CHATHAM — A South Side nonprofit that mentors girls in urban areas is raising money to send them winter gear and a care package for Christmas.
The H.O.O.D. Angel Sponsorship, created by Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. Foundation founder Chez Smith, will help 80 girls in the Chatham community get a pair of winter boots for the snowy season.
The girls will also get Holiday Hood Kits packed with essential toiletries like menstruation products, soap, washcloths, shampoo and conditioner. Neighbors can include a letter of encouragement for each person they sponsor.
Smith hopes to receive $125 per “gyrl” and raise a total of $10,000. So far, donors have sponsored 40 young women. You can sign up to donate here.
Smith founded the Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. Foundation in 2017 after working closing with young women as a family clinic administrator at Stroger Hospital. Her nonprofit — H.O.O.D. stands for healthy, optimistic, outstanding, determined — works to educate girls in urban areas about reproductive health.
Most of the girls who participate had previously had” no clue about their bodies,” Smith said.
Through the years, Smith’s work in the community has grown beyond the health program. In August, she provided two young women rent-free housing through her H.O.O.D. House program, which gives young women struggling with housing insecurity a safe place to live.
With the H.O.O.D. Angel Sponsorship, Smith hopes to help young women feel appreciated, warm and stylish this winter. The boots she’s buying include popular brands like UGG and Timberland.
“It’s important that teenage girls know that they are thought about and that the village cares about them,” Smith said. “There are a lot of community toy giveaways going on, which is wonderful. However, we mustn’t forget about teenage girls.”
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