2/24/2021, noon
For Valentine’s Day, Ladies of Virtue hosted an event to show young Black women how much they are loved. The ...
Ladies of Virtue, founded by Jamila Trimuel, hosted its first LOV Day for young Black women on the city’s South and West sides to show how much they are loved. Photo provided by Vanessa Abron
Ladies of Virtue shows love to young Black women  
   b b For Valentine’s Day, Ladies of Virtue hosted an event to show young Black women how much they are loved. The mentoring program which aims to empower girls ages 9-18, provided 300 LOV boxes to young women on the South and West sides.
      Jamila Trimuel, founder of Ladies of Virtue, said the organization decided to host LOV Day because during COVID-19, some of the participants had been isolated and feeling down.
     “We just noticed that because of some of the changes that our girls are experiencing during the pandemic, we just wanted to ensure our girls felt like they were seen and they were heard and they were loved. And, that’s why we wanted to do the LOV Day, so they could know we’re thinking about them during this time,” she said.
     Trimuel said the LOV box included a teddy bear, candy, masks and hand sanitizer, manicure sets and Black History facts. She said the bear said, “you are beautiful,” because the organization wanted to remind the girls that they are beautiful just the way they are.           Trimuel said the organization is still providing programming on Saturdays, as well as distributing activity kits, painting kits and oil kits to the girls who participate. She said they provided whatever the girls said they needed to ensure they were communicating and having fun. Food to families in need, as well as school supplies, were also provided.
      “We want to encourage our girls to make sure they know they are powerful leaders,” she said.
      Trimuel said Ladies of Virtue has given out $23,000 in financial stipends to families in need.
     Latrina Oddo’s daughter, Makana Oddo, has been in the program for almost two years. Latrina said she was looking for a positive role model for Makana to reinforce the things she was teaching her daughter. Through Latrina’s research of mentoring programs, she received referrals for Ladies of Virtue.  
     “I concluded that LOV was the perfect match, in that they would be the ones to expose her, to help build her up and help her to become a virtuous woman. She is taught a lot of different things in love. Some of the key points, we know their mission to be, is to help her to improve her communication skills and building up her characters and these are some of the times I was looking for as a parent,” she said.
     “ Oddo said getting her daughter involved in LOV was the best thing for Makana’s development and social skills. She said Ladies of Virtue has been intentional in helping her daughter to develop their skills and it has been very rewarding. Oddo said even with the mentors pivoting to an online platform, Ladies of Virtue still made sure to provide for the whole girl and being purposeful in the service the organization provides.
      Makana said her favorite memory of being in Ladies of Virtue was getting to know girls her age. She said she likes being a part of Ladies of Virtue because she can socialize with the other girls and she is taught confidence.
      “It teaches us to be us and be ourselves and [to] be strong young Black women,” Makana said.
     For more information about Ladies of Virtue, visit www.lovchicago.org