Local Organization Spotlight: GirlForward

With recent talks about military attacks and deaths in foreign countries, sometimes people forget that refugees are not just topics of trending headlines but instead regular human beings in need of safety and opportunities that should not be denied to any person anywhere in the world. Girl Forward specifically works to help young girls who have fled their home countries and are susceptible to language barriers, educational inequality, and so many other obstacles when coming to the United States. Northwestern group UNITY Charity Fashion Show has decided for its 10th annual show to make Girl Forward its beneficiary. Here’s a little information about this special organization that UNITY will be donating all the proceeds from the show to.

There are two GirlForward locations: one in Chicago and another in Texas. The location in Chicago welcomes girls in grades 9-12 to be mentored and tutored by older women from the local area. Each mentor meets with their matched refugee girl for at least 2 hours per week to bond and give advice about their current education, interacting with people in their new lives, and what they want to achieve in the future. The pairing process occurs very early in the year, and each new partnership is announced in August after the application process for the program. This all contributes to GirlForward’s goal of helping these adolescent girls realize they should never feel alone and that they always have a community supporting them.

While mentors must be 21-years-old and are in charge of helping to create safe spaces, women 18-years-old and older can apply to be tutors. These girls devote their time to particularly helping refugees navigate the Chicago Public Schools system and improve their English skills. After passing a background check, tutors are placed at a school selected by GirlForward in the beginning of January and continue working with the student until the end of the school year. Too often girls born in the US struggle with feeling discouraged and devalued in a high school setting which mean the experience for immigrants is even more difficult. These volunteers play an integral role in ensuring educational success.

On Sunday, May 7, GirlForward Live! will occur which is a fundraiser featuring music, pictures, and speeches by members of the GirlForward community. Come for inspiration and food! But if you can’t wait until then, this year’s UNITY show will include a segment dedicated to GirlForward and a community member will be speaking at the event. Be sure to stop by the fashion show and visit GirlForward’s website to learn even more about the positive impact the association has on the Chicago community.

Visit: https://www.girlforward.org/stories/