About Programs Investing in Change Communities

Learn about GFC in your area:

resources multimedia search

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from girlsforachange.org. Make your own badge here.

moxie newsletter


Behind the Scenes At GFC: A Quarterly Profile Series: Elise DeYoung

Elise DeYoung: National Operations Director

Elise DeYoung is certainly a Jill of all trades here at Girls For a Change.  She has been a corporate executive, a substitute teacher in special education, and is now the National Operations Director for GFC – and that's only the beginning of what Elise brings to the table of the GFC organization.

Right now, Elise is responsible for GFC Operations, or what she calls “the business end” of GFC.  She manages relationships with IT contract service providers, does all of the accounting and cash flow management for the organization, tracks donations and maintains relationships with governmental agencies.  She also manages all the aspects of Human Resources for GFC.

“We don't have a lot of down time,” she laughs.

Because of the many jobs that Elise does within GFC, she says that she allows others in the organization to do their job more effectively. She keeps the change happening for teams by providing all of our operations-she's the engine of this train of change.

“It is the details behind the scenes I think that facilitate our program people doing such a fabulous job of getting services out to our community and taking the business details out of that arena so that the creative energies of our program staff who are 'program scientists' to go out and make it happen!"

 Elise says that her favorite part of what she does on “the business end” is getting to see the outcome of the programs.

“Knowing that my strengths are in the details of behind the scenes and getting those pieces done so that they don't detract from the services we provide - I have ongoing regular interactions with everybody on staff so that part is pretty cool.”

Elise has been on staff for three years now, and because of her extensive background in the private sector, brings so many skills to the organization.

“I have a pretty strong business background, many years in the corporate world, and I think I bring that expertise to the organization.  I am very happy to be able to do that and to have the outcome of that be focused on community and on services rather than on making a profit,” she says.

Her background as a corporate executive also made Elise appreciate the foundation of GFC even more.

“One of the things I really, really value about our organization is I was a corporate executive for 15 years and it was very much a male dominated industry, which is not as true today, but coming to work in this environment in an organization that is woman managed and woman run, I think we're so much more effective (wink!) and I'm so pleased to have had that opportunity to be a part of that.  We don't have that in a lot of organizations.”

Elise is also very hopeful for the girls that GFC serves.

“The main thing I would like girls to achieve is the confidence and the skills so they know that they can make a difference in their communities, and in their own lives and the lives of their families.”

She is also very passionate about the work that GFC does and her unique contribution.

“It's an honor to provide some perspective in our organization in decisions or directions that we go, that representing a generation that came before most of our participants and our senior staff.  The excitement of seeing so many things that were unachievable in the '60s and how far we've come, but then also to acknowledge that even given how far we've come, how much more distance we have to go before girls are really going to be able to recognize and appreciate their worth.”

Outside of GFC, Elise's life doesn't slow down.  She is has been married for 23 years and is the mother of two boys, ages 18 and 20.

“My baby just graduated from high school, and my older son is autistic so I have the honor of parenting a special needs guy. So my family keeps me pretty busy.”

In addition to her family life, Elise is a trustee on Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Education and is very involved in the public school community.  She is involved with local governmental activities in terms of funding for schools and making policy decisions for schools.

At some point, even the busiest person has to take time for themselves, and in her free time, Elise enjoys gardening, needlework, and crocheting.

Elise is one of many people at GFC that work hard every day to empower girls to make a difference in their communities and their own lives.  She doesn't always get the spotlight for everything she does, but now is her time to shine and be recognized for the amazing difference that she makes in the lives of others.

-By Megan Fischer, GFC Social Media Intern

To pay your compliments to Elise or Megan, email here.

Behind The Scenes At GFC is a quarterly profile series by Megan Fischer, featuring the sometimes not so glamorous work of those individuals who keep Girls For A Change going strong. Megan is a journalism student at Colorado State University.

Podcast: Words With Whitney

Summer debut edition of the podcast interview series with Whitney Smith, CEO and Founder, with questions submitted by YOU the listener to [email protected]

Words With Whitney.July.2010

PHX Coach: Michele Pino

Coach_michele Michele Pino signed on as a Coach during the pilot program in Phoenix and has been a GFC Coach at Orangedale Elementary in Phoenis for two years:

I was very shy as a teen and I didn’t want to speak up. I had a lot to say, but it was all inside and I didn’t know that anybody would want to hear me. Then organizations that came into my realm lead me in high school and college to become a leader.

I have kind of an international background. I did some work with teaching women leadership in Siberia. What blew me away was that these women were so strong and capable and pulling their families together while everything was falling a part around them. It made me think that women are the same everywhere and we need more balance in leadership positions. I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could get more women into leadership in our communities. I learned about GFC and that was the magic pill!


Moxie Archive



Fall: SV/National

Fall: PHX















PHX Coach: Adrian Reznik

Andrian In 2006-2007, Adrian Reznik, a GFC Coach who is an expert in training adults on teaching and parenting skills, was a coach for Team 18, Kuban Elementary School. It was the first year this school had a Girl Action Team.

With the support of Adrian (pictured left) and her co-coach, Debra (pictured right), the team worked on teaching their peers about conflict resolution in order to empower youth with confidence and self-esteem so that they are able to deal with peer conflict in a safe manner. The girls delivered public service announcements to 5th grade students in their school by acting them out live in the classrooms.

"This year I was blessed with dozens of energetic middle school girls," Adrian says. "These eager young women showed up with passionate visions of serving their community. They were excited, hopeful, playful and ready to contribute."

Read the rest of Adrian's inspirational story about being a Coach on her web site.

SV Coach: Karen Kang

Kang_photo_2 Karen Kang, a GFC Coach in , recently wrote about why she thinks Girls For A Change is a powerful organization. The article appeared in her marketing industry newsletter:

Branding non-profit organizations can be a difficult task for some marketers because there is rarely a large advertising budget and the marketing sophistication of the staff is often limited. Girls For A Change (GFC) is a non-profit organization based in and Phoenix that has built a strong brand despite having no advertising budget. How they have done this is branding the old-fashioned way: developing a compelling product or service, creating word-of-mouth and loyal partnerships, and delivering on the brand.

I know this from personal experience having been a volunteer coach for one of GFC's Girl Action Teams in East Palo Alto this year. GFC's mission is to help disadvantaged girls to become social change agents in their communities, and in the process nurture confidence, self-worth and leadership in each girl.



Jenniferg Before GFC I was shy and I didn’t have much self-confidence, I always hid in the corner. I thought everyone was smarter than me. After the first three weeks of GFC I started coming out of my little shell and participating in class more and everyone noticed. Now I’m the first person to raise my hand to go in front of the class to give a speech. In GFC they made me realize that everyone is equal and no one is better than anyone else.


PHX Coach: Addy Bareiss

139_2 Addy Bareiss is a first-year Coach for the Girl Action Team at A&A Cottages. Addy and her Co-Coach Liz Allen have have been meeting with their team to identify an issue for their social change project. The girls have decided that their project will focus around child abuse.

Addy was recently awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Award by her fellow employees at Boeing for her volunteerism and service with Girls For A Change.
Boeing employees voluntarily  register and donate part of their earnings to the Boeing Employees Community Fund. Monies from this fund are granted to community serving organizations and are awarded to the Outstanding Volunteer Award winner's organization of choice. Addy selected Girls For A Change! Thanks to Addy's passion and dedication to GFC, Boeing awarded us $1000.00 to help with our efforts of empowering girls to create social change in their communities.  Thanks Addy!

Addy shares her GFC experience below: 

"I am consistently in awe of the work of Girls For A Change. After the initial Coach training, I felt so empowered, so ready to bring that energy to the girls and so sure that GFC was clearly awesome that I immediately told every strong woman I know, GFC is the place to be!

Every time I meet with the girls or my Co-Coach, it renews my confidence that we, as women, can create the change our communities and world need. I adore working with my co-coach. There is such a positive spirit among women in GFC I haven't experienced anywhere else. I hope we bring all of that spirit to the girls.

I hope the award from Boeing's Employee Community Fund, graciously donated by individual employees, allows GFC to continue to do their amazing work: empowering professional women to empower young women to change the world!"

Team 22

Nl0305team22 Girl Action Team 22, Evergreen Valley High School, South San Jose was featured in the November 2004 edition of Moxie as they had just completed the brainstorming phase of their anti-smoking campaign entitled SCUPINO. Since then, girl action team 22 has secured grants from GFC and Youth Service America and is in the final stages of image design and placement.

They have networked with design and marketing consultants, including New Girls Network Project Consultant, Shirley Horn. SCUPINO is now ready to take off and reduce the "cool" factor of smoking and to make sure young people realize the consequences and dangers of smoking before they actually start. Beginning in April 2005, SCUPINO images, with the slogan "Don't Give In" will be placed on billboards, buses, mail kiosks and everywhere teens hang out to warn prospective teen smokers about the health issues associated with smoking in a way that is informative and makes an impact.

Donor: Judy Kramer

Nl0305judykramer Judy Kramer was the very FIRST individual donor to GFC. Just a few short years ago, Girls For A Change was approached for the first time by an individual interested in contributing to the magic of GFC. Four years later, we have grown our individual donor base ten-fold, yet still remain close to our first donor. This year, we were thrilled to receive the fourth check over four years, from Judy, and wanted to share the exhilarating moment with you all:

Whitney Smith, GFC Co-CEO: "When I checked the mail, I saw a check from Judy with a great note of support. I was filled with such gratitude; it was as if the challenging week just disappeared. I felt re-invigorated. We at GFC have amazing individual donors and Judy led the way for this! Each time we get a check in the mail from an individual donor, each time we open that envelope, it is not just the valuable monetary support that is encouraging, it is also the affirmation that people are cheering us on to empower young women. It is the reminder that there are many individual donors, a community, who believe in the mission of GFC and the power of young women to change the world. Thank you Judy from the bottom of my heart for being our partner in Girls For A Change."

GFC would like to Judy Kramer and all ensuing donors who have contributed through their time, money and energy to empower girls to create social change in their communities. Each and everyone one of you makes a difference. Thank you.

Donate Now


newslettersignup newsletter archive


social change blogs

GFC.org blog

Girls Speak!




Donate Now GFC RSS Feed