Thursday, January 21, 2016

Girls get a "L.I.F.T." in life through unique program

Girls who were once at risk of dropping out or giving in to negative peer pressure are getting a “LIFT” to a brighter future thanks to a program that encourages them to focus on themselves and their futures.

Leaders In-training For Tomorrow (L.I.F.T.) is a unique program funded through a grant from the Allegheny County United Way and operated by Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania in collaboration with local school districts. It’s designed to encourage at-risk girls in grades 6-12 to develop self-potential and values, relate to others and contribute to society.
Offered in a safe, all-girl environment, L.I.F.T. allows girls to form girl-to-girl mentoring relationships, conduct community and in-school take action projects, learn STEM concepts, develop career skills and much more. The girl-led sessions explore everything from self-esteem and diversity to financial literacy and preparation for college. Girls also have opportunities to get outdoors through programs at GSWPA camps, and they also gain valuable business skills through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

LIFT program Girl Scouts from Arsenal school participating in last year's National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend.
More than 100 girls are involved in the program in the Pittsburgh Public School System, including 60-70 girls at Arsenal, Sterrett and Pittsburgh Classical schools. The girls are currently planning volunteer opportunities and Girl Scout Take Action projects. L.I.F.T. participants at Sterrett recently started an anti-bullying campaign, creating posters to hand in the school promoting healthy relationships.

An additional 25-30 girls are part of the Heinz: Urban Scouting grant program. At Westinghouse Academy, girls are currently working on a healthy living initiative, teaching their classmates the importance of eating healthy by offering smoothies during lunch periods. Girls at Student Achievement Center recently created Christmas cards for the organization, “Women with a Voice,” dedicated to helping women who have lost children due to violence.

Additional grant money was received this year to expand the program to girls in fourth and fifth grades and for STEM-focused programming.

For more information on the LIFT program, please contact Vanessa Thompson at or Melissa Dunlap at