Albany Girls Inc. chosen to participate in forum

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- The national Girls Inc. organization was invited recently to participate in President Obama's "Champions of Change" as an organization that is doing innovative things to make America stronger, according to LaKisha Bryant, executive director of Girls Inc. of Albany.

The selection was for the group's efforts in substance abuse "prevention programming," Bryant said.

In recognition of its time and effort in the program, the national office selected Girls Inc. of Albany to represent the entire organization in a special White House forum that will allow representatives to meet with key officials and discuss Girls Inc. programming and the need to continue prevention programming for youth.

The Albany organization was selected not only because of the amount of time girls and group advisors spent on the abuse prevention programing but also for the quality of its progress and what Bryant called the "environmental element," or the intentional carrying over of skills and information into the community at large.

Bryant and 12-year-old Girls Inc. member Ebony Pettway attended the forum. Pettway was selected to make the trip for the quality of her work on the drug and alcohol prevention program, Bryant said.

According to Bryant, it is Girls Inc.'s intention to "inspire girls to lead safe, healthy and productive lives." She describes the organization's method of achieving that as an "age-appropriate research-based curriculum."

The curriculum is age-appropriate, she said, because the girls are introduced to evolving information as they get older and the information becomes more appropriate. The material is research-based because it has been researched and tested by appropriate sources such as medical centers or laboratories.

"What we do with these kids after school and in a summer setting is not recreation. It's not homework. The girls are involved in 'life skills' programming," Bryant said.

Participating in the forum was "a great opportunity" to talk about the Albany Girls Inc. group and share information with representatives of other organizations. Bryant said she learned a lot about possible partnerships that could be formed with other Albany organizations to advance mutual goals.

Although they did not meet with the president, Bryant and Pettway did meet with key members of Vice President Joe Biden's staff, as well as with members of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the key agency dealing with treatment, prevention and law enforcement issues pertaining to drugs and alcohol, Bryant said.