A New Way to Support Mothers

A new addition to AWF’s Women’s Pathway to Success grantee cohort is Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta and we’re incredibly excited about their two generational program that is helping girls to continue their education while allowing their mothers to continue to work during the pandemic, even with school closings. Guest contributor Shanita Miller, Director of Development of Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, shares how the organization was able to innovate during the pandemic in order to support the girls, and their mothers, they serve.

Girls Inc. University is an Academic Day Support or Virtual Day program that was developed because of the pandemic. Just as many other Girls Inc. affiliates had done, with the announcement of the pandemic we converted all our programs to virtual ones and reached out to our families to see how we could help. In the beginning, our mothers needed internet service, school supplies, and help in locating community resources. However, as the 2020-21 school year was about to begin, our mothers’ needs shifted.

Mothers who were obligated to take off work earlier in the spring, were now faced with the dilemma of trying to return to work while also finding accommodations for their daughters who would be doing online learning from home. How would they support them at home with their online learning? How would they be able to return to work if the schools were still closed? That is what motivated us to create our current Girls Inc. Virtual Day program.

This program was designed to directly support mothers returning to work by giving their girls a safe place to complete their online school assignments and engage in safe social interaction. The girls are monitored by our facilitators who assist with online/network issues, ensure the girls are present in their virtual classrooms, ensure timely assignment submittals, and engage in fun sports/activities during their break time.

With the help of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF), we were able to provide need-based scholarships to those who needed this service alleviating tuition costs for hardworking mothers.

Since the launch of this program, we have been able to fund 15+ metro-Atlanta girls with partial or full-tuition scholarships. This program has not only supported mothers and girls in their online learning, but it has also provided girls with emotional and mental support outside of their coursework by giving them the opportunity to safely socialize and a safe place to engage in social emotional learning activities at the center.

This program reinforces that girls can grow strong, smart, and bold when they have adequate support and resources—even during a pandemic.

Success Story

Meah Pettaway

Virtual Day Student Meah Pettaway named Scholar of the Month!

Meah was chosen as the February Scholar of the Month for Ms. Jones’ class at the International Academy of Smyrna. Her mother, Thea, credits the efforts of the Girls Inc. Virtual Day Program for unexpected award. We are thankful that Thea chose Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta to support her daughter’s online learning.

Shanita Miller is a versatile development professional with 9+ years of experience in the non-profit sector overseeing fundraising, special events, and corporate sponsorship. She currently serves at as the Director of Development at Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, a national organization whose mission is to inspire ALL girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Prior to Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, Shanita was the Interim Executive Director at the Alliance Francaise of Atlanta, where she had also previously served as their Director of Development and Outreach for several years. There she served as the organization’s head of fundraising and spearheaded their largest cultural and fundraising events: Africa Belle and Bastille Day.

Shanita holds a Bachelor’s in French and International Relations from Wesleyan College and a Master’s in Leadership & Human Development from The George Washington University in Leadership & Human Development. She also holds various certifications in Fundraising, Volunteer Management, and Special Events from the Georgia Center for Non-profits.