Cynthia Bruno and Kelly O'Neill met while participating in the United Way's Emerging Community Leaders program. In early 2015 Cynthia went to meet her mentee whom she saw weekly through the CU 1 to 1 Mentoring Program. She was excited to see a photo of her mentee holding a sign that said "I want to be a doctor when I grow up!" Excitedly, Cynthia asked her about this. Her mentee's response was "oh, I don't really know what I want to be so I just picked something." Around the same time, Kelly and her mentee were exploring what was next after high school for her mentee. Her mentee didn't have much knowledge or guidance on standardized tests, applying for college, scholarships etc. It was all very overwhelming. So when Cynthia shared the story about her mentee and finding a solution, Kelly resonated and together the created what is now Girls Go For It!
Girls Go For It piloted its 5th grade after school program at Carrie Busey Elementary School in Savoy, IL with 15 girls in the fall of 2015. To date, Girls Go For It has been in six Champaign Unit 4 schools with an enrollment that totals more than 350 participants. In fall 2018, Girls Go For It expanded into a public school in the St. Louis area.
Cynthia and Kelly's desire was to create a program that was accessible to all girls, especially girls from low income households. As a result, the program is free to all participants and transportation home is available to those who need it.