Girls At Work in Brentwood

Emily looked right at the palm sander and with genuine fear asked ‘what if I can’t turn it off?’ Elaine Hamel did not flinch as she answered the 9-year-old, “Even if a put my hand on the sander, it cannot hurt me. If you can turn it on, you can turn it off.”

Elaine operates the non-profit ‘Girls at Work’ that delivers the tools that girls need to find inner strength and courage. Through woodworking skills and power tool use and safety, Girls at Work teaches girls to that they can overcome life obstacles with persistence and knowledge. They learn just how powerful, strong and smart they really are!

Yesterday at Swasey Central School in Brentwood, girls in the YMCA afterschool program built shaker peg boards with palm sanders, hammers and a drill press. At the end, they tucked their achievement under their arm and walked away with increased confidence, a stronger voice and the power of knowing they are successful. The Girls at Work mission dovetails with the YMCA in developing youth to reach their fullest potential.

“Children are natural learners. It is our goal to introduce them to many hands-on experiences that develop their whole self. Girls at Work brings a dimension of empowerment to girls as they learn a traditionally male-dominated skill. It’s a powerful life lesson for these young minds.” -Kimberly Meyer, Director of Community Operations for the Southern District YMCA

Visit for more information on how Girls at Work is empowering girls throughout New England. Questions may be directed to (603) 345-0392 or via email at

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