The moment the girls walked into the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club, they immediately felt that the day was all about them. They received custom name tags and a custom order for a fruit smoothie. 

The girls knew it was going to be a great day.  

Nine Clubs and nearly 80 girl Club members came to the Jordan Club to celebrate our SMART Girls program, which focuses on the needs of girls, discussing health, fitness, self-esteem enhancement and so much more.  

“Smart Girls is my favorite program at the Club,” said Logandale Club member Nia. “I’ve learned to handle things more maturely and love myself. It’s helped me a lot.” 

This is the first SMART Girls summit Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) hosted since the pandemic, and it was a welcome return to our girls who spent their day focusing on their mind, body and soul – the theme of this year’s summit. 

The girls, who ranged from ages 8 to 14, participated in sessions that focused on movement, mental health and creativity. And they learned from experts. 

A member of the Luvabulls, the Chicago Bulls dance team led the dance and cheer session The good vibes and headspace session was hosted by Sanctuary Chi, which focuses on mental wellness. 

The summit also had sessions in fashion, where the girls designed their own outfits and jewelry; poetry, where they got to express themselves using music; sports, where they played sports jeopardy and floor hockey; and beauty, where they made their own beauty masks using household items. 

The Women in Sports panel was the main event, which featured female leaders in the sports industry. The panel included: Sumayyah Muhammad from Nike Sports, Marisela Rodriguez from the Chicago Blackhawks, Mallorie Sanders from the Chicago Bears, and Brooke Wisbrod from ESPN.  

The girls asked questions about what it’s like to be a woman in the sports industry, how they got there and how they support other women within their community. 

The summit ended with a rose ceremony and a celebration of each young lady who participated in the summit. 

“SMART Girls is so important for the young women at our Club to learn about themselves during a crucial time in their adolescence,” Rollie Jones, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago Associate Director of Sports & Youth Leadership. “This summit is a celebration of them and what it means to be a strong, confident girl.” 

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