Empowering Young Women


Additional Inspirational Organizations

Girls can develop their musical talents at Girls Rock! Chicago’s annual weeklong summer camps, where they’ll form a band, perform and record songs. But the camp doesn’t just develop musical prowess, says Melissa Oglesby, outreach director. “Girls aren’t encouraged to make noise the same way as boys are, so we give them that chance. It offers them more confidence, and that comes across everything they do.”

 The Chicago Children’s Choir is addressing violence head-on with plans to launch an Englewood neighborhood afterschool program in the fall, offering a safe haven for kids. “Violence in Chicago has reached epidemic proportions,” observes President/Artistic Director Josephine Lee. “We as a community must help our city’s children find an alternative to the streets, and music holds the power to change their lives.” The choir hopes to raise $100,000 to launch and operate its program.

 Step Up Women’s Network focuses on confidence, college-ready and career balance. Beginning in high school, the organization gives girls good foundational tools, then pairs them with mentors in their prospective careers. “We give them the tools to break that cycle of poverty, to find success for themselves as individuals,” shares Managing Director Cassandra Gaddo. “We also give them tools to go back into their communities, and make life better.”


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About Renita D. Young

Native Chicagoan Renita D. Young is a multimedia journalist currently reporting for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune in southern Louisiana. With experience reporting on a variety of topics in three countries, she previously covered breaking news for Thomson Reuters, NBCUniversal's TheGrio.com and WVON 1690AM, among others.