Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teenshop Kicks Off 24th Year of Service


Career Women Mentor Girls in Volunteer Nonprofit Weekend Program; Enrollment Deadline Set for October 30th

Elleanor Jean Hendley with graduating senior

Elleanor Jean Hendley with Teenshop alumnae college students

Philadelphia, PA (BlackNews.com) - When she founded Teenshop in June, 1985, Elleanor Jean Hendley, an Emmy Award winning former television news education reporter and talk show host/producer, was working full time at Philadelphia's CBS affiliate. "I wanted to help nurture and empower adolescent girls. As a former public school teacher prior to working in broadcasting, I had started an after school charm club for girls, so I decided to continue working with this age group."

The Teenshop program now includes four Philadelphia chapters and one in Los Angeles, California, each led by a five-member team of dedicated female mentors. The ten-month curriculum is an innovative series of life skills workshops, community service, college tours, field trips, and a Women's History Month Leadership Luncheon.

Three years ago Hendley started a residential Summer Leadership Conference for Teenshop's rising seniors, which is held at Pennsylvania's Bryn Mawr College. Each girl is sponsored by a career woman who also becomes her mentor. "We're fortunate to attract their generous support, which is what really makes this conference possible," says Hendley. She's also looking for a corporate partner to help expand the conference and make it available to girls on other college campuses.

More than three thousand girls have been enrolled in Teenshop since 1985 and members come from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. All program graduates attend college or pursue other education goals, and many graduates return to volunteer in their former chapters.

As she looks ahead to the 25th Anniversary in June, 2010, Hendley is proud of the group's accomplishments but says maintaining the program is a struggle with very limited funds and without a dedicated funding base. "We continue to actively reach out to corporations, foundations, and anyone interested in the positive development of girls, to show them that an investment in Teenshop is as good as gold."

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