About Us

HGNA grew out of parent workshops on girl bullying and adolescent development in 2004 and 2005. Co-founders Mary Ellen Young and Cathy Fisher recognized the need for an organization that could challenge the negative images and information bombarding girls today, while offering support and education to their parents. Before long, their enthusiasm convinced others throughout the community to help make HGNA a reality for Downers Grove and DuPage County.


  • Sandra McDonnell, President
  •                         , Treasurer
  • Todd Adams, Director
  • Christine Amstadt, Director
  • Ann Carlson, Director
  • Carla Giannelli, Director
  • Andrea Knudsen, Director
  • Colleen Loftus, Director
  • Jason Lynde, Director
  • Leslie Murphy, Director
  • Laura Palmer, Director
  • Mary Ellen Young, Director


Our Mission

HGNA is a non-profit organization devoted to providing girls and their parents with the tools needed to navigate adolescence with confidence, resilience and kindness.  HGNA is a leading provider of educational and skill-building programs, events and resources offered in collaboration with our schools and communities.



Our Core Beliefs

  • Every girl is unique and special.
  • Every girl has the right to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment where she can develop a healthy self-concept.
  • Girls need a positive support system to counter negative, sexual, and toxic media and cultural messages.
  • Parents need a support system to navigate the responsibility and challenge of raising adolescent girls.
  • Girls benefit greatly from the support of a caring community as they navigate the profound physical, emotional, and social challenges of adolescence.
  • Building supportive, healthy relationships, particularly with parents and peers, is a learned skill that contributes greatly to quality of life.


Specific Objectives and Purposes

  • Sponsor relevant programs which empower adolescent girls to positively enhance their lives and the lives of others
  • Sponsor programs where parents and other concerned adults can build their knowledge and skills, and share opinions and ideas with the guidance of experts and facilitators
  • Provide mentoring and other programs for adolescent girls to enhance their abilities to think critically, set goals, and achieve success
  • Be a resource for parents, educators, and community members for accurate research and information about adolescent girls
  • Work cooperatively with other girls' organizations to maximize each other's goals and opportunities
  • Raise public awareness of issues specific to adolescent girls including declines in academic interest and performance, lowered self-esteem, and increases in risky behavior



It is only through the generosity of individuals, businesses and philanthropic organizations that HGNA is able to provide meaningful programs and educational resources to girls, their parents and others.

We welcome your support - whether financial, goods or services.

Donations earmarked for a specific event such as Chick Chat will be acknowledged at the event, in all marketing materials prior to the event and on our web site. General donations are acknowledged on our web site and in our annual report.                   

All donations to HGNA, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation, are tax deductible.

Click here for the 2012-13 Annual Report
Click here for the 2009 Annual Report
Click here for the 2008 Annual Report
Click here for the 2007 Annual Report

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