Sep 24, 2012

All-girls charter school gets support from Chuhak & Tecson’s women attorneys Nov. 8

More than a decade ago, nearly two dozen career professionals, civic leaders and philanthropists—women with a common vision—pooled countless hours and resources to create a remarkable school in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago.

Women, especially women of color, had long been underrepresented in the math and science career fields, and research was showing that girls perform better in math, science and technology in a single-sex environment. These facts inspired its 23 founders to establish the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, now starting its 13th successful year with 350 students in grades 7 to 12.

Young Women’s Leadership Charter School will be recognized and showered with school supplies on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Women Helping Women’s Fall Mix-and-Mingle at Lloyd’s Chicago. Hosted twice a year by the women attorneys of Chuhak & Tecson, WHW is an after-hours networking group that integrates wine and hors d’oeuvres with business development and philanthropy.

Each mixer benefits a different not for profit organization serving women, or women and their children. The girls’ school, in a sense, encompasses both.

“YWLCS offers a transformative education to the young women who will be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Deniece Fields, school director. “As the only all-girls public school in Chicago, we empower the next generation of young women leaders to succeed in college and beyond.”

The designation of the school as WHW’s guest of honor is well-deserved, said Valerie Freireich, a principal at Chuhak & Tecson. Having partnered previously with wonderful outreaches to women veterans, teen mothers, and abused and homeless women, the WHW group opted to go a different direction this time.

“Education is a fundamental part of life and we’re pleased to support the mission of Young Women’s Leadership Charter School,” Freireich said. “Research tells us that girls sometimes become less vocal, less involved in science and math because of the presence of boys in the classroom. Having a school that focuses on these subjects in a single-sex environment is a great asset for the young women of Chicago.”

Enrollment at YWLCS is nonselective and lottery-based, so girls often come in one to three grade levels behind. Nearly all are from low-income families, but with a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, there is ample opportunity for students to receive personal attention. In spite of the obstacles, 95 percent of the senior class graduated last spring, and 98 percent of these alumnae are now in college or another post-secondary option.

Our primary goal is to ensure girls graduate and go on to college,” Fields said, adding that the school’s “signature initiatives” are an active college prep program, leadership classes for grades 7, 8 and 12, and school-wide leadership programming.

YWLCS receives public funding, but it’s not enough to cover the costs of giving students a quality education. That’s where a helping hand is needed from groups like Women Helping Women.

“We are so grateful for our strong network of corporate supporters, including Chuhak & Tecson, who are inspirations for our girls,” said Fields.

Chuhak & Tecson’s popular Mix-and-Mingles offer women entrepreneurs, decision makers and potential strategic partners the opportunity to streamline their schedules by networking, developing business and working for charity, all at the same event.

“The approach of Women Helping Women is three-fold, and I think the combination of those things is what gives it its effectiveness,” Freireich said. “All of our attendees are professionals, including business owners, so this is a wonderful way for them to network while serving the community. Over the course of our last six Mix-and-Mingles, we’ve received passionate feedback about the business development successes that have emerged across a variety of industries and the way in which the group is empowered to change the lives of others.

At each Mix-and-Mingle, guests are asked to bring a donation for that event’s community partner. Suggested donations for YWCLS include the kinds of things a school can never have too many of—No. 2 pencils, ballpoint pens (blue, black and other colors), color markers, colored pencils, dry-erase markers, five-inch binders and reams of copy paper, both white and color. Cash donations also are welcome.

The mixer will be held Nov. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lloyd's Chicago, 1 S. Wacker Dr. If you would like to receive an invitation, please contact Katie Walsh, marketing coordinator, at (312) 201-3447 or