Southern Willamette Valley

Critical Skills Improve Girls’ Outcomes

OCF donor Rosaria Haugland served on the board of a nonprofit dealing with domestic violence—an experience that sparked her vision of empowering young girls to understand what makes a healthy relationship and to make positive life choices. In 2005, Haugland founded Ophelia’s Place, a nonprofit providing prevention-based supportive spaces and services for girls.

Ophelia’s Place offers location-based after-school drop-in programs, skill-building classes and therapy for girls ages 10–18 in Eugene and Junction City, and partners with schools to provide girls’ empowerment groups, mixed-gender classroom presentations, school staff training, parenting education and referrals.

"We know that in order to empower girls to reach their full potential, it takes adults guiding them and mentoring them, and it takes the involvement of all members of our community. Empowering girls benefits everybody."


“There are so many things schools are now expected to do beyond teaching the core subjects. Social-emotional learning is critical,” said Sarah Cheesman, Ophelia’s Place development director. In 2018, OCF awarded funding for Ophelia’s Place to provide school-based programs in Mapleton and Elmira, similar to programs the nonprofit provided in other communities.

Through Ophelia’s Place’s school programs, girls and boys participate in age-appropriate presentations focused on healthy relationships, media and body image awareness, critical thinking skills, conflict resolution, sexual harassment training, digital decision-making and online safety skills.