press release





$25,000 grant supports development of a national program aimed at civic engagement and media production

New York, NY May 11, 2004 - Girls Incorporated, a national non-profit that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, announced today that AFTRA has awarded the organization a $25,000 grant to expand the Girls Inc. Media Literacy SM program. Additions to the program will emphasize media production and community action.

"We are grateful and excited that AFTRA has invested in and supports the new definition of literacy," says Joyce M. Roché, president and CEO of Girls Inc. "Girls can't afford to just be media consumers. They have to be media advocates that work to foster positive change. This grant will help girls build the skills needed to accomplish this goal."John Connolly, president of AFTRA, said, "We are honored to link up with the Girls Inc. Media Literacy program. Its goal, to increase awareness among girls and young women about how the media influences their choices and their lives and to provide tools for critically analyzing those messages, is consistent with AFTRA's longstanding commitment to ensuring that the media depicts the true American scene." Connolly added, "Girls Inc. and AFTRA share a belief that increasing the number of informed, articulate, and active viewers will serve to benefit both the media industry and the nation."Girls in the Girls Inc. Media Literacy program evaluate and critique print, audio, video, and electronic messages, and then create their own messages. Girls become active viewers who are able to assess the effects of media messages, develop news skills, and influence people in their communities.

In the updated program, girls aged 14 to 18 will use media and technology skills to share stories about issues affecting them, and design plans to address these problems. Girls will identify, explore, and document social and public policy concerns that are relevant to their lives; collaborate on message development; plan and produce a media campaign to express their views; and engage communities in their work.The Girls Inc. Media Literacy program will reach girls in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Omaha, and Dothan (Alabama). Over the long term, the program has the potential to reach an estimated 200,000 girls in 71 Girls Inc. centers in the U.S.

Girls Incorporated® is a national nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and boldSM. With local roots dating back to 1864 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. has responded to the changing needs of girls and their communities through programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and understand, value, and assert their rights. Visit Girls Inc. online at

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is a diverse union representing 80,000 actors, broadcasters, recording artists and other professionals in television, radio, music, news, commercials, non-broadcast/industrial programming and new technologies. The AFTRA-Industry Cooperative Fund awards grants to organizations that study, monitor and establish standards in the media industry.