Conagra Brands Foundation Awards $20K to GirlSpace Chicago Healthy Living Program

Conagra Brands Foundation Awards $20K to GirlSpace Chicago Healthy Living Program

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) has received a $20,000 grant from Conagra Brands Foundation to support the council’s GirlSpace Chicago Healthy Living initiative.

“The Conagra Brands Foundation focuses a majority of its efforts on making a positive impact on the issue of hunger in the communities where we live and work. To help alleviate hunger, we support a variety of high impact community initiatives including healthy and active lifestyles programs,” said Nicole Noren, Senior Specialist, Community Investment, for Conagra Brands. “The GirlSpace Chicago Healthy Living program provides girls with education on how to make informed, healthy food choices and reinforces valuable principles needed to lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only is there clear alignment in our end goal, the outcomes from this program will provide the girls an increased understanding and knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle. We are proud to support this program and excited to partner with the Girl Scouts.”

The grant has helped Girl Scouts such as Deanna, who is a student at Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Paideia Academy in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.

“Currently, Deanna lives in a community that is a food desert and she can’t go to her local store to get fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Ede Crittle, Director of Community Outreach for GSGCNWI. “Since participating in our healthy living program, she has learned the importance of adding more fruits and vegetables to her daily meals, as well as exercise and proper sleep.”

Additionally, Deanna shared that Girl Scouts has been a lifesaver for her.

“She believes Girl Scouting has helped her build the courage and confidence to achieve her full potential and she wants to be a dietician or fitness instructor when she grows up,” said Crittle.

GirlSpace Healthy Living is one of three 12-week components that comprise GirlSpace, an after-school program for at-risk girls that operates year-round and partners with approximately 40 Chicago schools and Chicago Park District sites on the city’s underserved South and West sides. The program reaches about 3,000 girls annually and seeks to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life through a variety of curricular areas, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), financial literacy and healthy living.

“We know that alleviating hunger is a multi-dimensional societal issue and has to be addressed through various avenues,” said Noren. “We believe that providing access to nutrition education and healthy lifestyle programs is a key component to alleviating hunger.”

The program is offered in other Chicago neighborhoods as well such as Auburn-Gresham, Bridgeport, Chatham, East Garfield Park, Englewood and Woodlawn. More than 113,000 girls have been served through GirlSpace since it began in the mid-1980s.

United Way of Will County Celebrates 80 Years of Service to the Community

United Way of Will County Celebrates 80 Years of Service to the Community

United Way of Will County recently reached a major milestone.

On February 1, 2017, the organization celebrated 80 years of service to the community. Today, United Way of Will County funds more than 100 programs provided by 46 not-for-profit organizations that serve the residents of Will County, including Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

In fact, Girl Scouts was one of the original partner agencies going back to 1937.

“We recognize and support the United Way’s mission of uniting communities and resources to empower people and creative positive, sustainable change,” said Nancy Wright, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “We’re proud to be one of the partner agencies that receives funding from United Way to change lives.”

To date, United Way has helped impact thousands of girls since the first Will Country troop was formed in 1922 at Farragut School in Joliet with approximately 50 girls. Last year, Will County had 6,282 Girl Scouts and 2,903 adult volunteers.

“We believe in what Girl Scouts is about, the services they provide to young women and how they’re empowering them for the future,” says Michael Hennessy, CEO of United Way of Will County. “It really makes a difference. We’re proud of the mission and we’re really grateful for the support.”

To learn more about United Way of Will County, visit and to get involved in Girl Scouting, visit


Girl Scouts Learn About Careers in Law at Project Law Track

Girl Scouts Learn About Careers in Law at Project Law Track

Is being a lawyer really like Law & Order? Do people really yell “order in the court”?

Earlier this month, Girl Scouts from across the council began learning what it takes to be a lawyer during Project Law Track, a series of four interactive sessions exploring the different facets of law.

Students learn about the different facets of law during Project Law Track. 

The series was co-created by Monica Weed, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Navigant Counseling in Chicago and second vice president for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Board of Directors.

Throughout Project Law Track sessions, which take place in Chicago and DuPage, attorneys with the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women, DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois work with Girl Scouts on different facets of law and the series concludes with a mock trial.

“I just started high school and I’m looking into different careers,” said Angelica Williams, a ninth grader at Lane Tech High School. “I want to learn about things that may be of interest to me. Girl Scouts is great to meet new people and learn new things. I’m looking forward to learning about the different types of law.”

Girl Scout Senior Angelica Williams introduces herself to the group.

During the first session, girls received an overview of legal concepts from women lawyers, including reality versus depictions of lawyers in media; the origins of law; criminal versus civil law; ethics and responsibilities; direct and cross examination; as well as how to prepare of law school.

“It’s important to have programs like Project Law Track so you can see people represented in the field and know that we did it and you can do it, too,” Jasmine Jackson, a case processing analyst contractor for the U.S. Department of Labor, told the students. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of mentors and I want to encourage younger girls to get involved with law because it starts now.”

To learn more about Project Law Track and other specially-designed series offered by Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, click here.

Local Girl Scouts Honor Famous Alumnae for Women’s History Month

Local Girl Scouts Honor Famous Alumnae for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, Girl Scouts at Sator Sanchez Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois paid homage to famous Girl Scout alumnae during an after-school performance.

Aranza S., an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior, presented the biography for Christa McAuliffe, a former Girl Scout and troop leader. She was an astronaut killed in the Space Shuttle Challenge disaster in 1986.

“The thing I like most about being a Girl Scout is that we get to learn about different things,” Aranza said. “I liked learning about Christa because she went to outer space. I’m really into space and like to learn about all the different planets.”

Other famous Girl Scouts honored during the performance included Josephine Groves, who founded the first African-American Girl Scout troop in 1942; Sandra Day O’Connor, retired associate justice of the Supreme Court; and first lady Michelle Obama, the honorary national president of Girl Scouts of the USA.

“I never knew she was a lawyer and a writer,” said Luz M., an 11-year-old Girl Scout Junior, who presented the biography for Obama. “It also surprised me she was born in Chicago.”

During the performance, the girls also thanked United Way of Will County for supporting the GirlSpace program, which serves girls in at-risk communities and seeks to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life through a variety of curricular areas, including science, technology, engineering and math, financial literacy and healthy living.

“Without the generosity of supporters, such as United Way, we can’t make this program grow,” said Patricia Colin, a GirlSpace facilitator.

Erika Diaz, assistant principal at Sanchez Elementary School, said it’s important for girls to learn about other influential Girl Scouts, especially during Women’s History Month.

“A lot of times, girls don’t hear about women scientists or inventors,” said Diaz, who was a Girl Scout growing up. “They need to feel empowered.”

Lisa Marie Moreno, principal of Sanchez Elementary School who was also a Girl Scout, agreed.

“It’s so necessary for girls to feel confident, have a sense of purpose and learn about giving back to the community,” she said.

Englewood Girl Scouts Holiday Party Brings Nearly 300 Scouts Together

Englewood Girl Scouts Holiday Party Brings Nearly 300 Scouts Together

Nearly 300 Englewood girls sang, danced and opened up presents together Monday.

Girl Space, an afterschool program offered by Girls Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, held its first Christmas party at Friendship Center in suburban Country Club Hills.

Girls from Sherman, Hendricks, Parker, Henderson, Basil, Dulles, and Libby came out. CEO Nancy Wright said the party was put on to “celebrate” them.

“We’re very fortunate to be in these communities and serve these girls,” she said. “It was really about celebrating them and bringing joy into their lives.”

Originally they were going to keep the party small and invite 30-35 scouts, Wright said. But so many schools wanted to get involved they decided to expand the event.

The program has three components: financial literacy, education and healthy living. They focus on each area for 12 weeks of programming.

On Monday, the girls wrote letters to veterans and seniors living in nursing homes. They played games, danced and sang Christmas songs. Each girl left with one gift and a backpack.

To read the full story, please visit