A Firefly group member puts her new electrician’s skills to work. Photos courtesy of the Firefly Program

[The Episcopal News] Bringing girls together doesn’t normally include the use of power tools, but judging by the first Firefly Program sessions teaching basic electrician’s skills, perhaps it should.

Fireflies work on a class project.

At the core of the Firefly Program, based at St. Stephen’s Church, Hollywood, is the belief that women are powerful. The first Firefly session began in October 2023, funded by a grant from Girls Friendly Society Outreach of the diocese. Since then the Fireflies – girls age 14 – 17 –  have continued to learn from Alberto Lucas, a longtime parishioner and an electrician with 10 years of experience and a desire to teach his skills to others.

The Fireflies, who meet one to two times a month, progressed within a few sessions from a group of girls who gathered on Saturday mornings to a group of friends who support and cheer each other on while expanding their future career options. Classes include lectures on everything from entry-level electrical terms to cable sizes and voltage drop, incorporating as much hands-on practice as possible.

Alberto Lucas leads the Firefly group through a demonstration of electricians’ tools and techniques.

In December, the Fireflies toured the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Program in the city of Commerce. Diana Limon, Net Zero Plus’ program director, introduced the girls to the organization’s training facility, to which they can potentially apply at age 18, and gave them a glimpse of what it takes to become an apprentice for the local union 11.

“The girls’ excitement and interest in the electrician field grew after that field trip,” according to a program report, “and so did their fondness for each other as we shared pizza on a grassy picnic area and discussed what stood out to them most.”

After the holiday season, the girls took a second field trip, this time to the Astra Lumina light show at the South Coast Botanical Garden. “This event was fun and memorable because it was so different from the other times the group had gotten together before,” said the report. “We gathered in the evening and carpooled for over an hour from St. Stephen’s in Hollywood to the event in Palos Verdes. Laughter, awe and curiosity dominated that evening as we walked the one-mile trail lit up by an array of unusual artifacts.”

A visit to the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Program in Commerce inspired the Fireflies to continue their work.

The program’s goal is to inspire “a new generation of Fireflies to trickle in and allow for the current and first generation to become mentors to their peers while at the same time empowering them to feel more secure in their knowledge and capacity as individuals who can benefit their community,” said the report. “Witnessing the Firefly program in action has been an invaluable experience. These young girls’ horizons are being expanded as they learn about human ingenuity. They are active in a space that’s providing them with resources and community to tap into. It’s exciting to imagine the world they will be able to build with this experience.”

An Episcopal News story about the program’s launch last fall is here.

To learn more about the GFS Outreach grant program, funding personal development for girls, visit the GFS-LA website or email grants@gfscalifornia.org.