Youth organization provides counseling and support to Chicago students

CHICAGO — A local organization helps thousands of Chicago students with mentoring, counseling and trauma-informed support.

Anthony Williams is an alumnus of Becoming A Man, or BAM, and he continues to work with them.

“It was a great experience and looking back on it, I was able to learn more about myself and my classmates,” Williams said.

BAM is one of many Youth Guidance programs that engage primary and secondary school students in school counseling and trauma-informed support to help them reach their full potential.

“We do it through narrative therapy and our spaces are really safe,” said Shykira Richards.

Richards is the director of Working on Womanhood.

Many of the young people involved have experienced trauma ranging from abuse to gun violence, health problems and bullying. Now they are also dealing with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What WOW provides and what BAM provides are the tools our students need to overcome the trauma they face,” said Richards.

With a focus on constantly checking in for wellness and healing, Williams says the programs are changing outcomes.

Youth Guidance will host the Bright Futures Gala on Wednesday, the organization’s largest fundraising campaign.

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