Cultivating Creative Expression and Future Careers

Nation of Neighbors recipient Girls Rock

Rachel Gulick, founding volunteer and executive director of Girls Rock! Des Moines (GR!DSM) received one of ten 2021 Nation of Neighbors℠ women’s empowerment grants presented nationwide. “This grant will allow us to create and dedicate a new position, the Tech Director, exclusively to facilitate operations, programs, curriculum, recording, and outreach for our GRTech Studio,” said Gulick. “This will provide women and girls with community access to recording, audio engineering training, and other STEM-based education opportunities.”

GR!DSM is a nonprofit music education program that empowers girls through creative expression. “According to Women’s Audio Mission, enrollment for women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has declined 70% since the year 2000,” said Gulick. “Providing women and girls with STEM and audio engineering education is imperative to future female generations considering these areas as opportunities and options for their career path,” Gulick added.

Gulick knows that inspiring young people to find and use their unique voices empowers them to rise and reach for endless possibilities. The team at GR!DSM have established an atmosphere of respect, positive language, and energy. This environment creates a culture of self-affirmation, giving rockers the tools and confidence they need to pursue their dreams.

“I believe what we do at GR!DSM is neither magic nor make-believe; we simply foster belief in oneself,” said Gulick. GR!DSM has served over 1,000 women and girls in the Des Moines community, produced thirteen full-length albums, and completed thirteen performance showcases. GR!DSM encourages girls to explore their rocking selves, develop creative habits, and discover what inspires them. “Every rocker gets to share their unique voice with the world – because every voice deserves to be heard,” Gulick added.