THREE BUILDING BLOCKS, ONE MISSION
Just for Girls makes a positive impact we make on young women every single day. Our dedicated team works to make girls’ lives better through academic, developmental, and prevention programs. Our before and after school programs keep girls safe in non-school hours, and caring staff help girls build internal strengths such as confidence, resiliency, empathy, and trust. Our alternative middle school is a haven for girls who have committed to turning their lives around after having had trouble succeeding in a traditional school; each year this program helps these girls map a new path to success, find their personal inspiration and turn their F’s into A’s. Just for Girls Academy, our charter elementary school, opened in August and is already making a measurable difference increasing the academic success of our young students. The Academy’s innovative programming includes character development, leadership training, and service learning, all of which boost academics as they work to strengthen girls’ relationships with their peers, families, and community.
Spearheaded in 1967 by Ida Stewart and Sarah Tomberlin, the Manatee County Girls Club was created to provide local girls an educational program designed for their needs, in an environment that fosters success. In December 1968, the Manatee County Girls Club, Inc. received its charter; it opened its doors in Bradenton on January 6, 1969.
The organization flourished, and with the assistance of Sara Alice Harllee, opened a Palmetto center just two years later. In 1979, the Bradenton Kiwanis Club generously deeded land to Just for Girls on 59th Street, where the west Bradenton center stands today. In 1981, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation funded retiring the mortgage on that facility. A few years later, after a successful capital campaign led by Dan S. Blalock, Jr., both the east Bradenton and Palmetto centers relocated to brand-new facilities.
In 1989, the Manatee County Girls Club Foundation, Inc. was formed for the purpose of raising and managing funds for the long-term support and future self-sufficiency of the Manatee County Girls Club, Inc.
The name Just for Girls was adopted in 1992, and in 1993, the Just for Girls Alternative Education Program was established to serve the educational needs of middle school girls who have not been able to succeed in a traditional school setting. In 2009, this program was renamed the Jane B. Pratt Alternative School for Girls in honor or one of Just for Girls’ original leaders. Just for Girls Academy, an innovative charter school serving elementary school-aged girls, opened in August, 2012.
For over 40 years, Just for Girls has met and exceeded the highest standards for excellence in programming, stewardship and accountability. Providing hope for those in need, it is making a difference in this community – one girl at a time.