Empowering the next generation of female leaders

Ombudsman South student, Sasha Spenser works with teacher, Dara Leonard, to build a Women’s History Month wall collage honoring women who have excelled in mathematics. Throughout the month, Ombudsman teachers educated students on the importance of positive self-esteem by creating wall collages where students and staff shared motivational quotes, personal affirmations and photos of empowered women who have impacted their lives.

Ombudsman South student, Sasha Spenser works with teacher, Dara Leonard, to build a Women’s History Month wall collage honoring women who have excelled in mathematics. Throughout the month, Ombudsman teachers educated students on the importance of positive self-esteem by creating wall collages where students and staff shared motivational quotes, personal affirmations and photos of empowered women who have impacted their lives.

According to a 2014 report on the state of self-esteem, the majority of teen girls (seven in ten) believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way. Reinforcing a healthy self-image within educational settings can be crucial to the growth and development for teens, especially with girls. Ombudsman Chicago celebrated national Women’s History Month in March with a series of activities created to empower and uplift students through the promotion of positive self-esteem.

A CPS Options School program, Ombudsman Chicago specializes in offering out-of-school and off-track teens a second chance at academic achievement. With a core goal to help each student form a foundation of success that they can build upon and prepare for the future, Ombudsman instructors model positive behavior and encourage students to make good choices.

“Elevating our students’ self-esteem and helping them to appreciate their personal value is a priority throughout the year,” said Aisha Robinson, Ombudsman Chicago post-secondary counselor. “Women’s History Month provides a great opportunity for us to focus additional effort on encouraging our female students to lead and inspire.”

Throughout the month, Ombudsman students designed wall collages using motivational quotes, personal affirmations and photos of empowered women who have impacted their lives. The student contributions to the collages served as starting points to group discussions on topics such as encouraging confidence in others and the importance of role models. To close out the month of activity, Monique Brunson Jones, director of programs at Chicago Foundation for Women, and DeAnna McLeary, executive director of the True Star Foundation and co-founder of True Star Magazine, visited Ombudsman Chicago locations to speak with students about their journeys to success. Both Jones and McLeary play positive roles in the Chicago community, and during their discussion with students they shared the encouraging influences that have helped them along the way.

As an organization, Ombudsman is committed to providing opportunities for women in leadership positions. Women currently represent 50 percent of its regional vice president operational team and 60 percent of its executive leadership team.

“Advancing and empowering women is a big part of our organizational culture,” said Allison O’Neill, Ombudsman chief operating officer. “By imparting the same commitment to our students, we hope to foster the growth of a new generation of strong female leaders.”

For more information visit www.chicagodiploma.com.

About Ombudsman Educational Services
Ombudsman Educational Services is a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), the nation’s leading provider of behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults. ESA partners with more than 250 public school districts in 23 states to serve 13,500 students each year in more than 160 schools and programs.

Ombudsman’s alternative education and dropout recovery programs help communities combat the staggering social and economic costs of high dropout rates. Since 1975, Ombudsman Educational Services has educated more than 155,000 at-risk students and students who have previously dropped out – and introduced them to all the opportunities a real high school diploma provides.