Building Bold Girls
The 5th Annual Girls Inc. of Johnson County Gala, “Building Bold Girls,” was held Saturday May 5 at Dye’s Walk Country Club. The event honors local women leaders and raises funds for Girls Inc. Local community leaders were present including Joe McGuinness, Mayor of Franklin and Mark Myers, Greenwood’s Mayor.
Girls Inc. is a national non-profit organization that provides an environment for girls to become stronger, smarter and build the boldness to be themselves. Locally, the organization provides after school care as well as camp opportunities for girls to learn new skills, be more independent, and find their own self-worth. The national organization dates back to 1864; locally, the Johnson County Chapter has served girls in our community for 72 years.
A silent auction and an opportunity to mingle with others kick started the evening. As everyone settled in for dinner, the program began with a welcome address and dinner. Laurel Goeringer gave the keynote address and shared her invaluable experiences as a summer member of Girls Inc. from six to 12 years of age. Laurel was involved with the organization again through her involvement with AmeriCorps while attending Franklin College. She worked there nearly four years. Laurel is currently studying law at Indiana University.
A presentation of “Strong, Smart, and Bold Woman Role Models” was next on the agenda. Twenty-eight different women were recognized as role models. One of these women would be named “Woman of the Year,” presented by Barb Miller. This year’s recipient was Erin Smith.
It was a special night for Erin as her husband, Trey, and her mother, Cheryl Gilkerson, were present for the honor she received at the gala. “It is such an honor to be recognized by your peers,” Smith said in her opening remarks after receiving the award. Smith continued, “This is a Girls Inc. thing, and as she [Barb Miller] mentioned, I have two boys.” She went on to say that she knows people wonder why she’s involved in promoting women and making them understand that they can excel. She believes it is important for every one to support girls and boys alike while they are growing up and let them know that they can make a difference in the world.
Erin Smith is a Hoosier transplant from Illinois by way of Tennessee. In January 2002 she started The Stitch Smith. A business in the corporate apparel industry providing embroidery, screen-printing, and other products that could be used by businesses, athletic teams, and other organizations. Recently, Erin merged her business with Franklin Printing. The joint business is called Spotlight Strategies. Smith is a co-owner of the company. This recognition confirms Erin’s impact with each organization she chooses to be involved with and the passion she carries within her in all that she does.
The evening concluded with the announcement of the silent auction winners, a live auction for items as well as the opportunity to give additional funds to help sponsor programs. Girls Inc. of Johnson County needs financial assistance to provide field trips, transportation, after school programming or summer camp to girls in need.
Sonya Ware-Meguiar, CEO of Girls Inc. of Johnson County shared these thoughts about the event, “Thank you to community members that supported our “Building Bold Girls” Gala at Dye’s Walk on May 5th. We appreciate your support and belief in our mission and vision for girls and young women in Johnson County. Your financial support allows us to provide scholarship assistance to over 67% of the families we serve.”
Congratulations to all who were honored and to Erin Smith for the “Woman of the Year” honor.
For more information, please visit www.GirlsIncJC.org.