Rebecka DevlinRebecka Devlin has keen insight into what the Girls Inc. Experience is all about. After all, she was once a girl herself.

“As a child I was raised by my father. He was a business owner and he wasn’t there much,” Rebecka says. “I often wonder how it would have been to have more of a support system in my life - to fill in the blanks, to fill in the gaps.”

That question is at the heart of her drive to support Girls Inc. of Memphis.

A Detroit native, Rebecka moved to Memphis in 2015 with her husband and son so she could take a position in Loan Operations at First Tennessee Bank.

“One way we connect at First Tennessee is through Employee Resource Groups (ERG) - sort of extracurricular activities at work,” she said. “There are groups focused on diversity, for working parents and for former members of the military.”

Rebecka serves as the community outreach chair for an ERG called the Women’s Initiative. Recently, the group shifted its focus from a broad range of community endeavors to just two non-profits - DeNeuville Learning Center and Girls Inc. of Memphis.

“We thought Girls Inc. was just doing amazing things,” Rebecka said. “The tag line for the Women’s Initiative is ‘Working together to promote the success of women within our company and our community.’ But I usually say, ‘Empowering women to become their most amazing selves.’

“And when it came to Girls Inc., we thought, ‘Why do we have to wait for girls to become women before we do that?’”

Clearly, Rebecka “gets” the mission of Girls Inc. But the perspective she brings is unique.

“Girls Inc. impacts girls from elementary school all the way through and beyond college,” she said. “And life is interesting during those years for girls. It’s a great support system.”

Fortunately for Girls Inc., it’s more than just talk with Rebecka. She’s a donor and encouraged a number of co-workers to sign up for the Mother-Daughter Tea earlier this year. In June, she and six other fellow First Tennessee employees welcomed and escorted guests at the Celebration Luncheon.

She spearheaded a donation drive at several First Tennessee financial centers. And she was instrumental in organizing and coordinating the first ever Strong, Smart and Bold Boutique, held recently at the administrative offices.

“For two weeks, my ERG collected women’s professional clothes at five Memphis sites,” Rebecka said. “We corralled everything together and brought it to the Girls Inc. offices and had a sorting party.”

Fifteen volunteers helped set up and run the boutique, which was promoted among First Tennessee staff, and Girls Inc. supporters and friends. For $25, boutique visitors received a reusable Girls Inc. bag and the chance to fill it with whatever clothing they could fit into it. Proceeds went to fund programs and the left over items were donated to the clothing program at Union Grove Baptist Church in Frayser.

For Rebecka, Girls Inc. is important because it provides support for girls from any set of circumstances.

“Every girl has her own story. But Girls Inc. seems to meet all of them where they are,” she said. “It’s this skeleton key of a program that fits every lock. It make me feel good that these girls have a place to go.”



2017 gradsCongratulations to the Girls Inc. of Memphis Class of 2017! Our just-graduated class of 28 seniors has made indelible marks on their schools, their communities and on our hearts. And they're ready for the world--look out!

This group of amazing young women has achieved firsts and set records that can't be ignored. For starters, 100 percent of the class graduated on time and all received college scholarships, four getting full rides. As if that weren't enough, those scholarship awards add up to a whopping $3,176,630! What's more, all 28 of these strong, smart and bold girls took part in the full five years of our Eureka! program. the first cohort to do so.

Pictured here are five of the grads: Trinity Worthy, Syreeta Jones, Arya Burney-Moorehead, JaSharra Cole and Jada Watson from our most recent Celebration Luncheon.

White Station graduate Rahni Stewart is one of the full-ride recipients, preparing to major in business entrepreneurship at The University of Houston, She's clear about what Girls Inc. and Eureka! have done for her and says that in her 10 years at Girls Inc. she was encouraged to dream and be confident.

"Joining Eureka just made me even more confident and allowed me to discover more career fields and opinions about what could be done. Girls Inc. taught me that there were and are no limits to what I am capable of and that the only thing I needed to do was to have a belief abilities."

Now's also a good time to honor alums preparing for another semester in college, like the three  pictured at right at our Celebration Lunch in June: Asha' Lester, alums at lunchNicara Bailey and Jameka Hayes. Asha says Girls Inc. prepared her to excel in college - and to be able to hold down a job at Target while maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

"I apply the motto of being Strong, Smart, and Bold to my every day life," Asha' said. "I was bold enough to apply for an NAACP Executive Position last year and have maintained a spot, last year as Fundraising Chair and this year as Political Action and Juvenile Justice Chair, on the Exec Board for NAACP."

Nicara, another White Station grad, says that Girls Inc. instilled in her the importance of going to college. She would never have known about Xavier University, where she's a pharmacy student, if not for Girls Inc.

Likewise, Jameka says Girls Inc. expanded her college awareness. "They provided me with all the tools of success by connecting me with a mentor and providing me with an abundance of life preparation programs."

Speaking of full circle success, let's not forget Brooke Jones, an alum who is a Senior Engineer at FedEx and received our STRONG award at this year's Celebration Lunch. Check out this video of her speech from the event!

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Girls Inc. of Memphis has made the local news twice in connection with plans to revive the South City neighborhood!

WMC Action News 5 produced a big picture piece about the South City Development Project, which will funnel $200 million of city and federal funds into the area that's home to Foote Homes and Booker T. Washington High School, where we founded a new Girls Inc. center last year. The piece touches on plans that would involve Girls Inc. moving into a renovated and much larger space in the now-shuttered Georgia Elementary School across the street. Click on the thumbnail below to check it out!

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And High Ground News published a story with more details about our plans for the space in Georgia Elementary. Click the thumbnail below to read!

High ground south city

celebration crowd 2017

A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who supported our Celebration Luncheon!

Nearly 600 guests packed the Pipkin Building to celebrate our girl and women honorees, break bread under our “big top” and raise funds to help us continue in our mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold.

Our packed house raised more than $26,000 during our luncheon’s Strong, Smart and Bold investment challenge—a record-breaking total that will provide scholarships for 52 families for whom program fees are just out of reach.

This year’s Strong, Smart and Bold Award winners personify the Girls. Inc. mission, and their inspirational words personified how and why these women serve as examples of the strong, smart and bold women Girls Inc. girls strive to be.

Brooke Jones of FedEx, the Strong Award winner, encouraged us to honor our strength by acknowledging how we each successfully overcome challenges we face each day with inner strength and character. Smart Award winner Patricia C. Howard recently retired from her 50 years with Girls Inc. She reminded our girls that they are capable of attaining their dreams through hard work, determination, and taking advantage of opportunities before them. Author and philanthropist, Becky Wilson, the Bold Award winner, motivated us to take risks and boldly make a difference in our community by giving back in a meaningful way—values that Girls Inc. girls both learn and benefit from every day.     

In addition to our donors and honorees, our full hearts are owed to more than 60 volunteers, including corporate groups from Cummins, First Tennessee, International Paper, Medtronic, and Mass Mutual. Our full bellies are grateful to Central BBQ who provided our delicious lunch and Café Society who provided the sweet treat of cookies. 

Because of all of you—sponsors, volunteers, supports, and friends—we continue to expand our ability to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. There’s still an opportunity to make a greater impact on Memphis girls. Make a gift that’s meaningful to you now.


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My grandmother, Mertie Buckman, suggested I get involved with Girls Inc. of Memphis. From day one I knew it was making a difference in our city by providing girls the skills and self-confidence the need to be successful. - Kathy Buckman Gibson

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