Created in 2011 by Black and Hispanic social workers at the nonprofit organization Youth Guidance, Working on Womenhood’s (WOW) goal is to build a healthy sense of self-awareness, confidence, and resilience in a population that is often underserved by mental health programs.
Youth Guidance offers WOW to about 350 students in Waukegan Community Unit School District 60, which serves an industrial town of about 88,000 located about 30 miles north of Chicago. Just over 93 percent of the district’s 13,600 students are Black or Hispanic, and about 67 percent come from families classified as low income.
Compared to other students, Black and Hispanic students have a harder time getting mental health support in school. In-school mental health support targeted to girls, especially evidence-based, sustained programs like WOW, is scarce or nonexistent in many public schools.
Despite some of these implementation challenges, WOW leaders and counselors consider the Waukegan WOW program a success.
Read more at HechingerReport.org.