This story courtesy the Kingsport Times-News
By Katherine Scoggins
Fifty years ago, The Girls Club of Kingsport met in a large white house located at 1102 Mill Street under the direction of Betty Newman Iverson. At the time, Girls Clubs had as their focus “to prepare girls to be better wives and mothers.” To that end, the domestic arts - cooking, sewing and household management - were stressed.
Over the next few decades, the Girls Clubs underwent major changes; growing into a national, then international association - marked by the name change in 1991 to Girls Incorporated: Strong, Smart and Bold. From that point on, education, wellness and an holistic approach to growing up were emphasized, while life skills, such as sewing, cooking, nutrition, arts and heritage were incorporated as “teaching moments.” History has it that a young girl in a focus group told the organization that the new name should be Girls Incorporated, because “growing up is serious business.”
It is a slogan that Girls Incorporated takes very seriously.
The success of the agency is apparent as one enters the building and sees the “trophy case” filled with plaques Girls Inc. of Kingsport has been awarded over the years.
Chyna Robinson is a 14-year-old student at Dobyns-Bennett High School and a current participant at Girls Inc. of Kingsport. Talking with her, one can not help but be drawn to her naturally outgoing, bubbly personality. Although she’s involved in many activities at Girls Inc., she says her favorite is the Ambassador’s Club, a group of older girls who mentor fourth- and fifth-grade girls, setting a good example and encouraging them. Most of all, though, she says they listen. A great believer that “every child has potential,” Chyna loves working with young children and hopes to one day work with them on a professional level. She has found that her experience working with the younger girls has taught her patience, good communication skills, and the importance of accountability.