The Story Behind the Nonprofit
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Blythe Zemel on Founding Girl with Grit
“Girl With Grit continues to be a girl-centered program run in the current facility on South Main in Boerne and with mobile workshop programs serving at-risk women and girls. However, we wanted boys to know they are welcome to attend classes also, since we get that question so much,” explains Blythe. Come And Make It! better describes the vision Blythe strives to achieve. “We offer a space to give young people the skills to become strong adults with great life skills. A makerspace is a place where people create and learn to make things.” Read More.
Blythe Zemel, Executive Director and Founding President
Blythe has had a long-time passion for creativity and the power to create. She attended the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Houston, went on to the University of Houston with a B.A. in Art History, graduating with honors, with a minor in Studio Art and a focus of photography. She has sold art internationally and has had her photography recognized multiple times through notable outlets, such as National Geographic, KPRC News and more. She worked as a street fashion photographer in for Girl on the Street in NYC documenting Houston street fashion and had her eye for unique fashion and clothing designs featured in Trace Magazine, Bust Magazine, and sold pieces internationally. She completed her Ec-12 teaching certification in art at ACT and went on to direct and teach enrichment centered classes for youth in Houston. Through years of volunteering, she had a love for nonprofit work and teaching kids the importance of their individuality, ideas, and the power of creating. Since her move to Boerne, TX, she has continued her work wih youth and founded Girl with Grit Program and Come and Make It!. She also lauched a line of patented safety glasses for women, Safety Sasses. She likes to encourage creativity alongside practical business skills.
Staci Andrews, Vice President
Staci Andrews served as Blythe Zemel’s mentor through the start-up of Girl with Grit Program. She is retired Navy and a successful business woman herself. She currently runs Staci’s Gift Shop and Hot Rod Garage in Boerne, TX. She led some of the best Hot Rod Nights Boerne ever saw!
Briana Huhn, Trades Director and Secretary
Briana Huhn has been a welder/fabricator for 11 years across multiple industries. In addition to welding, Briana shares her love of the trades with children through a Minnesota based nonprofit, Big Ideas Inc. Her main goal is to help end the stigma that the trades are second rate. Her metalworking skills earned her a spot on Motortrend’s ‘Bitchin Bootcamp’ and Discovery Channel’s ‘Monster Garage’.
Marsha Tucker, Treasurer
Marsha Tucker ran a large and successful education nonprofit organization in Houston, TX. She started her career in journalism and had to jump many gender differences to be taken seriously on thw workforce. A career woman, with a background in nonprofit work, Marsha is a perfect example of the corporate Girl with Grit. But don’t be mistaked by her background, Marsha knows her way around tools and cars.
Assistants and Interns
Natalie Salyers, Teacher and Assistant
Natalie Salyers is our right-hand person day-to-day at the Makerspace. She assists our Executive Director in classes and administration. Natalie started out as a talented student in the program and has grown to be a worthy sidekick.
Ann Asher, Teacher and Peer Volunteer
Ann Asher has worked as an art teacher for some time. She is well loved for her sweet heart mized with her daring fashion. She works alongside students too encouraging them as a peer to problem-solve.
Ryli Danai, Peer Volunteer
Ryli Danai is a long-time peer volunteer in the program and is currently training for a role of an assistant. Ryli is a maker with an eye for design and color. She enjoys everything from fashion to digital to more.
Benjamin Martin, Intern
Benjamin Martin has proven himself of a vast amount of self-direction in skills through the Makerspace as a student. He will be interning as a Peer Volunteer in our some of our classes and programs.
Lori O'Rourke, Market Coordinator
Lori O’Rourke is the proud mom to 4 of our Girls with Grit. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and an Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in School Psychology. She spent many years working as a school psychologist in Iowa public schools before moving to Texas and homeschooling her children.
Paula VM, Photography Studio
Paula, orginally from Los Angeles owns our onsite photography studio. Paula specializes in high-end, creative conceptual portraits. She has helped guide young minds in setting up photos from lighting to costumes.
Emma Dietert, Maker and Instructor
Emma has been a long-time maker and event corrdinator. She comes to our nonprofit with a love of not only of making, but also teaching. Her focus in teaching is cutting and engraving machines
Ashley Robertson, Automotive
Ashley is a shop assitant at the world renowned shop ToyMakerz in North Carolina. Ashley has assisted us with removing the 1934 truck engine and has taught a few of our automotive classes.
Brooke Dorman, Homeschool Associate
Stephani Risinger, Events Associate
Judy Jehnke, Market Coordinator and Makerspace Teacher
Beth Webster, Grant Writer
Rachel Smith, Diversity Associate
Janeen Castillo, Mind and Body Associate
Janie Sellers, STEM Associate
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Mobile Workshop Program
Our Partners & Sponsors
- Methodist Gift Shop
- Boerne Market Days
- Big Ideas
- Gratitude School
- Boerne Peace Program
- Miller Welders
- Stemtastic LLC
- MN Outlaw Customs
- Iron Demon Forge
- Paula VM Photography
- Boerne Handmade Market
- Boerne Chamber
- Stephani Risinger – Mary Kay Consultant
- Under a Fig Tree
- Boerne Nutrition
- Of A Muse
- The Jones Family Christmas Light Display
- The Agricultural Museum and Arts Center
- Kendall County Behavioral Health Initative
- Boerne YMCA
- Girl Scout Troop 992
- and countless private donors!