Impact Story

Girls Inc Alumni Elyse sharing her story


Girls Inc. of Durham is making an impact in the lives of hundreds of girls across the region every day. We see the difference in these girls lives every day.

Girls Inc. provided that opportunity for Elise. As a child, Elyse was shy and struggled with anxiety and dyslexia.  Her biggest triggers were school and transitions; change was hard. At 7, Elyse attended Girls inc summer camp. Her world ‘turned upside down’.  Initially terrified with a new environment, Elyse began coming out of her shell, gaining confidence and learned to advocate for herself. Her elementary school served as a pilot for Girls Inc. STEM programming. She received hands-on learning and was inspired by the female scientists and engineers she met through Girls Inc.. Learning about healthy sexuality and relationships was also something she really enjoyed. Elise was amazed at how open and educated the instructors were; she felt empowered about her body and decisions. In fact, it motivated her to return to Girls Inc. as a peer mentor and summer camp staff years later. Girls Inc. mentors pushed her and allowed her to ask those bigger questions. She was able to find her voice and discover what motivated her. 

“I’m Elyse and I have been part of Girls Inc. for eleven years. I used to have a really hard time in school. I was only 6 or 7 years old but I had really bad anxiety. Changes were really difficult for me. I would throw up every night before school with worry about the day ahead. Going to the library was really hard, and I couldn’t even take part in school assemblies. I didn’t feel like I had any friends at school.

At Girls Inc. I found a support system, where I know I’m not alone. The staff at Girls Inc. helped me learn to do things for myself, they don’t do it for you, instead they are there to give you that push you need to get started. I love that at Girls Inc. there is no judgment and that everyone is there for you. They understand that everyone is fighting their own fight and they respect the personal things people are struggling with.

Because of my Girls Inc. experience I know I am unique. There is no one like me. With the support from my Girls Inc. family I have learned to manage my anxiety. I`m able to take risks, and try new things. I participated in my school’s leadership group, led many school assembly as the emcee! Girls Inc. has helped me find my voice and I am excited to attend University of Western Ontario in the fall of 2019.

With Girls Inc. in my corner, I know I can accomplish anything!”

— Elyse, age 18

Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something.  When you feel stuck, find the bold little girl in you and trust that you will be successful in whatever you set out to do if you work for it.  Also, don’t forget to reach out to family, friends, and Girls Inc. mentors; the support does not stop just because you finish high school.


Are you a Girls Inc. alumna? Share how Girls Inc. impacted your life and shaped who you are today  on the Alumnae Group Facebook page or via email. Tell us about your latest accomplishments and how you are inspiring other girls.