For Girls Offers Summer Program for 80 girls in Southwest
Detroit in grades K-7
Detroit Free Press, May 1, 2003
For more articles like this
It's not easy
being a schoolgirl these days, and when you live in an area
where kids drop out of school at an alarming rate and girls
often become pregnant at an early age, it's even tougher.
That's where Alternatives for Girls comes in.
The nonprofit organization's summer program, based in southwest
Detroit, is designed to give girls from kindergarten through the
seventh grade the courage and skills to make good lives for
"It's a nice mix of learning things in a fun way," says Judy
Vindici, director of the neighborhood prevention program.
"They're challenged, but it's always a nice kind of stretch."
The program runs three days a week for 6 weeks and has
activities for different age groups.
Tuesdays are devoted to athletics.
On Wednesdays, the youngest girls work on reading and learning
to get along with their classmates, while the middle school
group of girls read a book, rewrite it into play form, design
costumes and scenery and act in the play or make puppets to act
Last year, when she was 11, Vanessa Martinez made puppets.
"Mine were a girl and a sheep," she says.
The oldest girls talk about how they are going to make the
transition to high school and make their dreams come true.
Everyone ends the day in jewelry-making, cooking or learning how
The older girls are given life-size dolls programmed to be as
annoying as a baby can be, and each must meet all her doll's
needs for a couple of days.
"I had a girl call three hours after she was issued the doll
begging us to take it away," Vindici says.
Thursdays are for field trips.
What Vanessa, a good swimmer, liked best was a trip to a water
"They had water slides, one where where you need a float and one
where you don't," she says. "And there was a wave pool."
The program is open to 80 girls in southwest Detroit, first
come, first served.
"We have a waiting list every single year," Vindici says.
The program is run jointly with the nonprofit Mercy Education
Project, and last year, two of the teachers were women who had
been in the program as girls.
Vanessa doesn't know whether she'll go back as an adult, but she
knows what she wants to be when she grows up.
"I'm going to be a lawyer," she said firmly. By Jeanne May
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call Alternatives for Girls at
313-361-4000, ext. 275.
80 swimming class supplies / $17 each
40 drama and puppet supplies / $25 each
80 arts and crafts materials / $28 each
80 classroom books, tutoring materials / $16.50 each
Meals and snacks for 80 girls for 19 days / $4 per girl per day
80 T-shirts / $10.50 each
25 birdhouse building materials and supplies / $20 each
80 field trip admissions / $15 each
Transportation costs / Six 8-hour weeks at $35 an hour
Field trip buses 7 trips, 2 buses / $2,940
80 photography class materials / $5 each
Sports facility costs / $2,500
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