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June 23, 2009

Velázquez Strengthens Career Programs for Lower East Side Girls

**Event Photos Available **

NEW YORK –Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today visited the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York to present the organization with $250,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The resources will be used to support education and job training programs that provide young girls in New York City with the chance to succeed in school and prepare for their futures.  The Congresswoman was joined by many of the students who actively participate in Girls Club programs that foster entrepreneurial development, community engagement and school achievement.

“The Lower Eastside Girls Club provides young women with the resources and opportunities to become engaged with their community and poised to achieve great things.  The organization focuses on entrepreneurial development, showing girls that business ownership is a path to personal and professional success,” Velázquez said.  “I will continue to support their efforts as the Girls Club grows its innovative programs in the years to come.”

The federal funds will support after-school, weekend and summer programs for students attending public schools in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  Fifty girls will take part in a series of skill-building workshops, mentorships, internships and professional experiences.  These participants will receive over 500 hours of academic and life support activities during the program year, providing them with an opportunity to get off the street and into a structured environment.  Program activities will focus on entrepreneurial training, academic support, leadership development, civic engagement, environmental education and green jobs training. The Girls Club seeks to increase the percentage of at-risk youth who successfully complete their current academic grade as well as the number of youth who receive career preparation and “on the job” training. 

“We are proud to have Congresswoman Velazquez as our voice in government. She stands for everything the world needs right now – a healed earth, a people centered economy, and education and equity for girls and women everywhere.  Congresswoman Velazquez is our ‘sister’ who has shared the vision of The Lower Eastside Girls Club since the day we were founded. She is an ‘honorary member’ of our club – but it is our honor to know her,” said Lyn Pentecost, Executive Director, Lower Eastside Girls Club.

Founded in 1996, the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York serves girls and young women ages 8-23.  By delivering arts, literacy, science, health and leadership programs, the LESGC helps girls prepare for their future. The Girls Club promotes entrepreneurship in a real-world setting.  Club members and staff operate an impressive line-up of businesses, including: The Art + Community Gallery; La Tiendita Fair Trade and Girl Made Gift Shop, and the Sweet Things Bake Shop. These ventures provide jobs and career opportunities for 50 teenage girls per year.

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Photos from the event can be downloaded here.