EDGEWATER — GirlForward, the North Side nonprofit that mentors young refugees, has moved a mile east down Devon Avenue to an Edgewater storefront, leaving its former, tiny office behind.
The small, yet growing organization now has more than twice as much space to help young refugee girls living in the area.
"We've really grown our mentorship program," said Blair Brettschneider, GirlForward's executive director.
Brettschneider founded the organization in 2011 with a meager budget to work with the girls, some of whom have spent most of their lives in refugee camps. Now, she, one staff member and volunteer mentors work with about 50 high-school-aged refugees.
Brettschneider said all seven girls graduating from GirlForward's mentorship program this year have been accepted into college.
She said refugees at Sullivan High School would be a major focus in the future now that the headquarters, at 1251 W. Devon Ave., are so close to the school.
"We don't really work with Sullivan that much — and we want to," she said.
GirlForward joins the growing small-business economy on a stretch of Devon Avenue pocked with vacant storefronts.
Audio Archeology, a record shop and vintage audio electronics store, opened in March at 1324 W. Devon Ave.
And Heartland Health Centers continues to build a new facility at 1300 W. Devon Ave.