For more than 20 years, the Teen Girls Programs at Family Matters – Sisters of Strength (for girls 14-19) and Sisters of Unity (for girls 11-13) have facilitated life-enhancing leadership and community-building opportunities for young women in the North of Howard community of Rogers Park. The programs provide a space for young women to think critically, explore new opportunities, and take risks within a challenging and safe environment. The programs give particular attention to supporting girls in exploring options and making healthy choices in areas that most impact them – identity, education, health, sexuality, relationships and careers. The young women are afforded meaningful opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in ways that strengthen the community and the world around them.
The young women of Family Matters’ Teen Girls Programs are deeply committed to health and wellness in its myriad aspects. The teens are involved in the GoGirlGo! curriculum, which includes six-week sessions of different types of physical activity. The teens reinforce their newfound skills and confidence by leading activities for peers and family members and by participating in a youth-led retreat designed to process their experiences. These experiences enhance their development as active, positive agents in their own lives and the lives of others.
The young women are leading the FEEL (Food, Exercise and Eating to Live) Fit initiative. FEEL Fit is an organization-wide initiative that builds upon the achievements of, and growing enthusiasm for, the Teen Girls Programs’ health and wellness efforts. The initiative will work at three distinct levels:
- The young women of SOS/SIU will deepen their involvement in, and understanding of, healthy eating and exercise practices.
- Program teams across the organization will employ the Teen Girls' health initiative activities to impact 65 youth and their parents.
- As "health activists," the young women will work in partnership with staff and other adult resources (including the Family Matters Board Outreach Committee) to provide peers and community members, particularly at Gale Academy, increased access to healthy options.
The teens are utilizing their new relationship as an Arts Partner in Residence with the Chicago Park District to offer classes and activities at the Willye B. White Fitness Center (e.g. dance, martial arts etc.). This allows Family Matters to reach many more young people than our space allows.
The Teen Girls Programs meet Monday through Friday, September through July.