Once upon a time, there was a survey done to find out what Maine middle and high school girls were doing and thinking and feeling regarding their lives. The woman who sought to “make space” for girls to share their experiences was Mary Orear, former English teacher who settled in Midcoast Maine after her travels around the globe.
Mary created a non-profit organization called Mainely Girls in 1996 with a Board of Directors and a Girls’ Student Executive Board. Programs followed based on board members’ recommendations and survey findings.
There were Annual Girls’ Conferences, Mentoring Programs, a Photography Club, Girls’ Night Out, (assisting in girls’ successful moves from middle into high school), the Girls’ Point of View Book Clubs, Diabetes and Depression pilot programs, and the designing of the Transition Safety Program / a pilot program for ME College-Bound Women.
Advocacy work for girls at the Long Creek Youth Development Center began with surveys of girls’ lives and what prevention measures would have made a difference. Programming and trainings followed.
Mainely Girls dipped its toe into technology. “Unlocking the Clubhouse: Bridging Computer Gender Gaps” was a training that encouraged inclusion in the field of technology. Mainely Girls partnered with “Zoey’s Room” to offer this after-school technology program for middle school girls across the state.
When learning that the work of the Computer Crimes Lab was being hampered by the use of a dilapidated mobile forensic lab, Mainely Girls spearheaded an effort to raise the necessary funds to provide them with one adequate for their needs. Now more people involved with child pornography in our state are being apprehended, making Maine a safer place for infants, children and adolescents.
Mainely Girls has always encouraged and celebrated others who dedicate time and energy to improving the lives of girls through empowerment activities and programs. From “Coastal Studies for Girls” to “Zoey’s Room,” MG has promoted the expansion of an entire network of support for girls.
We are re-rooting Mainely Girls in Aroostook County, with the determination, commitment, and vision to empower girls who may one day empower other girls, going full circle!
Fundraising, grant-writing, and participation fees bolster and build the programs now unfolding in Aroostook County.