When it comes to locating resources, they can be challenging to find for young people, especially young girls. Often, the focus for resources is young men of color. Young women of color deserve the same opportunities and the Girls Like Me Project understands that and decided to do something about it.
The Girls Like Me Project hosted the H.O.T. (Healing Opportunities to Thrive) Girl Summer Resource Bash for young women on Chicago’s South Side.
Held at the Discover Shine Bright Center at 8560 S. Cottage Grove, this event featured free food, job information, live African drumming, henna art, a DJ and much more. There were also different tables from various organizations including True Star Media, Girls Like Me, Chicago Hope for Kids, BlackBeautyCutie and Black Girls Jump.
“The mission for this event was to make sure that girls understood the healing opportunities for them to thrive throughout the summer,” said Lakeisha Gray-Sewell, the organization’s founder. “We also want to make sure that girls build friendships with other girls” and to “support other organizations and partner collaboratively because it takes a village.”
Young girls of all ages attended the event for various reasons.
“I came here to meet new people and come out [of] my element, come out of my shyness and come out my shell,” said India Duncan, a Chicago seventh grader. Duncan said she enjoyed the henna art the most.
Nanayaa Agyare, an eighth grader at JFK Middle School, came because her mom is a part of the team who put the event together. She enjoyed the different stations that showcased a variety of interests that young girls could take part in.
“The event is really fun. The name ‘H.O.T. Girl Summer’ really encapsulates what the event is really about,” said Agyare. “I feel like this is a good opportunity for girls to thrive and more girls should come here.”
The event proved to be a safe space for young girls where they not only got information regarding resources but also built connections with one another and felt a sense of community. I’m looking forward to the next Girls Like Me event and for more organizations prioritizing young girls of color.
By Cierra Lemott, Senior, Columbia College Chicago
Instagram: @cece.kodak / @kodakscamera
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