POLISHED PEBBLES' MENTORING
Polished Pebbles, an Illinois Gold Star rated mentoring program, is a Chicago-based mentoring initiative that increases the communication skills and employ-ability of young women 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 Illinois, Indiana, and Texas. Since our inception in 2009, Polished Pebbles has worked with over 1,500 African-American and Latina girls and provided over 500 mentors to girls in more than 40 sites throughout Chicago. These sites include Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Housing Authority communities, and University of Chicago Charter Schools. Polished Pebbles has also built partnerships with businesses such as iHeart Radio, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ThoughtWorks, The Chicago Sky, and the University of Chicago. Our successful model has allowed us to expand nationally piloting programs on the college level at Duke University where we provided young women with a safe, identity affirming space, mentors, professional relationships, and fellowship with other women of color.
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.
WHY WE MATTER
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