Girls Inc. was founded in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War. Across the decades, we adapted to meet the specific environmental challenges facing girls and young women, always working in partnership with schools and communities, and guided by our founders’ fundamental belief in the inherent potential of each girl. Woven into those early girls’ clubs are the same core values of Girls Inc. today: the importance of creating a safe gathering place for girls to learn and to share in a sisterhood, and a strong premise that each girl can develop her own capacities, self- confidence, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
OF FORT SMITH HISTORY
Girls Inc. of Fort Smith was established in 1934 as a vision in improving the quality of life for girls in the community. After raising funds and seeking help from the WPA, the Belle Grove Center was opened in 1941 and served as a place to provide clothing, halt needs, and recreation for underprivileged girls.
As a way to empower more girls within the area, the Nancy Orr Girls Club opened in 1970. Named appropriately after Nancy Orr, who paved the way for so many young girls. Through her sacrifice, many young ladies today are able to advocate for themselves and for their community by using their voices to promote positive change.
Today, Girls Inc. of Fort Smith operates out of The Nancy Orr Center as well as embarking in Outreach Initiatives within the Fort Smith Public Schools, but no longer owns the Belle Grove Center.