Founded by Dawn Smith in 1989 in response to the desperate plight of young girls living in the East Lake Meadows housing community, Cool Girls works to develop girls into confident women through education and exposure to a broad world of opportunities. Having served over 5000 girls in its 32 years of existence, Cool Girls has empowered these young girls to overcome obstacles in their way of becoming successful women.
According to Executive Director Tanya Egins, the goal of Cool Girls is to work with girls living in low–income areas to achieve academic success and build confidence to break cycles of poverty. She underscores the importance of creating a support system for the girls throughout their formative years. In light of this, all participants have an opportunity to be in the Cool Girls program from the time they are seven years old until they graduate from college.
Cool Girls aims to achieve its goals through three core programs, Cool Girls Club, Cool Scholars and Cool Sisters. As their flagship initiative, the Cool Girls Club is a weekly after-school program for girls in 2nd to 8th grade. The program focuses on providing the girls social and emotional learning emphasizing communication, healthy relationships, conflict resolution, STEM and nutrition. Highschool girls participate in Cool Scholars, concentrating on college prep and college tours. The aim of the program is to increase their self-esteem and expose them to varied cultural opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
Once participants have been with the program for a year, they are then matched with a mentor through the Cool Sisters program. This program offers one-on-one mentoring and has matched over 1,000 Cool Girls with caring adult role models. These role models serve as positive influences in the lives of the girls and reinforce the program’s principles. These unique relationships provide motivation, inspiration, and life-long friendships for the young girls. The mentor becomes a person with whom they can share their troubles, receive advice and career guidance.
Cool Girls has been a client of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta for over a decade. The organization has worked with many different PBPA volunteer attorneys including Destiny Washington (Ford Harrison), Jake Harris (King & Spalding), Ivor Longo (Coca-Cola Refreshments), Bob Nance (Insight Global), Kier Prince (Emory University) and Don Prather (Meunier Carlin & Curfman). Tanya Egins, Executive Director of Cool Girls believes “Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is so valuable to small organizations like Cool Girls. “The workplace skills the volunteers provide are necessary for us to achieve the scale, sustainability and program delivery to the girls we serve and our community.” PBPA is privileged to support Cool Girls’ incredible and passionate work for the community.