1. In December, we finally hosted a grand re-opening celebration in our new Girls Garage workspace! After months of renovating the workspace, we were overjoyed to have our community members and new neighbors explore the wood shop, print studio, lounge, bathrooms, and library space.
    Grand re-opening celebration at Girls Garage
    Photo by Dan’Nelle Evans
  2. We built an accessible sauna for Shelterwood Collective. It truly took a village to construct: Young Women’s Design + Building Institute started the project by assembling and framing the sauna within our workspace, and our Advanced Design/Build cohort later traveled to Cazadero to install the sauna on site. It was our most ambitious and technically challenging project yet, but it demonstrated to us all what our students and instructors are capable of building together!
  3. In May, our instructors traveled to Yosemite National Park to rebuild timber fences in the front country. We dubbed this trip our “staff retreat,” but in true Girls Garage fashion, we put our skills and savvy to use in service of a larger community project! This marked Girls Garage’s 3rd project with YNP, and we’re excited for future projects.
  4. Our Advanced Design/Build cohort finally installed the geodesic dome at the Eames Ranch in Petaluma. It was a special moment for our students and instructors, who had spent 8 months building the dome inside Girls Garage’s walls. The project was a true feat of geometry, collaboration, and patience!
    Students and instructors installing a triangular frame for geodesic dome
    Photo by Bryan Meltz
  5. Our alumna landed STEM internships! We were overjoyed to learn that three of our alumna—Erica (Class of 2020), Eliana (Class of 2020), and Nautica (Class of 2021)—found incredible internships at NOVO Construction, Skanska, and Flying Moose, a Berkeley-based machine shop, respectively. It’s inspiring to watch our alumna build upon the skills they learned at Girls Garage with confidence and enthusiasm.
  6. We sponsored a professional women’s tennis tournament. We were the Title Sponsor for the Berkeley 60K Women’s Professional Tennis Tournament at the Berkeley Tennis Club. It was an honor for our community to support and uplift female and non-binary athletes, as many of our students are athletes themselves.
  7. We teamed up with Dovetail Workwear to make a bold statement about women’s workwear. Our longtime supporters and friends at Dovetail Workwear provided our Protest + Print class with two workwear jackets—the Oahe jacket and the Thermal Trucker jacket—for our students to “refurbish,” using a variety of media: embroidery, sewing, painting, and spray painting. To conclude the project, professional photographer Smeeta Mahanti came to Girls Garage and photographed our students and instructors.
    Photo by Smeeta Mahanti
  8. We learned how to work in a glass medium! Glass artist Kerbi Urbanowski’s visit to Girls Garage was a special treat for our students! Under Kerbi’s instruction, our students created bespoke nightlights using the leftover scrap colored glass from Kerbi’s studio.
  9. We released a monograph book to celebrate our 10th anniversary. A Decade at Girls Garage: 2013-2023 showcases our best projects from the past decade.
    Girls Garage monograph book
  10. We installed a beautiful shade house for a local community garden. Our Construction + Community class prefabbed the wall modules in our workspace over the winter. When spring rolled around, they spent a Saturday installed the shade house on-site at Verde Elementary in Richmond.
    Shade House built by Girls Garage teens for Urban Tilth
  11. Our Builder Bootcamp students built chicken tractors for Growing Leaders. Essentially a mobile playpen, the chicken tractors allow chickens to roam the gardens more freely, eating weeds and fertilizing the soil. Our students also wheat pasted hand-drawn chicken characters onto the doors, giving them an extra Girls Garage flourish.
  12. We whipped up a batch of planter stands for Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center. Our Advanced Design/Build students wasted no time in creating planter stands for our longtime clients, whom we’ve worked with for years.
  13. We organized a mixer with National Association of Women in Construction. The event was an opportunity for our students and alumna to meet women working in the construction industry and ask them career questions!
    NAWIC mixer at Girls Garage
  14. We raised over $1,000,000 for the second year in a row! As our organization grows, so does the costs it takes to run our programming. Our Director of Development Kristy Higares worked tirelessly to continue to cultivate new donors, apply for  grants, and develop and deepen existing corporate partnerships! Stanley Black & Decker grant
  15. Our young students built wooden books…with secret compartments. When we asked our middle school students about their ideal project, they proposed a “secret book” with an inside compartment to stash things…like candy. This was one of our silliest projects in recent memory with our Carpentry + Woodworking students.
    Girls Garage students create secret book boxes
  16. Our Advanced Design/Build students designed optical illusion cutting boards. Using a mixture of cherry, walnut, and maple hardwood, our high school students put on their geometry caps to create these beautiful cutting boards.
  17. Stanford students visited Girls Garage to use the risograph printer. Last winter, Emily taught a class for Stanford’s Architectural Design department called “A World Built by Women.” For their final project, the college students traveled to Girls Garage to use the risograph printer to print their zine, titled “A World Built By Women: Manifesting equity in the built environment.”
  18. We celebrated the graduating class of 2023! As always, we are so proud of our graduating class! Fun fact: 52% of these graduates are heading into STEM major, and 77% of staying in-state in California.
  19. Our new location got a makeover with hand-painted signage! We made a new friend this fall: Seth from Sleight of Hand Designs, who worked for 2.5 days straight to paint our exterior signage on our new building in time for our grand re-opening celebration.
    Exterior signage at Girls Garage
  20. Our students’ artwork was displayed at local Berkeley libraries. Our Protest + Print students created screen printed posters that were displayed at the Central and West Branches of the Berkeley Public Library.Student artwork at Berkeley Public Library
  21. Our corporate partners led our students on tours of construction sites. These field trips were excellent opportunities for our high school students to see what construction projects look like on a much larger scale than what they build at Girls Garage!
    Construction site tour
  22. We wrote and printed a self-care zine. As part of the design project of YWDBI, our students wrote and illustrated a self-care zine. On the final day, we used the risograph printer to create dozens of copies, which we handed out to students, families, and staff.
  23. We continued to invest in professional development for our staff. For the third year in a row, each staff member received a stipend to put towards their own professional development. This year, Augusta and Bethany traveled out-of-state for artist’s residencies, where they worked on new creative projects.