OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Girls Inc. of Tennessee Valley is inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. The nonprofit provides a safe place where the girls can thrive, expand their minds and learn more about the world.

“We do everything from small independent activities to high-level STEM projects and programs,” said Kirby Deal, the executive director.

Girls Inc. is building girls’ education, social health and financial literacy. The nonprofit started as the first girl only sports program in Anderson County and has expanded to an afterschool and summer program in three counties in East Tennessee.

They work with young girls in a high need demographic and provide a space where they can learn free from discrimination and violence.

“A lot of the girls that we serve have experienced trauma outside of Girls Inc, within their homes or within the community, so it’s important for us to have an individual here that can create sort of a mentoring relationship, a lot of consistency,” said Deal.

Deal says nearly 1300 girls come through the program every year and she continues to witness the impact it has on the lives of the young girls they serve.

“We acknowledge the fact that girls experience different challenges, different traumas. They have different experiences, specifically at a younger age, specifically with the demographic of girls that we serve,” said Deal.

Deal says Girls Inc. strives to teach girls to achieve academically and advocate for themselves. She believes when you empower young girls, you are empowering the community.

“It’s really important for people to be able to invest in our program so that they can see that overarching linage of girls growing up and staying in these communities and then turning around and benefitting their community as they into young adulthood,” said Deal.

You can support Girls Inc. of Tennessee Valley by donating to their end of the year fundraising campaign. There are links on their website girlsinctnv.org or on their social media pages.