Mentoring organization opens in North Lawndale to empower Black girls

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Ladies of Virtue has been helping Black girls in Chicago reach their potential since 2011 but the mentoring organization has never had a place to call their own until now.

"We have been praying for our own space," said Jamila Trimuel, the founder and CEO of Ladies of Virtue.

Ladies of Virtue recently moved into the BBF Family Services facility in North Lawndale. Just last week the neighborhood saw two mass shootings within a span of about 5 minutes.

Trimuel said they will expand their mental health services this year to give their girls the tools to cope with what they're experiencing in their neighborhoods.

"One of things that was really popular over the last year or so was this small group sessions with our licensed clinical therapist," she said.

According to 2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Black girls are six times more likely to be expelled, three times more likely to be suspended and four times more likely to be arrested than white girls.

That's why Trimuel believes matching Black girls with mentors is so important. She said 90 percent of their high school seniors enroll in college or a trade school or join the military.

"I took for granted quite frankly some of the positive role models that I had in my life," she said. "I saw how some of my friends did not have that same opportunity and many of their lives took a downward turn."

Erin Eberhardt joined Ladies of Virtue four years ago and has grown tremendously.

"I have learned how to be around people and how to communicate with people and how to be a better me," she said.

Ladies of Virtue is currently recruiting more girls for their free program. For more information, click here: Ladies of Virtue.
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