Gyrls In The H.O.O.D. (Health Optimistic, Outstanding, and Determined) Foundation is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that provides girls of color with resources to make informed and responsible choices regarding their reproductive health. The organization is guided by a mission to improve reproductive health outcomes for adolescent girls in urban areas referred to as “The Hood.” It seeks to challenge negative stereotypes associated with the Hood and support girls in discovering their full potential.
Black women and girls face the greatest obstacles in accessing reproductive health services and education. As a result, they are at the highest risk for adverse reproductive health outcomes, including unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and maternal mortality. The statistics are startling and reveal deep racial inequalities:Black women and girls are three times more likely to die during childbirth compared to White women, and Black women accounted for 60 percent of new HIV infections among women in the United States, despite comprising less than 15 percent of the female population. While a number of factors contribute to these outcomes, Gyrls in The H.O.O.D. aims to address one facet of the problem by providing comprehensive reproductive health education to adolescent girls.
The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund will support Gyrls in The H.O.O.D.’s Degrees B4 Diapers project. The project will offer at-risk adolescent girls an age-appropriate, medically accurate, and comprehensive sexual health education in a non-judgmental environment. The curriculum will focus on preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, Gyrls in The H.O.O.D. will offer mentoring, college application guidance, college tours, and guest lectures to encourage girls to pursue higher education.
Gyrls in The H.O.O.D. will implement this project in the Greater Grand Crossing and Chatham communities of Chicago. As an end goal, the project aims to improve health outcomes for Black girls and women. Gyrls in The H.O.O.D. believes the current healthcare landscape, which is marred by disparities in maternal mortality, cervical cancer, and unintended pregnancies, can and must be changed. Gyrls in The H.O.O.D. will provide Black girls with knowledge and support to properly manage their reproductive health, a crucial first step in changing broader health inequities. To learn more about Gyrls in The H.O.O.D., please visit the organization’s website and social media pages: