By Cree Noble, Team Coordinator

On Saturday, February 5th, and Saturday, February 12th, the Ladies of Virtue hosted their annual LOV Day Celebration as an expression of their mission “to instill purpose, passion, and perseverance in girls, ages 9 to 18, while preparing them for college, careers and to become change agents in their communities”. Ladies of Virtue is a Chicago-based non-profit founded by Chicago Peace Fellow Jamila Trimuel in 2011 with the goal of becoming the premier mentoring and leadership training organization for Black girls in the world.

LOV matches their participants with mentors and prepare them for leadership through our culturally relevant character building, career readiness and civic engagement curriculum. The team at Ladies of Virtue provides project management, collaboration and communication training via their two to four-month project experiences to empower girls to lead in the modern workforce. After graduating from high school, with successful completion of LOV’s leadership program, participants are mentored and supported for six additional years as LOV 4 Life alumni.

LOV Day was birthed because “many Black girls feel that their concerns go mostly unaddressed and overlooked. Research confirms what our girls have been telling us all along. Due to stereotypes, a 2017 Georgetown Law Study showed that adults believe black girls ages 5-19 need less nurturing, protection, support, and comfort than their peers of the same age”.

“We know that this perception is not reality. We want Black girls and young women to know that they are seen, heard, and loved.” – Jamila Trimuel, Chicago Peace Fellow

This unfortunate reality mixed with a couple of years into the pandemic, LOV Day was more important than ever before. Since Black girls are oftentimes seen as older and less nurtured than their peers, many Black girls experience higher rates of detention and suspension than most. With the pandemic, more Black girls are reporting they feel depressed and isolated. Founder of Ladies of Virtue, Jamila Trimuel, expressed the importance of “LOV Day is to show love to our Black girls!”

The love that the Ladies of Virtue showed to the girls for this LOV Day started on February 5th with a pamper party. At the pamper party, girls came together to play games, receive manicures, masks, and overall receive a self-care day to show their appreciation to the ladies. The second gift the Ladies of Virtue created for girls was 350 LOV boxes that they would pass out to girls across the South Side of the city.

These boxes included Black History Facts, teddy bears, hair care products, and PPE. This event was sponsored by the Goldin Institute – Mutual Aid Collaborative. In addition, product sponsors included: University of Chicago, Mielle Organics, Renee Ramore, Ferrara, and Ms. P’s Gluten Free!

Jamila loves the impact LOV Day has on girls who are not a part of the Ladies of Virtue mentorship program. One of the current mentees of the program found out about Ladies of Virtue when she received a LOV Day box last year. After receiving the box she wanted to join the program.

Ladies of Virtue is currently in the middle of programming for their mentees. Upcoming events are the College Expo which will take place on April 2nd, a community service event with mentees on April 16th, and their Juneteenth event. Ladies of Virtue is also accepting donations for upcoming graduates of 8th grade and 12th grade to help them be prepared for high school and college. Lastly, they are seeking mentors! For more information check out their website at .