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Macon – A new Girls Coordinating Council has been formed to better address the needs of girls in the Macon community, District Attorney David Cooke and others announced on Thursday.

“Juvenile crime has been a topic of great community concern for quite some time,” Cooke said. “Despite using every prosecutorial resource available from pre-trial diversion to commitment, we can’t prosecute our way out of this. And if we don’t intervene in children’s lives now, they’ll become future criminal defendants, victims, or both.”

The Girls Council is modeled on a similar project launched in Broward County, Fla. by the Pace Center for Girls.

Pace, in cooperation with the Macon-Bibb County School-Justice Partnership, was awarded a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to work with Macon girls through the Girls Council. The Girls Council will endeavor to collaborate with a focus on reforming and strengthening the local system of care for girls in need.

Pace is a pioneer in recognizing that girls experience trauma differently from boys and that they need different approaches to restore their well-being. Their proven model utilizes a holistic program to address girls’ academic needs, health, and emotional well-being. Over the past 35 years, Pace has kept more than 40,000 girls from having further involvement in the juvenile justice system.

“Girls grow up to become mothers, and mothers are the first nurturers and teachers for their children,” said Neil Skene, vice president for strategic planning and policy at Pace. “When troubled girls get their lives on track, their children start life on a much better path as well. So changing girls’ lives changes generations to come. When we break inter-generational cycles of poverty and neglect and trauma, society is safer, healthier and more productive. The payback is enormous.”

The first meeting of the Girls Council is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and will include representatives from a number of public and private agencies involved in serving the needs of girls.

“This initiative, Girls Council, is so important to our community and all the girls who envision a future for themselves but yet can’t quite develop a roadmap alone,” said Macon Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Verda Colvin who is a Girls Council member. “As a community it is vital that we invest in their future as they will be nurturers of the next generation. Boosting their self-esteem ensures that they will become the leaders of tomorrow. Our community can only be vibrant when we invest in our children. Our girls need us now.”

Anyone interested in serving on the Girls Council is asked to call Reach Specialist Kamitra Stanley at 478-444-5961.

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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack

[email protected]

478-621-6179 (office)

478-319-2529 (cell)