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GIRLS CLUB returns to Northern BC

Prince George is the newest city to welcome a Chapter of GIRLS CLUB – an event-based charity that celebrates and connects girls with neuro-developmental differences, like autism, ADHD, severe anxiety, Downs Syndrome, and the like.

GIRLS CLUB was created to give neurodivergent girls ways to meet and form friendships with likeminded peers. Otherwise, these kids are restricted to less-welcoming mainstream environments, where they have little-to-no opportunity to spend time with people who experience the world in the ways they do.

GIRLS CLUB was founded in the Lower Mainland in 2017, and rapidly grew to support Chapters across the province: in the Thompson Valley, the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island. It previously had a Chapter in Northern BC, but it closed its doors with COVID, and has not had the capacity to reopen until local mom Kristen McBurnie decided to make it happen.

As a Youth Care Worker for School District 57, and a mom to two autistic kids herself, supporting the social development of atypical kids is at the centre of McBurnie’s heart. She has watched her own children struggle socially, and knew that GIRLS CLUB would be an excellent way to bring much-need recreational opportunities to young girls in our community. Helping the girls connect, make friends, and create memories will be her focus for the GIRLS CLUB Chapter she’s running.

No stranger to community engagement, McBurnie is already a dedicated and passionate volunteer who has donated her time to PG Senior Lacrosse, PG Minor Hockey, and Girl Guides. But McBurnie is undeterred by the extra commitment, saying “it’s worth it; giving these girls the chance to feel included, and to be a part of something like this is huge. It’s something they’ll never forget.

The Northern BC Chapter launch party will be held on July 23 in Lheidli Tenneh Memorial Park. Fully inclusive, it will welcome girls of all abilities and ages. Ongoing events will include theme parties, arts and crafts, games, field trips, and more.

Families who’ve been a part of GIRLS CLUB share how it gives them rare opportunities to form meaningful connections and community with people who share similar challenges, and “really get it.”  Founder Vicky Ryan describes it as “a game changer for girls who have a tough time meeting and making friends,” citing the organization’s “truly inclusive and specialized approach” as the reason for its success.

GIRLS CLUB is a registered charity. Membership is free, and no drop-in or participation fees are charged. For more info about GIRLS CLUB, and to register to attend the launch event, please go to www.inGIRLSCLUB.com.

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