GirL-E (Leadership & Empowerment) is a diversion program that provides a turning point for young women through interaction with law enforcement and other positive role models that helps keep them out of the juvenile justice system. Established in 2010, this 6-week program is offered multiple times throughout the year at the STAR/PAL U.S. Bank Center to Serve Youth, and gives participants (young women ages 12-18) an outlet to openly discuss relevant teen issues including self-esteem, healthy relationships and choices,nutrition, sexual assault, bullying, gang and violence prevention, and goal setting.
The majority of participants in this program are first-time offenders who have been charged with low-level, misdemeanor crimes such as truancy and curfew violations, petty theft, etc.. Upon successful completion of this program, participants are able to “divert” their cases and avoid entering the cycle of the juvenile justice system. Curriculum includes presentations from STAR/PAL officers as well as volunteer mental health and health care professionals. Together they provide the knowledge and information necessary to empower these young women to make positive life choices in the future and avoid behaviors that pose a risk to their futures as successful adults and leaders.