Facebook1Tweet0Pin0OLYMPIA – In January the YWCA of Olympia began offering the nationally recognized Girls Circle prevention program across Thurston County. More than 60 middle-school age girls are now participating. “We’ve had a good response from girls and parents”, said Kelly Hanson, YWCA Girls Circle staff. “The program is a safe, positive place for girls during a sometimes tumultuous time in life”. Girls Circle is held once a week, usually afterschool, over an 8 to 12 week period. Research shows participating in Girls Circle promotes academic achievement, reduces alcohol use and improves the ability of girls to form healthier bonds with others.Five local school districts and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County signed on to offer the program. “Being a rural district, it can be hard to access outside resources,” said Charla Dunham, Tenino District School Nurse. “Girls Circle is a great opportunity for our families.” YWCA staff provides the program on-site, at no-cost to partner schools and agencies.“We are pleased to be working in the communities of Tenino, Rochester, Olympia, Lacey, Rainier and Tumwater”, said Karmel Shields, YWCA Executive Director. “That is a great start, but we have room for more.” The YWCA wants to hear from schools and other youth-serving organizations interested in hosting Girls Circle this Spring. The program serves girls between the ages of 10 and 14 who live in Thurston County.Girls Circle is made possible through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health grant awarded to the Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department. The purpose of the grant is to improve health outcomes of local girls.For more information about Girls Circle call the YWCA at 360-352-0593.For information about the grant, visit the Thurston Coalition for Women’s Health webpage at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health or call the Health Department’s Women’s Health Coordinator Kateri Wimsett at 360-867-2516.