I Heart STEM at Girls Inc. of Orange County

SCE’s employee resource group Roundtable is collaborating with the nonprofit Girls Inc. to change lives through STEM programming.

September 29, 2014 | By Lisa Affi

For six decades, the nonprofit Girls Inc. of Orange County has pursued the same mission: changing the lives of girls through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming.

And for the 5,000 girls ranging in age from 4 1/2 to 18 years old who have benefitted from the various programs each year, lives have been profoundly changed.

“It is amazing to see how the girls transform through our programs,” said Ashley Cashdollar, Girls Inc. of Orange County volunteer coordinator. “It is life-changing for some of them. If we can start early and keep them excited, we have an opportunity to make a difference.”

It’s a goal and mission that fits perfectly with Southern California Edison’s (SCE) original employee resource group Roundtable, an organization that focuses on providing professional growth and development opportunities for women at the company.

Roundtable was formed in 1976 and still focuses on providing growth and development opportunities.

Today, the group has expanded its efforts to go outside of the company and work with a much younger female audience. Last year, employees in Roundtable began volunteering and raising money for Girls Inc.

“We chose to work with Girls Inc. because this organization not only encourages girls to be involved and get excited about traditionally male-dominated fields of study,” said Tracy Tate, president of Roundtable and an engineer at SCE, “but they also focus on a positive approach to the whole girl.” 

In addition to promoting the STEM curriculum, Girls Inc. is a year-round program that also promotes healthy relationships, positive body image and encourages girls to find their voice when advocating for themselves and others.

Last year, Girls Inc. received a $5,000 community grant from Edison International, parent company of SCE, as part of a day of volunteer service. The employees worked with the young girls, sharing hands-on science projects that exposed them to the world of engineering.

“It is because of the financial and volunteer support we get from companies like Southern California Edison that make it possible for us to expose these young girls to science, technology, engineering and math,” said Cashdollar. 

Roundtable is continuing its volunteer efforts with Girls Inc., and is looking to grow its relationship with the organization.

“We want to continue to look for opportunities to be involved with them,” said Tate. “This organization has a similar mission to why we started Roundtable all those years ago — promoting professional growth and development opportunities for women. We are just starting a little earlier with these girls.”   

For more information about Girls Inc. of Orange County: girlsinc-oc.org.

Topics: People