the county for 12 years, starting as an urban planner and after just three years advancing to Director. She credits the mentors in her life, starting at Girls Inc. and now at her job, who encouraged her to grow. Married and with two sons, she says that Girls Inc has even played a role in her children’s success, passing along much of what she learned at Girls Inc. to them.
I learned so much through Girls Inc. If I had to highlight a few, I would express how much Girls Inc. helped me with my confidence; to know that I owe no apology for being a girl or woman and that my body or gender doesn’t define me.”
Are you a Girls Inc. alumna? Share how Girls Inc. impacted your life and shaped who you are today. Tell us about your latest accomplishments and how you are inspiring other girls.
Girls Incorporated of Lakeland, formerly the Girls Club of Lakeland, Inc. was founded in 1971. For the past 46 years, our mission of providing girls in grades K-12 a safe place to learn, play, and grow has not changed. Our beginnings were humble in remodeled barracks. The need for a program like ours in the Lakeland community was evident and our enrollment expanded such that the old barracks could no longer support our program. After a successful capital campaign in 1987-1988, we moved into a new 5,000 square foot facility equipped with classrooms, three workstation kitchen, dance room, large multi-purpose game room, with plenty of outdoor space and an outdoor swimming pool. The new facility greatly enhanced our ability to serve our community. Persons instrumental in making sure that our girls had a nice facility reflective of our program needs were the late George Jenkins, founder of Publix Super Markets and his family; the late William and Mark Hollis and many other individuals and businesses in our community.
In 2013, we expanded our services to Bartow and the neighboring communities when we purchased a vacant daycare facility. After acquiring the property, our board of trustees secured a loan to renovate the facility to serve the girls in the Bartow and neighboring community. This beautiful one story building includes a game room, plenty of classroom space, a kitchen, an adjacent art room and plenty of outdoor space.
For the past 46 years, Girls Incorporated of Lakeland has been the only place in West Polk County where girls and young women have access to daily after school and summer programming that addresses their educational, health, vocational, leadership and character development needs.