Polished Pebbles, an Illinois Gold Star rated mentoring program, is a Chicago-based mentoring initiative that increases the communication skills and employability of African American and Latinx girls for the future workplace. Polished Pebbles helps girls ages 7-17 become effective communicators at home, school, and their future careers. The organization currently serves 500+ girls and young women per school year in Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Indiana, Texas, and North Carolina. Since its inception in 2009, Polished Pebbles has worked with over 5,000 girls and young women and provided over 500 mentors in hundreds of schools. 

Learn More at the Polished Pebbles Website

The opportunity

Chicago girls are increasingly affected by violence, without equitable access to the attention, programming, aid, and social support provided to boys.

Girls of color are especially vulnerable to childhood trauma, sexual violence, and sexual trafficking that divert them from the school and into the juvenile justice system. These risks are barriers to girls future success in the workspace.


Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program is the only girls program in Chicago that brings an innovative group of stakeholders to the table to beat the odds and provide real opportunities in careers in tech, retail, the trades, engineering, and the non-profit sector. Girls of color in Chicago experience the same poverty, violence, and trauma as boys, but have far fewer programs designed to address their specific needs and life experiences.

For 10 years, we have piloted, built out, and refined our communications skills centered program, constantly innovating as we learn.

Our unique strategy combines these elements into one continuum of programming that starts when girls are 10 and ends with us supporting them in new employment and/or higher education or trade school.

We have a network of more than a dozen corporate partners who provide workplace job shadows, mock interviews, financial education, mentoring, and a network of women leaders in Chicago’s leading corporations. Polished Pebbles is the only mentoring program or youth job readiness program in Chicago that can boast of our talent pipeline that starts in elementary school and accelerates through college or post-secondary training, all underpinned by our proprietary anti-violence, social emotional, and communications focused mentoring