After School Matters Programs Empowering Young Women

Women’s History Month celebrates the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. From unsung heroes to prominent figures, women have shaped societies, challenged norms, and paved the way for progress in countless ways.

This month, After School Matters will highlight women who are inspirational leaders in the ASM community, investing in Chicago teens and empowering them to find their passions and pursue their dreams.

Check out a few of our incredible programs that empower young women to reach their full potential:

“I am inspired when young women join the program and might feel timid or apprehensive about getting to know each other at first. However, as the program progresses they learn to build relationships, form a sisterhood, encourage one another, and learn to work together and collaborate to create amazing showcases that demonstrate their unique creative writing and performance talents and abilities.” shared Colored Girls are Cover Girls Executive Director Ruby Taylor.

The Huskies Girls Basketball program at Wendell Phillips High School in Bronzeville helps girls perfect their hooping skills while learning about sports career opportunities in coaching, refereeing, and training. These young women learn leadership and collaboration skills on and off the court that they can apply to school, college, and their future careers. 

“It feels like a real family; everyone is connected and always tries to push one another to do better on and off the court.” shared ASM teen Miracle.

The talented teens recently won their basketball championship.

Araceli Mireles has been the Baking Exploration instructor at ASM’s Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for three years. Before that, she was a teen in the program, discovering her passion and honing her culinary skills. Now, she’s sharing her love and expertise for cooking with the teens in her program. Araceli is passionate about empowering all young people, especially young women, to consider a career in the culinary arts. 

Araceli shares, “The culinary industry is dominated by men. We need more women chefs who can then encourage future generations of young women to pursue the field. Women bring so much to the industry; we need more of them to bring their creativity and unique flavors.”

ASM Instructor Dawn Marie Galtieri has been educating young people on designing and implementing community gardens for decades. In herDesign.Build.Grow.Eat program at ASM’s Gately Park facility, young people learn about farming, create gardens, and grow food they then learn to cook with. She believes in strengthening teens’ knowledge of our environment and caring for it to make a brighter future for generations to come. “I always tell my teens to be themselves, follow their hearts and what intrigues them, even if that changes over time,” shares Dawn Marie.