How This Woman Is Creating Space For Girls to Connect

Making the switch to doing everything online has been challenging, Erikka said, especially when taking into consideration the needs of the communities that the Girls Club serves. “The challenges of virtual programming are of course being on the computer all day, screen time exhaustion, and access to devices,” she said. “Many of our members didn’t have their own computer or tablet for weeks after schools closed.”

Yet, the move to digital has also come with some surprisingly positive outcomes. “Some beautiful and creative exchanges have also come out of virtual programs,” Erikka said. “Our members have attended virtual seminars, conducted virtual interviews, hosted and participated in panels, and shared their art, poetry, and dance moves all on screen. It is a joy to feel so connected even when we are far apart.”

Erikka is also working on ways to keep people connected to what they would normally be able to experience at the Girls Club — their newest initiative is Weekly Wellness Kits, boxes filled with necessities for the families who frequent the club. “It includes cash infusions, healthy meals made in our culinary center, non-perishable staples, fresh eggs and pasta from a local organic farm, and supplies and program kits with activities to do at home,” Erikka said. Program kits include computers, notebooks, art supplies, plant starters, and embroidery kits. To date, they’ve given out over 2,500 boxes and served almost 15,000 meals in collaboration with other community food giveaways. “Wellness in every form is so important right now,” said Erikka. “Our community needs to be well in order to survive.”

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