Nov 26, 2012

High marks all around for Women Helping Women event benefiting all-girls charter school

Everyone earned an A+ for community service at Women Helping Women’s recent benefit on behalf of Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago.

If grades had been assigned to the 120 professional women at WHW’s Nov. 8 Mix-and-Mingle at Lloyd’s Chicago, there would have been A-pluses all around for enthusiasm, too. That was evidenced by the abundance of school supplies donated by event attendees to the 350 students at YWLCS—as well as by the level of interest expressed in the successful South Side school.

“The table was just filled with mountains of paper and five-inch binders and pencils,” said Jeralyn Baran, a principal at Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. who conducted welcome remarks at the event. “Some women actually carted in these reams of paper, and others promised to bring in more donations after the event.”

Hosted twice a year by the women attorneys of Chuhak & Tecson, Women Helping Women is a wine-and-hors d’oeuvres networking mixer flavored with business development and philanthropy. Each event spotlights and benefits a different nonprofit organization serving women or women and their children.

Along with nine big boxes of copy paper, the event amassed 468 packages of pens, pencils and markers of various kinds for the school, as well as dozens of binders, notebooks, rulers, erasers and crayons.

“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the guests at the Mix-and-Mingle event and incredibly inspired by the conversations I had that evening,” said school director Deniece Fields. “It was like Christmas morning when our teachers saw all the school supplies for their students.

“We are so grateful for Chuhak and Tecson and all of the corporate leaders who invest in the futures of our young women leaders,” Fields said.

Young Women’s Leadership Charter School has been earning high marks of its own. As the only all-girls public school in Chicago, YWLCS emphasizes math, science and technology and graduated 95 percent of the Class of 2012. Ninety-eight percent of these alumnae have gone on to colleges, universities or other post-secondary options.

Commended for improving college readiness and lowering the drop-out rate, Fields was one of 10 high school principals recently honored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools with the first Principal Achievement Awards.

“This wonderful school is girl-centric,” Baran said. “It’s focused on developing and maturing these girls and getting them ready for college and life ahead of them. There are a lot of schools that prepare you for college, but I think this school prepares its girls especially well for the challenges of life.

“Not only did we see this as a worthwhile cause to support at our Mix-and-Mingle, but we also went to a YWLCS open house and toured the school,” Baran said. “The girls we met were poised, they were confident, and they presented with tremendous composure. They’re coming from all over the city to go to this school, and with no dedicated bus service, it’s not easy for many of them to get there—but they do.”

Continuing the relationship with YWLCS, Chuhak & Tecson associate Meredith Pike spoke to students at the school’s Career Day on November 14.

This over-and-above attitude is just part of the service-oriented culture at Chuhak & Tecson. In her opening remarks at the Mix-and-Mingle, Baran talked not only about the merits of YWLCS but also about the firm’s emphasis on giving back.

That priority led to this year’s founding of a twelfth practice group, Not for Profit and Mission-Based Organizations, and the year-long Silver Anniversary community service initiative, 25 Ways to Give Back.

“I think people see that we’re not just putting on the mantle of community service,” Baran said, “but the commitment to serve actually runs deep in the soul of Chuhak & Tecson. We really do stand and act on this principle.”

WHW Mix-and-Mingles draw guests from a wide variety of industries, including banking and finance, accounting, healthcare, real estate, interior design, legal services, marketing and communications, business consulting and hospitality.

“Because our events have a service component, the women who come have a dedication to the idea of not only meeting and networking with other women, but also participating in whatever service focus we present,” Baran said. “These women were excited and eager to learn more about the charter school. They could see these girls represent the next generation of leaders in Chicago.”

For more information about YWLCS, contact Director of External Affairs Martha Elder Khanna at (312) 949-4979 or The school’s major fundraiser, the Girl Power Luncheon, will be held March 5, 2013, at the Hilton Chicago, with Grammy Award-winning soprano Ana María Martínez as the keynote speaker.

For more information about WHW, contact Katie Walsh, Chuhak & Tecson marketing coordinator, at (312) 201-3447 or