Girls get help taking flight

Middle school and high school girls who need a female mentor in their lives are encouraged to sign up for the WINGS program, which matches girls with women in their area. WINGS is also looking for women interested in connecting with a local girl.

“We call it more of a social mentoring, catered to whatever the girl needs,” says Nancy Wernig Hoelscher, program facilitator of WINGS, which stands for Women Involved iN Girls Success. The mentors get together with the girls twice a month and the duo also participates in a monthly service project and social events.

“We’re just trying to make this a fun experience for the girls, to empower them and to make them know they can succeed in life no matter what their experiences at home or school,” Hoelscher says.

The program, based in Naperville, is sponsored jointly by NCO Youth and Family Services, the Naperville Police Department and Kidsmatter. Girls and mentors can be from anywhere in the Chicago area. Matches will be made geographically whenever possible, Hoelscher says.

Mentors submit to background and reference checks, and attend training by WINGS. The program is free for both girls and mentors. For information, call (630) 639-1312 or e-mail

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