hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


October 31, 2013

From tennis in full-length skirts to today's martial arts

Now a century old, Girls Inc. still teaches good lessons

They played tennis in full-length skirts, learned to cook and sew, and tried ballroom dancing.

That’s how women were encouraged to spend their leisure time at the start of the last century, and many of them learned those skills at the local Girls Club.

Now, they make rockets or chip away at rocks in a geology class, learn how to create personal budgets and use a checkbook, or participate in a sport. They get training from martial arts experts. And, yes, they still play tennis like they did 100 years ago when the Haverhill Girls Club opened its doors to the city’s girls and young women.

Haverhill is honoring the organization, now called Girls Inc., and the women who helped found it with a 100th-year birthday celebration. The celebration starts Nov. 1 and continues with various events until the end of October 2014.

“We help them learn that they have value, to become self aware and self assured,’’ Dianna Casado, program director at Girls Inc., said of its members. “We want to help them build self-esteem, and develop some personal creativity and be able to think on their own.’’

For a $10 annual membership fee, females ages 5 to 18 can join Girls Inc.

The club opened in November of 1913.

“We can’t find any documentation that tells us on what day they chartered the organization,” said Girls Inc. President and CEO Robin Whitson.

A century ago, the club’s members included girls who worked on family farms and in the city’s bustling shoe factories. The club gave them a place to gather after work, a place to socialize with their peers.

“In 1945 the club became a charter member of Girls Club of America, which is now called Girls Incorporated,” Whitson wrote in her 100-year celebration announcement.

To keep up with the demands on a young woman’s life, future plans and career and personal goals, the organization has developed an onsite series of programs, an after-school enrichment program, a summer camp and career exploration programs. Girls Inc. also conducts dropout prevention programs at Haverhill High School for both girls and boys.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 140808_HG_HAND_CUTTING

    Attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Marjorie Goudreault walkway are, from left, Elizabeth Delgado, special assistant to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera; John Dimitry, former NECC president, and his wife, Audrey; Steven Buturlia of Pelham; Kelsy Buturlia of Pelham; Barbara Goudreault of Haverhill; Christopher Goudreault of Haverhill; Mary Goudreault of Tewksbury; Bill Moynihan of Haverhill, chair of NECC's Board of Trustees; Julie Reynolds of Middleton, N.H.; Patrick Goudreault of Haverhill; Matthew Goudreault of Haverhill; Lynn Morton of Tucson, AZ; Ann Corey of Atkinson; and NECC President Lane Glenn.

    'She was passionate about what she believed' Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • The city wants you Posted 6 days ago

    Joseph Roach is the new CEO and President for Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill. He is standing in front of the hospital located in Haverhill. CARL RUSSO/Staff photo

    No, you're not in Methuen Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo
  • The Lamp Post Posted 6 days ago

    AMY SWEENEY/Staff photoRoyal Nails and Spa offers the best manicure, according to a vote by readers of the Gazette.

    More than just a mani-pedi Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140717_HG_MSC_BURGER_3

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo The Lasting Room burger with hand-cut fries is a favorite of customers.

    Lasting Room burgers make for lasting impressions Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES3 [Duplicate]

    AP Photo/Yoobi Yoobi Pretzel Erasers make going back to school fun.

    Sharpening up for class Posted 6 days ago 8 Photos

    Staff file photo Buffalo boneless ribeye steak is offered at Haverhill Beef Company on Merrimack Street. Here, owner Peter Carbone holds a tray of freshly cut pieces.

    Get far more than beef at Haverhill Beef Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Elaine Saragas serves coffee at Heav'nly Donuts.

    Best coffee brewing at Heav'nly Donuts Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Pentucket Bank President Scott Cote, left, and financial adviser Kevin McKinnon talk in the main lobby of the bank's Merrimack Street branch.

    Pentucket Bank is tops Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

Photos of the Week