EDINBURG - In response to the growing need to provide young women with the necessary skills to “say no” to drugs, alcohol and raise awareness and prevent human trafficking, Boys & Girls Club of Edinburg RGV is implementing #Girlstrong.

The goal of #Girlstrong is to help girls develop healthy attitudes and lifestyles. To accomplish this, the Club’s youth development professional works with 15-30 girls ages 8-17 to address health and social issues that are specific to female Club members using the SMART Girls and NetSmartz program.  This approach considers the girls physiological, mental and emotional needs and is intended to help them make positive decisions at this critical stage in their development.

“#Girlstrong is exactly the kind of approach we’ve been looking for to reach our younger female members,” said Sabrina Walker Hernandez, CEO, Boys & Girls of Edinburg RGV. “We have a great deal of confidence in the effectiveness of the approach because it’s based upon the award-winning SMART Moves program that we’ve had in place for more than 20 years.”

It is important at this stage of a girl’s life to offer guidance and help, especially in the areas of social and health-related behaviors. For girls at this age, making a positive transition depends upon several factors: self-esteem and self-confidence; attitudes about their bodies; developing practical life skills; opportunities to contribute to their communities; and the influence of positive female mentors/role models in their lives. As always, it is crucial that sensitive and complex issues be addressed with sensitivity in a safe environment.

#Girlstrong is being funded by the generous support of the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division through Boys & Girls Clubs Texas Alliance.