Eleven high school girls recently got a glimpse of the University of Georgia student experience through a college readiness program organized by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a public service and outreach unit of UGA, and the nonprofit organization Girls Inc.

The visit, spanning two full days of activities including overnight stay in UGA student housing, provided the girls a window into life at UGA and introduced them to the multitude of resources the university has to offer.

The girls participated in team-building exercises, an extensive tour of UGA’s campus and assorted college readiness workshops each day. Notable stops on the campus tour included the media archives of UGA’s Special Collections Library, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s hospital and anatomy lab and a microbiology lab where the girls got a chance to see the cellular makeup of dissected termites.

“We wanted the girls to get firsthand experience with the university, considering both its important presence in the state and the many opportunities it presents to engage youths,” said Carolina Darbisi, Ph.D., public service assistant at the Fanning Institute and tour coordinator.

Girls Inc. was founded in 1945, and from modest beginnings has spread nationwide and beyond. The mission of Girls Inc. is to help young girls prepare for the changing needs of their communities by increasing their awareness of available resources concerning education, health, public service and more. Considering the Fanning Institute’s own mission — built on the three tenets of community, nonprofit organizations and professional associations, and youth — the pairing was a natural fit.

“Girls Inc. is a very well-respected organization, with a mission closely aligned with UGA’s mission of public service and the Fanning Institute’s own mission of preparing future generations for community leadership. Everyone involved had a wonderful time and it was an enriching experience,” said Darbisi.

The Fanning Institute provides leadership development training and other technical assistance to public and private groups throughout the state. They also provide a number of college readiness programs for public schools in Atlanta and Clarke County — including those tailored to demographics such as girls and minorities — and have a longstanding relationship with Girls Inc.