Sisterhood and excellence are the two things gained from the young ladies that are a part of the “Ladies of Virtue” programs. Founded by Jamila Trimuel, Ladies of Virtue bases their organization on five virtues: love, servant leadership, commitment, respect and integrity. They work with young girls from the ages of 9 to 18 to shape them into women that exemplify excellence throughout their daily lives and future careers.
When asked what motivated Trimuel to start an organization like Ladies of Virtue she said, “I noticed growing up many of my friends didn’t have the same upbringing. Some had fathers who were killed through gun violence and some didn’t have parents to guide them along the way. So that really planted a seed in me and I asked what would happen if girls had more positive role models in their lives to push them so they could be the best they could possibly be. I started mentoring in the community and started Ladies of Virtue after that.”
Trimuel furthered explained the importance of mentoring young girls about character building and leadership skills. “To me you can’t be a good leader without having strong character. We know what can happen when you have a powerful leader with no character. I truly believe you have to have integrity, you have to have respect for yourself and others. You have to be committed to your path and your community, that’s what it takes to be a strong and powerful leader.”
We also interviewed a group of young ladies that were out celebrating winning LOV CARES Leadership Project to ask them about how they used a presentation about traveling to help their community and how Ladies of Virtue has helped in them.
Naomi Evans summarized the group’s presentation of traveling. “Our presentation was called ‘Get Global’ and it talked about the percentage of students traveling in high school and younger. We focused on the race that was traveling because there aren’t many African Americans traveling in the U.S. Me and Alexis (Jackson) traveled down to the Dominican Republic and we talked about what we did on our trip. I would also encourage [youth] to travel because it’s not just benefiting you, but it is also benefiting others. You can travel abroad and help people who are less fortunate than you. People who don’t have as many resources as you have.”
Alexis Jackson shared with us the change she saw within her personality since starting the program. “I’ve learned how to better communicate with other people and since I’m the only child, it helped me get around other girls and it put me in different situations that will happen in the real world. It’s taught me life lessons and how to deal with people that aren’t like you. How to not be uncomfortable when you’re in a situation that isn’t common.”
Sydney Lawrence shared why she would encourage girls to join LOV. “It helps with things that will happen in real life, like job interviews and being ready for college and being ready for school in general. It was really helpful.”
Ladies of Virtue helps young ladies on their journey to adulthood by providing them with resources to build their confidence and help those in their community. Trimuel has a message for those wanting to join LOV. “Come on! We are a family, a sisterhood that loves and cares for the community and we are committed to one another.”
For more information on Ladies of Virtue visit their website at www.lovchicago.org.
By Triniti Maye, Freshman, Saint Xavier University