Oklahoma Girl Scouts

"Thanks to TechSoup, we were able to create a booklet that shows the power of the program, the strength of these girls, and their determination to make a good life for themselves. Eastern Oklahoma is forever changed because of Project M.E.N.D., and TechSoup provided the tools to give the program a voice."

Spokesperson for the Girls Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma

Eastern Oklahoma Girl Scouts Make Memorable Music with Software Donations

In Oklahoma, Girl Scouts are concerned with much more serious matters than cookie sales. The state has more women in prison (per capita) than anywhere else in the United States. And daughters of these female prisoners are four to five times more likely to end up in prison than their peers. In response to this crisis, in 2002 the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma created Girl Scouts Beyond Bars: Project M.E.N.D. (Mothers Encouraging and Nurturing their Daughters). This program brings mothers in prison together with their daughters. It gives the daughters the bonding experience they crave, and the mothers a reason to get out of prison, and stay out.

As part of this project, the girls wrote and recorded songs about their lives and experiences. They used Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, donated through TechSoup, to create a 16-page printed booklet to go with the CD. The CD project encouraged the girls to work together on an idea that gave them confidence and determination. They also learned useful and applicable graphic design skills. Several girls indicated that because of this training, they would be interested in graphic design as a career.

Project M.E.N.D. has now expanded to include a re-entry program to help mothers transition from the prison system. It assists them with finding a place to live, jobs, clothes, and life skills. Adobe's software donation played a vital role in improving the girls' lives. But it also helped increase the visibility of Project M.E.N.D. and allowed the girls to share its importance with potential participants, volunteers, and donors.