Spark Plugs and Blow Torches: All Possible in a Girls Inc. World
By Wennicha Yang and Jazmyn Becker, YWCA Girls and Youth Staff
Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.
Throughout the school year, Girls Inc. participants at YWCA Minneapolis have the opportunity to take part in fun and free workshops that expose them to STEM and nontraditional career fields. Girls Inc. knows that hands on experiences from women leaders encourage girls to follow their career dreams and resist gender stereotypes.
Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive Girls Inc. Auto Clinic
At the Girls Inc. Auto Clinic youth participated in various car maintenance activities including how to check and change tires, how to check the oil and engine fluids and how to change out spark plugs.
For some it was the first time they opened the hood of a car and discovered what was underneath. As Mikya* shared, “I thought it would be hard, but I realized these are things I can do on my own!”
The girls also had the chance to speak with a female mechanic at the shop to learn more about her career in auto mechanics. Turbo Tim’s Anything Automotive volunteered their time and their workshop space to empower girls in the community and show them they could care for a car independently. As one girl shared, “I’m going to go home and check my Dad’s oil!”
Power Girls with the Construction Careers Foundation
Twenty-nine Girl’s Inc. participants attended a full day at Dunwoody College to learn from female engineers, electricians, plumbers and construction workers. Although timid and unaware of their abilities at first, the girls were excited to learn how to use blow torches and cut copper pipes, creating their very own jewelry stand. Girls were also trained how to create on and off switches through wire working. They also practiced hammering nails through wood, cement and drywall.
Through the mentorship from the tradeswomen, many of the girls felt empowered to be strong, smart and bold. Lalika* expressed feeling proud because she had always wanted to learn how to use power tools, and could not wait to show off her new skills to her family.
*Actual participant names changed.
A special thanks to the volunteers at Turbo Tim’s and the Construction Careers Foundation. Girls Inc. could not provide these opportunities without your partnership and support.
Photo Credit: Wennicha Yang, Girls Inc. Youth Counselor.