PEARLS for Teen Girls to celebrate 30 years serving Milwaukee youth

NOW: PEARLS for Teen Girls to celebrate 30 years serving Milwaukee youth

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A local nonprofit that has helped thousands of Milwaukee youth is celebrating 30 years this week.

Started in 1993, PEARLS for Teen Girls helps girls develop social, emotional, and practical skills. They provide positive role models, like Andrea Garcia, who started as a PEARLS girl when she was a teen and is now the organization's Facilitation Coach.

"Especially nowadays when we look at social media and everything that happens in school, I think it's important to provide that safe space and to learn what that space actually looks like and feels like," Garcia said.

That safe space could be the PEARLS building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive or at one of the 18 area schools they are embedded in.

"Some of the periods that we cross into are their lunch period or their study hall session," Garcia said. "We come to the girls. Wherever the girls are, that's where we are."

The programs they provide are free of charge. To continue their work and celebrate their 30th birthday, PEARLS is holding a gala-style fundraiser Tuesday night where they hope to raise $300,000.

"It helps support us in terms of programming, in terms of other expenses, if it's providing transportation, providing snacks," Garcia explained.

New York Times best-selling author and host of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" on OWN, Iyanla Vanzant will be the events keynote speaker.

"With Iyanla being a motivational speaker and our theme being transformation, we know that she will be the best fit for our mission," Garcia said.

The fundraiser is from 5:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday at the Bradley Symphony Center. You can purchase tickets at the door.

If your child would like to join PEARLS, the organization has ongoing open enrollment for girls from 5th to 12th grade. For more information, CLICK HERE

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