Chicago Public Schools students working on womanhood (W.O.W.)

W.O.W. (Working on Womanhood) is a school-based counseling, mentoring, character development, and educational enrichment program that promotes social, emotional and behavioral skills in at- risk female youth. At-risk female youth are young woman who have it a little bit harder than others and need support. W.O.W’s five core values are self-awareness, emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, visionary goal setting, and leadership, as each value relates to personal and academic success.  At Hancock, this program is run by Ms. Chester with the help of Ms. Brooke and is sponsored by Youth Guidance.  The W.O.W. girls meet every week and work on their five core values.

In W.O.W., young woman are able to interact with girls they normally wouldn’t. Ms. Brooke alone runs some groups and other times it is run by both Ms. Brooke and Ms. Chester together. Brooke is a youth guidance intern from the University of Chicago School of Social Service administration. These groups consist of 7-10 girls.  In the groups, young women are able to get away from their everyday routine and have some “girl time.”

Some of the W.O.W. girls were able to go to an event called ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, which is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community at outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.  It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories and dance.

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women in order to bring awareness to rape victims. The W.O.W girls and other people joined up at Daley Plaza on February 14, 2014.  They danced to “Break the Chain” as a group to choreography by Debbie Allen.  They were able to watch live performances by survivors of sexual and domestic violence; they also got the chance to hear stories of victims who wanted to bring awareness of this problem.

A group of young women from Hancock attend the V-Day event.  Here are a couple of reactions:

“Something that I enjoyed the most about this field trip would probably be the flash mob. It’s something I’ll forever remember since it was the first flash mob I was ever be in. I also really liked how the people told their stories about overcoming sexual assault.  I thought it was very brave of them. I found it very inspiring how all those people came out and supported / stood up for what they care about regardless of the weather.”

--Celina Perez, Freshman

“I thought it was really cool.  We got to see how people were reacting to it and how they overcame sexual assault and also their experiences. Not only that, but I loved the flash mob because it was really unique and fun.  We saw people do plays and express their personal opinion. I liked it.  I would like to go again. “

--Yazmin Corral, Freshman

To see a video of the flash mob, visit OneBillion’s Web site. 

By Lesly Hernandez, Hancock Junior

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