By: Dr. Jocelyn Horner, Executive Director, Pittsburgh
Dear SWSG Pittsburgh Community:
Our 2017-2018 Program Year has officially wrapped – and what a great year we’ve had! I can’t thank you enough for making my first year as the Executive Director of Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh so memorable. As we prepare for next year, I want to take a few moments to reflect on the many great accomplishments of our staff, mentors, board, supporters, and – of course – our girls.
SWSG provides critical space for women and girls to grow and develop as individuals and to serve one another through mentorship. This year, we’ve had a record number of volunteers involved in our programs, allowing us to serve more than 700 elementary school girls from 40 program sites around Greater Pittsburgh.
With such a diverse and broad community, it’s impossible to name all the highlights from our year, but a few stand out to me:
- On International Women’s Day, girls at Sto-Rox and Avalon Elementary Schools learned about careers in technology and engineering from volunteers from FedEx Ground and Services and participated in a hands-on activity using FedEx package scanners.
- This Spring, a special group of girls, mentors, and alumnae gathered on a Saturday morning to decorate and deliver reusable tote bags to the Rainbow Soup Kitchen in Homestead, providing local seniors with an environmentally-friendly way to carry their groceries home.
- Duquesne University’s SWSG Chapter was recognized as the Duquesne University Volunteer Organization of the Year, as well as the Student Organization of the Year – a distinction that sets it apart from nearly 250 other student organizations on campus.
We also established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group to identify opportunities to create a more diverse and welcome SWSG community at all levels of the organization. The group held a listening tour for college women and made recommendations that will be rolled out in the coming months.
Back at the SWSG office, we’ve had a lot of exciting changes, including additions to our staff and a move from our Southside office to Squirrel Hill! We’re busily getting ready for the 2018 Strong Awards in August, as well as preparing for our five talented summer interns.
After this successful year, I know our community will only continue to grow stronger. Next year, we’ll be expanding our Strong Leader program, introducing more group events for women and girls, enhancing training opportunities, continuing to grow mentors’ understanding of the communities and experiences of the girls they serve, and connecting to more women- and girl-serving agencies in Pittsburgh. I’m also thrilled to announce that we’ll be piloting a STEM initiative for our girls, and I can’t wait for the return of Jump Into Spring in 2019!
I owe each of you a heartfelt thank-you for welcoming me into this organization. I’m continually inspired by our girls, college mentors, and Strong Leaders, and I’ve been honored to get to know the culture of each of our college chapters. I’m grateful to all of you for your time, energy, wisdom, and resources – thank you for contributing to an awesome year, and my team and I can’t wait to continue working with you!
With every step, we’re transforming Pittsburgh into a hub of strong and diverse female leaders. Stay tuned to hear more about our progress this summer, and I’ll see you soon!
Dr. Jocelyn Horner