With the Right Mentors, Girls Change Their Futures

One in three children grow up without a mentor of any kind. Yet, studies show that at-risk youth who do have mentors are 35% more likely to see college graduation as attainable. Caring adults who build long-lasting relationships with girls are a core part of Girls Inc. For the girls we serve each year, this means having trained, trusted mentors who are always there to answer questions, open new doors of opportunity, help navigate setbacks, give college and career advice, and listen without judgment.

This month, girls voice their appreciation for the volunteers who help them see their futures as bright and full of promise, often for the first time. These mentoring relationships would not be possible without the individuals, foundations, and corporations who invest in Girls Inc. each year. Because of your support, Girls Inc. girls have mentors who inspire and motivate them to grow up healthy, educated, and independent. To mentor a girl in your life, read and share these mentoring tips.

Denise Kaku Mentor at Seaside High School

I am in my 8th year as a Girls Inc. adult mentor for the high school ECHO program. It took me two years to make the decision to volunteer, but once I started, I realized I had made a great choice. In 2004 I left a career as an organizational development consultant with IRS and was looking for a volunteer opportunity where my skills would match my interests and values.I found out about Girls Inc. through a fundraising luncheon and was quite taken with their mission.

The ECHO program is a very dynamic and robust leadership training experience for young women covering a multitude of subjects such as job interviewing skills, college entrance requirements and girls' health issues, to name a few. I have seen the program grow over the years with new modules added ranging from prevention of violence and abuse to bullying and self-defense.

Our participants volunteer in the community at the Big Sur Half Marathon and the full Marathon in April as part of the Green Team that recycles trash at the events. We encourage the girls to develop their meet and greet skills, make a difference in the environment through educating and recycling and experience the joy of volunteering and giving back to their community.

I partner with Mary Rigmaiden, a Monterey Peninsula College Early Childhood Development professional. She and I have been volunteering at Seaside High School for 7 years.

I am so proud of the youth leaders I have mentored. All have gone on to college, and my first youth leaders from Greenfield are now college graduates from Stanford University and UC Berkeley. Others are at state universities, junior colleges and private colleges.

Why do I continue to volunteer with Girls Inc? Because I can give back to my community by helping young women grow into their leadership potential. I get to bring my expertise and creativity to our program at Seaside High. And I get a deep sense of satisfaction seeing these young women achieve their dreams.

I love my mentoring role and believe it is important for the girls to see successful role models: professional, college trained women who are living productive, successful lives. You just never know what a girl might remember from a conversation or discussion that could have a profound impact at a critical moment in her life. I know my faith and high expectations of these young women does make a difference in building their confidence and self-trust. At our "Graduation" ceremony each year they proudly stand and deliver a 4 minute speech about the program and what it has meant to them. I am amazed and thrilled at the transformation in each participant as they demonstrate poise and confidence, not to mention conquering the fear of public speaking.

I look forward to continuing my relationship with Girls Inc. Denise Kaku


Welcome to Girls Inc. of the Central Coast!

Girls Inc. of the Central Coast is an affiliate of Girls Incorporated, a national organization that has been providing programs for girls since 1864.

Girls Inc. delivers a constellation of programs focused on leadership and self-empowerment for girls ages 8 to 18. Youth Leaders facilitate these programs at 30 school sites in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Alumnae, take our survey!

Alumnae, take our survey!We invite our Girls Inc. alumnae to complete our survey, keep us updated on their activities and give us their feedback and suggestions. It is also a great way to learn about ways to reconnect with Girls Inc. Keep an eye out for information about an alumnae reunion soon!




Recruiting Mentors for the ECHO Leadership Mentoring Program

ECHO is a leadership/mentoring program for tenth and eleventh grade girls. The program encourages these girls to pursue post-secondary education and plan for future careers. The sessions are designed to inspire them to value themselves, to develop an action plan to achieve their goals and dreams, and to begin perceiving themselves as leaders.

Girls Inc. is looking for volunteer women mentors to work with high school girls in the ECHO Leadership Program!

For more information or for an application please contact Elizabeth Contreras at the Girls Inc. office at (831) 772-0882

Click here to view recruiting mentor flyer.

Upcoming Fundraiser


Ways to Support

Partner with us and support our girls in their quest to become strong, smart, and bold.


The Girls Inc. Lucile Miller Wright Scholars Program
has awarded $2.58 million in scholarships to 413 high school women.

Welcome to Girls Inc. Online
Give the girls in your life a safe and enriching experience with the games, quizzes, stories, and an online community at Girls Inc. Online.



70 girls spend a week on a college campus!!

Girls Inc. - Smart Choices Summer Camp 2015

This past month 70 amazing young ladies from all over Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz County attended our one week Smart Choices Summer Camp at CSU Monterey Bay! The week was full of workshops and activities promoting higher education and individual success. Girls learned about high school and college requirements along with substance awareness, nutrition, and positive body image. We also had a workshop on bullying and the negative effects it has on others. There were other activities such as movie night, running clinic, and beach day which the girls really enjoyed! For many of these girls it was the first time they were away from home and we want to congratulate them all for being able to step out of their comfort zone. One participant mentioned, "This program helped me in planning my future. It taught me to never give up and to keep fighting through high school."

We would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors who made the camp possible for our biggest group of summer participants to date!

We also greatly appreciate all of our volunteers and guest speakers who joined us that week.

If you know someone who would like to attend the summer camp or would like to sponsor a girl to attend the program, please contact Girls Inc. at (831) 772-0882