You’re likely familiar with Girls Inc. of Johnson City & Washington County. If you’re not, Girls Inc. provides girls, ages 5-16, a safe, supportive and supervised environment during non-school hours. They provide programs promoting academic, personal, social, and recreational development.

In 2021, Girls Inc. opened their doors to more than 90 girls between the ages of 5 and 16, with two-thirds of them being below the age of 9 and more than half coming from low-income families. The staff and volunteers at Girls Inc. work to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold.

We know only about 30% of our children are able to consistently read at grade level, but we also see that 100% of the girls at Girls Inc. in 2021 had success in either reading at grade level or made significant improvement towards reading at grade level. We also know that the graduation rate for girls in our area is 89%, but Girls Inc. has all of their 10–16-year-olds on track to graduate on time with nearly half of them now acting as peer mentors to others inside of Girls Inc. They also provide additional opportunities to help the girls be college and/or career ready.

While it’s easy to see how valuable this can be to the girls, what tends to be overlooked is the value that this provides to the family. The environment that Girls Inc. provides gives single parents the opportunity to work jobs where hours extend before and afterschool without leaving the child unattended at home. Their sliding scale allows the low-income homes to spend their money on rent, utilities, food, transportation, health/medical bills and other necessities without having to make compromises that could negatively affect their children.

Girls Inc. is working to develop the girls in their program to become responsible, self-reliant and success full women. They’ve seen their girls become college graduates, mothers, business owners and community leaders. They’ve seen parents go from working multiple jobs just to make ends meet to becoming local business owners. And here at United Way, we’re here to see Girls Inc. continue to leave their mark on our community.


About United Way of East TN Highlands
Serving Washington, Carter, Johnson and Southern Sullivan Counties, our goal is to break the cycle of poverty by uniting people and resources to strengthen the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Our vision is to be a community united to empower every person and organization to reach their full potential and achieve more. For more information about United Way of East TN Highlands, please visit


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