HAVERHILL - Girls Inc. of Greater Haverhill will celebrate its 100th birthday Thursday, Nov. 21 at DiBurros Function Facility with a dinner and awards ceremony. Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts, is the honorary chair of the event, titled “Girls Have a Dream” 100th Birthday Bash.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty Dukakis will reminisce about Michael Dukakis’ mother, Euterpe Boukis Dukakis, who immigrated to Haverhill in 1913, the year Girls Inc. was founded. She worked in the city’s shoe factories, was inspired by Winter Street Elementary School Principal Stanley Gray to continue her education beyond Haverhill High School and was the first Greek woman in the United States to attend college. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas will introduce Dukakis.
Girls Inc. will also honor three local women for being Strong, Smart and Bold. The Strong Woman Award will be presented to Kathleen Sullivan Rurak, tutor, religious educator and former first lady of Haverhill; the Smart Woman Award will be presented to Jean Poth, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Northern Essex Community College, and the Bold Woman Award will be presented to Ellen Roche, branch manager at Mortgage Network.
Girls Inc. was started in 1913 when early feminists and philanthropists saw a need in the community. At that time the shoe and textile industries in Haverhill were booming and jobs were plentiful. Many young women moved to Haverhill to work in the factories; many did not have family or friends in the city. Haverhill’s “foremothers” recognized that need and in 1913 Girls Inc. opened its doors at 114 Merrimack St. as the Kumsumore Club. In 1945, the club became a charter member of the Girls Club of America. In 1990 the Haverhill Girls Club became Girls Incorporated to avoid being confused with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Girls Inc. currently runs an onsite school-age after-school program and summer camp and operates national award winning programs in several Haverhill public schools and in other venues in the community. For information about this event, call 978-372-0771, ext. 225 or email email@example.com. Visit online at www.girlsinchaverhill.org.