April 28, 2010
One out of out every five girls in the United States is Latina, and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland (GSKH), with the help of a $2,500 grant from Koch Industries, Inc. is bolstering its efforts to reach out and engage this fast-growing ethnic group. As the cultural diversity of the GSKH 80-county coverage area changes, so must efforts to deliver Girl Scout programming in an acceptable cultural format.
“Latinas have high aspirations to leadership, but low self-regard gets in the way, as was revealed in a recent report by the Girl Scout Research Institute,” said Shelly Chenoweth, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland CEO. “Historically, Latinas haven’t looked to Girl Scouts as an option. That’s why Girl Scouts are looking for Latinas. Nationwide, Hispanic membership in Girl Scouting has grown by more than 44 percent in the past five years, and with the help of the Koch Industries grant, we hope to replicate that success here in Kansas.”
Koch Industries has a long history of providing financial and in-kind support to non-profit organizations. The company’s philanthropic efforts focus on programs that advance learning and education; protect, conserve and enhance natural resources; improve quality of life; and support human services and at-risk youth.
“Girl Scouting encourages values that are important to lifelong success such as personal responsibility, learning and leadership development,” said Susan Addington, community relations manager for Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. “We’re pleased to provide this grant that will enable Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland to extend new opportunities to Hispanic girls across Kansas.”
Grant funds will be used to translate materials, travel to areas with dense Hispanic populations and conduct verbal surveys among non-Girl Scout Latinas and their mothers. The program’s ultimate goal is to increase Hispanic girl involvement in Girl Scouting to reflect the percentage of Hispanic girls in the overall population (approx. 14 percent in KS). Another equally-important goal is to increase the number of Hispanic Girl Scout volunteers, who right now account for .03 percent of the total volunteer base.
“This initiative provides Hispanic girls with tailored, culturally appropriate programs and opportunities that encourage them to reach their full potential,” says Chenoweth. “We’re so appreciative of Koch Industries' support, which has enabled us to strengthen our resources and demonstrate that every girl can benefit from Girl Scouting without leaving her values or her community behind.”
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland serves nearly 15,000 girls and adults in 80 Kansas counties through its operational headquarters in Wichita, Kan., and regional offices. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development and is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how to join, volunteer, or donate to the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, call (316)684-6531 or visit www.kansasgirlscouts.org.