A young girl reads at Girls Inc. Sarasota

A grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation will enable Girls Inc. of Sarasota County to serve local girls and their families with new programming and mental-health services. The $25,000 grant, approved by the foundation’s board of directors last week, will help Girls Inc. expand its Family Strengthening Program to reach girls living in crisis situations, with a concentration on Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) residences and girls with similar needs. The funding will support on-site services for girls and their families living in SHA housing, as well as scholarships, so additional girls can participate in after-school and summer programs at Girls Inc.’s main campus on Tuttle Avenue. New offerings for SHA families will include therapeutic services for girls, parenting education, and referrals to other community providers. Girls Inc.’s licensed mental-health counselor and case manager will lead group discussions and individual sessions for girls as well as parenting workshops on location. Girls Inc. reports that it is seeing an increasing number of the families it serves facing homelessness and other crisis situations; this year, a quarter of the families who receive financial help for Girls Inc. programs require 100 percent scholarship support. The agency also reports more demand for its mental-health services. In addition to SHA families, Girls Inc. aims to use this grant to reach other girls in the community in similar crisis situations.

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