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CHICAGO — With Chicago public school buildings closed to students for now, the Youth Guidance’s “Working on Womanhood” program has also gone virtual.

WOW launched in 2011, reaching thousands of girls in dozens of schools. The program is focused on their well-being and healing, boosting their self-esteem and encouraging healthy decision-making.

“I think WOW is an interrupter,” said program director and co-founder Gail Day. “It’s an interrupter of behaviors that will get in the way of our girls being successful. But it’s also an empowering program, helping our girls to remember to reflect, reset and re-engage.”

Especially during the pandemic, WOW counselors say trauma-informed support is necessary even if those connections cannot happen in person.

Gaynor Hall and Photojournalist Jeff Armstrong report in this WGN-TV Cover Story.