About GirlForward

GirlForward is a community of support dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced globally by conflict and persecution. GirlForward was founded in Chicago, IL in 2011 and is headquartered there. In 2015, we expanded to Austin, TX.

Friends. Mentors. Safe spaces.
GirlForward serves girls ages 14-21 in grades 9-12 who identify as refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. We support girls through three core programs.

Our Mentoring Program pairs girls with mentors to engage in "4W" activities (Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and World) in order to explore their passions and graduate from high school. Girls are paired with women mentors within the local community for at least one school year, and they meet together at least two hours weekly to talk about anything from school, to relationships, to careers. Mentors and mentees are friends, role models, teachers, and confidants for each other.

Our Education Program provides a space for girls to simultaneously build their English skills and succeed academically while exploring their identities and learning about the world around them. The Education Program has two components: Camp GirlForward and Tutoring. During the summer, Camp GirlForward utilizes a literacy-based curriculum that explores the themes of identity, community, and power through classroom instruction and field trips. Tutoring is a drop-in program through which girls can work with tutors on homework at our GirlForward centers.

Our Safe Spaces Program provides safe spaces for girls to explore their identities, connect with other girls, and access the resources they need. The program includes drop-in hours after school through which girls can use hang-out space, books, laptops, snacks, and more, as well as participate in a variety of workshops.


Mentoring intern

July 2019 - August 2019 Austin, TX
“I loved my time at GirlForward in Austin. It was such a positive and uplifting community. I made some great connections with the girls and got to see how my work was directly supporting them. I wish my time there could have been longer. ”

Teaching Intern

July 2018 - August 2018 Austin, TX
“I absolutely loved working with the girls and fellow interns. That part of the process was the most enjoyable part of the program, and while I had many other concerns about the goals and processes of the administration, the girls that attend GirlForward are an incredible joy to work with and taught me so much about compassion, joy, learning, and love.”
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