GreenLight Fund Boston invests $600,000 for Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood program

GreenLight Boston, in partnership with the Office of Mayor Kim Janey and Boston Public Schools, welcomes Working on Womanhood (WOW) to its portfolio of effective models imported to our city. COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on students and classrooms across the country. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, 45% of girls in Boston Public Schools reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks. Female students were significantly more likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts than their male counterparts (Youth Risk Behavior Survey). The challenges of virtual learning, layered upon the trauma of the pandemic on communities of color and our nation’s racial reckoning has further exacerbated already deep gender inequities.

“I think it will be great to bring WOW to Boston,” says Janet Iraola, a Boston resident, family partner at UpTogether, and member of GreenLight’s committee that helped select WOW, “it creates leadership in young women while helping them get to know who they are and what they bring to the world.”

WOW, a program of Chicago-based Youth Guidance, is a multifaceted, school year-long group counseling and clinical mentoring program. WOW works to improve social-emotional competencies for girls in 7th-12th grade exposed to traumatic stressors in high risk and under-resourced communities. WOW boasts an impressive record of 48% reduction in social anxiety, 57% reduction in depression, 77% reduction in school suspension, and 95% of seniors graduating from high school.

“As we work to rebuild and repair our community to become more equitable, we must keep children, and especially our girls and young women at the forefront,” states GreenLight Boston Senior Executive Director Melissa Luna. “As they return to school and explore what the next phase of life looks like, they need strong support and more people and safe places to turn to.”

“We are thrilled to be expanding Youth Guidance’s programs in Boston. Partnering with GreenLight Fund Boston to expand WOW to serve young women allows us to address social and emotional challenges before they become barriers to school and life success,” says Youth Guidance CEO Michelle Morrison. “Thanks to Mayor Kim Janey and GreenLight Fund’s commitment to mentoring and to this program, we can be sure that more of our young women are positioned for success as we work to support all youth in building a brighter future.”