Good Cause of the Month: Girls at Work

This nonprofit provides empowering opportunities for young girls to reach their unknown potential through building workshops

Starting last year, we began alerting you to events and causes worthy of your time and philanthropic treasure in our Good Cause of the Month series. Keep an eye out for a Good Cause every month here at, from charitable events to volunteer opportunities to nonprofits you should get to know- and, by the end of the year, your do-gooder cred will be off the charts.

For the month of May, we’d like to introduce you to Girls at Work, Inc. Founder and Program Director Elaine Hamel. With 25 years of experience as a general contractor for residential renovations, she's definitely the right person to teach building skills.

So what sparked the idea for Girls at Work? “I spent a week at a summer camp teaching a group of young girls how to use power tools in my early 20s," says Hamel. Soon, she began teaching at more summer camps in between her own projects. Today, the foundation’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment where girls can discover and unleash their inner power through building.

What They Do

As with most organizations, there is no "typical" day for Hamel. However, on most days, many young girls from inner city schools in Manchester arrive by bus and enter the workshop. They suit up with glasses and a dusk mask, find their material and pick up where they left off from the day before.

Hamel notes that the workshops she provides allow the young girls (typically 9 or 10) an experience that takes them out of their comfort zone and into a space where they are encouraged to tap into previously unknown confidence. “What I like best is the transformation that happens when young girls, who many classify as ‘underachievers,’ leave our workshops feeling powerful and capable,” says Hamel. “The furniture they build and take home serve as a constant reminder of the power available within.”

Girls at Work is currently working to raise money that will allow future growth by partnering with a team to develop the upcoming necessary steps for success. They are also looking to purchase a bus to convert into a mobile shop.

“We have a larger-than-life mission with a very small staff,” says Hamel. “We rely heavily on volunteers who help us with many aspects," she adds, which can include fundraising, help with events, becoming a board member, prepping lumber for projects, cutting apart pallets and much more.

How You Can Help

From visiting their website to check for new events, to donating and volunteering, here are a few ways that you can help:

  • Events: A full schedule of fundraising events is posted on the website.
  • Volunteer: If you would like to help by volunteering, you can fill out a volunteer application online.
  • Donating: Making a charitable donation to Girls at Work Inc. is easy; all you have to do is visit the website.

To learn more about Girls at Work and all the ways you can get involved, visit their website here.

Do you know of an organization or charitable event that would make a great Good Cause of the Month? Send your ideas to Assistant Editor Emily Heidt at

Categories: Cause of the Month