OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Girls Empowerment Network (fka GENaustin)
The 180 Program
GENaustin’s mission is to support and guide girls to make wise choices as they navigate the unique pressures of girlhood. We offer innovative, confidence building programs, utilizing best practices for working with ALL girls. We also provide education and awareness about the state of girls to teachers and parents.
The 180 Program provides court-ordered services for girls involved or at high risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system, via an established curriculum and workshops.
The program goals are to reduce or prevent court involvement, increase bonding and pro-social behaviors, and improve in-school functioning. The 180 Program is currently serving girls in Travis County, and will be expanded in Travis and introduced in Williamson, Bastrop and Hays counties, to serve 400 girls in 2013-2014 and 500 girls in 2014-2015. The expanded program will also provide additional support and follow-up for girls who complete the program.
The 180 Program was operating in Travis County and the Impact Austin funding allowed GENaustin to expand there and in Hays and Williamson counties.
In the first year, GENaustin exceeded its goal of serving 400 girls but year two recruiting was slowed down by new legislation that stopped schools from ticketing students for relatively minor behavioral issues. This minimized court referrals for the 180 Program and GENaustin responded by seeking new referral sources.
The number of girls served also was minimized in year two due to the many requests GENaustin received to expand groups from their standard 8–12 week duration to 20 weeks. While this meant less girls were served, it did allow GENaustin to work more deeply with the girls enrolled.
GENaustin is thrilled that the Impact Austin grant allowed them to establish strong programs and relationships in new regions. Directly because of Impact Austin, it served 173 girls that otherwise would not have been helped, supported two additional part-time staff people to deliver 180 services and provided approximately 2,076 more hours of direct service with girls in need. The results are extraordinary.
GENaustin’s goal was that 70 percent of participants surveyed would report increased proficiency in at least one of the following: self-efficacy, pro-social bonding and/or coping skills. Program participants reported, among other outcomes, that:
73% felt like they have control over their lives
68% learned ways to handle hard situations
74% felt the adult leaders of the group care about them
69% learned to pick
dating relationships with people who will treat them with respect
71% learned to deal with their feelings without hurting themselves or others.
GENaustin also aggressively established new funding sources
in Williamson and Hays counties that will allow the program to continue to flourish. The organization has leveraged $282,800 in funding from new sources as a direct result of its work made possible by Impact Austin.
The program’s success was summed up by one counselor who saw the impact on a school in Georgetown that was newly served via the Impact Austin grant. Of a very small graduating class, nine of the girls had been enrolled in the 180 Program, including three who had become zealous supporters of GENaustin within the school.
All of the graduates had moved to the alternative program with the goal of graduating in spite of the obstacles to education that they encountered. Watching them receive their diplomas, shout and dance and celebrate, was nothing short of transformative — for the counselor and the students.
GENaustin is now Girls Empowerment Network.