By Jamaica Ponder

CHICAGO (CBS) — Ladies of Virtue, a local non-profit, has spent the past ten years providing access, resources, and support to Black girls in Chicago. Founded by South Side native, Jamila Trimuel, Ladies of Virtue hosts an array of mentoring and leadership programs for girls ages 9-18.

“I started Ladies of Virtue really to be a support and stand in the gap for those girls who may not have a positive role model in their life,” Trimuel said.

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The organization takes a holistic approach in mentoring and support, aiming to enhance girls’ skills while also fostering safe space and community.

“We are preparing our girls for leadership in three ways: character development, career readiness, and civic engagement,” Trimuel said.

“Our girls are identifying topics that they’re passionate about… then they work together to learn about a certain topic, such as human trafficking, bullying, or mental health. Then they’re spreading their awareness out into their schools or in the community,” she said.

In addition to their programming, the organization provides access to an array of specialized professionals to help girls navigate the many tasks of adolescence.

“I actually have a college coach through Ladies of Virtue. And she has been helping me through this whole entire process, since my junior year,” said Tomi Dugbo, a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks High School.

The non-profit has also begun to incorporate mental health programming into its organization. After a survey revealed a significant portion of their members were seeking mental health services, Ladies of VIrtue pivoted their energy to fulfilling that need.

“I’ve only been in [Ladies of Virtue] for one full program year, and I’ve already gotten help… from a licensed clinical therapist,” Dugbo said.

“All of our programming….we infuse mental health lessons into all of what we do. And as a result of that, we are a top 100 finalist for the Chicago innovation award. We now incorporate mental health into all of our programming. As a result, we’re a finalist for the Chicago innovation” said Trimuel

Ladies of Virtue, a local non-profit, has spent the past ten years providing access, resources, and support to Black girls in Chicago. Founded by South Side native, Jamila Trimuel, Ladies of Virtue hosts an array of mentoring and leadership programs for girls ages 9-18.

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“I started Ladies of Virtue really to be a support and stand in the gap for those girls who may not have a positive role model in their life,” Trimuel said.

The organization takes a holistic approach in mentoring and support, aiming to instill skills while also fostering safe space and community.

“We are preparing our girls for leadership in three ways: character development, career readiness, and civic engagement,” Trimuel said.

“Our girls are identifying topics that they’re passionate about…then they work together to learn about a certain topic, such as human trafficking, bullying, or mental health. Then they’re spreading their awareness out into their schools or in the community,” she said.

In addition to their programming, the organization provides access to an array of specialized professionals to help girls navigate the many tasks of adolescence.

“I actually have a college coach through Ladies of Virtue, and she has been helping me through this whole entire process, since my junior year,” said Tomi Dugbo, a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks High School.

The non-profit has also begun to incorporate mental health programming into their organization. After a survey revealed a significant portion of their members were seeking those services, Ladies of Virtue pivoted their energy to fulfilling that need.

“I’ve only been in [Ladies of Virtue] for one full program year, and I’ve already gotten help from a licensed clinical therapist,” Dugbo said.

“We infuse mental health lessons into all of what we do,” Trimuel said. “And as a result of that, we are a top 100 finalist for the Chicago innovation award.”

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Presently serving over 250 girls, the group is hoping to be recognized as the city’s leading mentoring and leadership program in coming years. To celebrate their 10-year anniversary, Ladies of Virtue is hosting a virtual fundraiser on Nov 13th. You can visit LovChicago.org to learn more about their programming and how to get involved.