Girls Empowered and Strong (GES) Program

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Female only

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Individuals suffering from FASD; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2); Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)

Topic: Property crime; Social development

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; School-based; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

G.I.R.L.S Empowered and Strong (GES) is a program specifically for teenage girls to address any issues they may have and help them become empowered to make positive choices for themselves and their futures, thereby preventing future involvement in the criminal legal system. GES address the realities that many adolescent girls face in their daily lives and have workshop on topics such as identity, healthy relationships, self-esteem, self-care and coping, emotional management, body-image and confidence, healthy sexuality, communication, shoplifting, and peer pressure through various methods including groups, mentoring, presentations/workshops, and cultural activities GES is also FASD and LGBTQ2S+ friendly.


The main goals of the GES program are to:

  • Teach girls to make healthy choices, develop key leadership skills and understand their rights and responsibilities;
  • Help Indigenous girls develop a sense of themselves as Indigenous people; and
  • Encourage girls to engage in peer support and access supports in the community when needed.


The clientele for GES are typically girls between the ages of 12 and 17 years of age. The Inner Circle component of GES focuses more specifically on Indigenous girls. Many of the participants have mental health difficulties and is FASD and LGBTQ2S+ friendly.

The clientele are typically met through pro-active community engagement, but referrals from community and justice partners (e.g., Terra Centre, John Howard Society, Youth Empowerment Services, DECSA, Youth Criminal Defense Office, etc.) are also common.

Core Components

The GES program is flexible in both content and location for delivery. The key program components include:

Girls Groups – An 8-10 session program that can be run in school, group homes, in the community, etc.

Inner Circle – A program to strengthen the relationship between women and the girls they care for.

Rights for You(th) – A presentation designed for grade 9 social studies classes.

Lead the Way – Opportunities to foster youth leadership.

Stoplifting for Youth – A program to help youth who shoplift.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
  • Partnerships: The United Way and Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network contribute funds, training, and staff skill development to help with the success of the GES program.
  • Training and technical assistance: Staff training is provided by partner organizations United Way and the Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The GES program has been implemented in Edmonton, Alberta in 2005 through the Elizabeth Fry Society Edmonton and is ongoing. Funding from 2017 to 2019 was provided through the Civil Forfeiture Grant, Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) was been conducted on the GES program in 2018. The findings have shown the following:

  • The ratio for GES was 3.32:1 , which shows that for every dollar invested in the program, an average of $3.32 in social value was created.


There is no Canadian reference available at this time.

For more information on this program, contact:

Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton

10242 105 Street

Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 3L5

Telephone: (780) 421-1175 or Toll Free 1-866-421-1175



Record Entry Date - 2021-09-29
Record Updated On - 2022-01-17
Date modified: