WORKING ON WOMANHOOD
About the Program
For many girls, the journey to womanhood—and opportunities for future happiness and prosperity—can be a struggle due to emotional wounds, low self-esteem and other challenges. In 2011, a group of female social workers, led by its Director Gail Day, at Youth Guidance joined forces to help young girls from Chicago’s toughest schools achieve personal and future career success.
Today, WOW is a school-based, trauma informed group counseling program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to improve the social-emotional competencies of young women in grades 6-12 exposed to traumatic stressors in high risk and under-resourced communities. Launched in 2011, the school-based program runs throughout the academic year and currently serves about 2,600 students across 41 schools in Chicagoland, Waukegan, Boston, Dallas and Kansas City. WOW recently completed an evidence-based study conducted by the University of Chicago Education Lab to evaluate mental health and academic outcomes of the program.
WOW STUDENT DEMOGRAPHICS
young women in WOW have clinically significant symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and/or depression
*of those starting in the clinical range
Group counseling addresses the social isolation that many girls experience during adolescence. They are given the opportunity to hear from other girls going through similar experiences, while in the circle, many instantly feel a sense of relief. It also gives girls a chance to have positive, caring adults give them guidance and support.
The WOW program mainly consists of 50-minute group counseling sessions that meet on-site during the school day once per week. The program runs throughout the academic year. The WOW curriculum is informed by Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and Narrative Therapy.
WORKING ON WOMANHOOD
WHERE WE ARE
Too many young women in Chicago don’t have the tools or support they need to thrive. The struggles that girls face outside of the classroom — witnessing or experiencing violence, working to help pay the family’s bills, or helping to raise younger siblings — directly impact their ability to focus and learn in school. We believe that no matter what challenges a young woman faces, they are more likely to succeed when they have additional caring adults in their lives.
WOW offers programs in more than 30 of the most challenging schools across Chicago that guide young women through their education, and set them on the path toward a healthy and successful life. We meet girls where they are — physically and emotionally — to help them recognize and reach their full potential.
WOW Counselors provide counseling and support to the students who need it most, helping them transform their lives. The work we do with girls in schools to help them overcome educational and life challenges creates a foundation which translates into a lifetime of opportunity and success.
Becoming A Man (BAM) and Working On Womanhood (WOW) are nationally recognized social-emotional learning programs that equip students with confidence and skills they need to thrive in school and in life.
Youth Guidance is proud to partner with Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and the City of Dallas to deliver BAM & WOW in six DISD schools.
Youth Guidance is delighted to announce the launch of BAM® and WOW® in Kansas City, MO in January 2021.
BAM and WOW are highly engaging school-based counseling and mentoring programs that promote social-emotional and psychological well-being, strong school engagement, and increased academic attainment for students in grades 7-12.
We’re partnering with Hickman Mills C-1 School District to provide programming at Smith-Hale Middle School and Ruskin High School. BAM and WOW’s work in Kansas City are supported by GreenLight Fund Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.