Girl with Grit Program was founded by Blythe Zemel in December of 2020 as a grassroots 501c3 nonprofit to help empower girls. Blythe felt that we can help push young girls forward in our community through introduction to various hands-on learning opportunities, which can encourage and develop independence.
Briana Huhn came on as a co-founder in April 2021 to help direct the mission to where it is now. Through her Huhney Bee Trades Program, Girl with Grit was recently recognized in the San Antonio Business Journal and by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
Girl with Grit has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past two years throughout the Texas Hill Country. This growth points to a grassroots need that our mission meets. We started with only 500 square feet in Boerne, TX and have grown into a multi-classroom workshop facility called “Come and Make It!”. We have reached beyond Boerne to Dripping Springs. There, we utilize Huhney Bee Fabrication to run a mobile program serving the San Antonio and Austin areas.
In addition to these instructional programs we initiated a Junior Entrepreneur Program that is facilitated by our board members Judy Jehnke and Lori O’ Rourke. They have developed highly successful youth businesses with Austin, Kaylin, Sydney, and Brynley. This team participates in weekend community markets in both Wimberley and Boerne monthly. Their products can also be bought online or in our facility gift shop.
Supporting our efforts is fundraising and outreach director Stephani Risinger with Emma Dietert assisting. This volunteer team coordinates events throughout the year for adults to help support youth.
Our advisory committee includes long-term business owner and retired Navy, Staci Andrews. Additionally, Marsha Tucker, former executive director of a Houston nonprofit educational organization, offers her many years of experience in nonprofit work.
Our staff includes Natalie Salyers, Come and Make It! Manager, additional to her are Chloe Flores and Ryli Danai. All girls started in the Girl with Grit Program and progressed to a leadership position.
Our current goal is to expand the variety of skills while reaching a wider population of girls and women through monthly camps and retreats.
Girl with Grit has been in multiple publications, podcasts, and newsletters. For more information, please see the representative listing of our press that is available online.
Girl with Grit is also joined by additional board members Staci Andrews, Retired Navy and Entrepreneur. Staci has run multiple successful businesses in the San Antonio area. Staci brings that expertise not only to serve our board, but also to our makers when it comes to merchandising, hospitality, and more.
Board Member, 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 is responsible for heading our Markets and Entrepreneur Program along with another board mamber that works for USAA, Judy Jehnke. Other support comes from Lauren Taylor, with her Master’s in Education and years of classroom experience and Marsha Tucker, a retired Executive Director of a large nonprofit educational speaker platform in Houston TX.
We are joined by a few additional advisory board members.
THE WOMEN BEHIND THE NON-PROFIT.
Girl with Grit Program is a 501c3 nonprofit that was officially started by Blythe Zemel in December of 2020. Blythe had recently developed a line of female safety glasses, Safety Sasses and became aware of that we often overlook teaching girls some fundamental skills.
With only a formal educational background in art and a love of entrepreneurship, she started pulling together a board of women that she felt could saturate skills into young girls and women she felt were missing. She started the grassroots non-profit program funded solely by her other job, the support of families, and a major figure in the trades, Briana Huhn.
Briana Huhn, our Trades Director, 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’. She is responsible for co-founding Girl with Grit through her dedication to teaching girls about the skilled trades.
In September 2021, Girl with Grit officially opened a Co-ed Community Makerspace COME AND MAKE IT! to share our love of hands-on skills.