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.


The network of community and citizens working together has always been the foundation in which the strength and vitality of Girls Inc. was built. Shelby County’s Tri Kappa Sorority initiated a project in early 1970 to build a local Girls (Club) Inc. After planning, cooperation, and hard work from many diverse groups and service clubs, the Shelbyville Girls Club opened its doors in October 1972. Full national Girls Club membership was granted in June 1973. In 1991, the National organization of Girls Club initiated a major reorganization and formal name change to Girls Incorporated®. The Shelbyville Girls Club adopted the new name. In 1992, Board members of Girls Inc. attended a long range planning retreat where members discussed the feasibility of raising money to build a permanent home for Girls Inc., and in 1995, ground broke on the existing facility. In 1996, the Barbara J. Anderson Center opened, and the organization has been thriving from this location since then.

In 2011 and again in 2016, the Girls Inc. Board of Directors adopted a new vision for growth, and over the course of the last several years, the organization has experienced incredible growth and impact.  Membership at the organization’s facility at 904 S. Miller Street, Shelbyville increased substantially, and in 2018, the affiliate completed a building expansion and renovation project to accommodate this growth.  As the organization experienced growth at its facility, it also expanded its operations to partner with local schools and deliver comprehensive programming to all students in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th at the various schools in Shelby County.  Based on the success of the school-based partnership expansion in Shelby County, the organization received funding from the National organization in 2017 to expand its school-based partnership program delivery model into neighboring Decatur County, and the organization has been doing so since the fall of 2017.

I struggled internally for a long time, but through Girls Inc. I learned that my body is a resource, not an object. I began to love and embrace my body.