Youth organization offers counseling and support for Chicago students

CHICAGO – A local organization is helping thousands of Chicago students with mentorship, counseling and trauma-informed support.

Anthony Williams is a former Becoming A Man, or BAM, and he continues to work with them.

“It was an amazing experience and looking back I was able to learn more about myself and my classmates,” Williams said.

BAM is one of many programs run by Youth Guidance engaging elementary and middle school students with school-based counseling and trauma-informed support to help them reach their full potential.

“We do this 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 suffered trauma, ranging from abuse and gun violence, to health issues and bullying. Now they are also dealing with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

With a focus on constantly checking in on wellness and healing, Williams says programs change outcomes.

Youth Guidance is hosting its Bright Futures Gala, the organization’s biggest fundraiser coming Wednesday.