City Hall’s Rosie’s Girls, an extra-curricular program designed to build young girls’ self esteem through exposure to non-traditional trades, is the recipient of the League of California Cities’ 2011 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence for engaging youth in city government.

“Our program takes the original Rosie’s Girls model one step further by transforming participants’ very hometown into a classroom,” said Julie Rusk, Santa Monica Human Services Division manager and co-founder of Rosie’s Girls Santa Monica. “Learning about a city from the inside out creates an extraordinary opportunity to connect girls with their community… all while having lots of fun.”

Through unique components, such as mock City Council meetings and working as youth liaisons for the city’s Commission on the Status of Women, girls 11 to 13 years of age get the opportunity to grow as leaders and create a stronger community through increased community service and advocacy, Rusk said.

Each year, approximately 80 middle schoolers don hard hats and jumpsuits and head into the trade shops at the City Yards to learn how to operate saws, drills, welding torches and other tools of the trades.

Rosie’s Girls will be offered in the spring, April 9-13, and summer, June 25-July 13 and July 23-August 10. Financial assistance is available to those families that qualify, and payment plans are offered upon request.

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