Girls at Work empowers girls by putting power tools in their hands, and teaching them how to use those tools. The girls build tables, sheds and bookshelves, but learn bigger lessons along the way. Hollie Brenton, 18, has worked with the program for ten years and says it has changed her life.
Power tools can be intimidating, especially to eight year olds. Brenton remembers herself at that age, "Before Girls at Work, I didn't have nearly as much confidence. I didn't know what I could do." But once she started attending classes and learning how to use the tools, she says, "there was an instant change. I was more happy, outgoing, excited."
Now, she helps out with the younger girls, teaching them DIY skills - like how to use the "big-girl saw." But she's also encouraging them to bring that sense of independence to the rest of their lives. "I've been able to use different power tools that showed me that I was able to do more than I thought."
Brenton credits the program with helping all the girls to realize that gender assignments are merely a societal construct, not based on any inherent value. "These girls will be able to realize that it's not a male-dominant world- it's whatever we want it to be. You can do everything and anything you want as long as you have the confidence to do it."