Spring Changes Coming Soon!

Welcome to our blog!  Girl Talk is continuing to grow stronger to better support the young women detained at the JTDC.  We will be updating our blog and tweeting more info soon!

In the meantime, here are some campaigns and organizations:

  • YES TO COUNSELORS, NO TO COPS: A coalition of organizations and people across Chicago who are asking Chicago Public Schools to pass a resolution that would state any new school safety funding received from Federal grants will be used to hire COUNSELORS NOT COPS.
  • Suspension Stories: Challenging the school to prison pipeline.
  • VOYCE Project: Youth collaborating to fight for educational justice.
  • Young Women’s Empowerment Project:  A member based social justice organizing project that is led by and for young people of color who have current or former experience in the sex trade and street economies.

Of course, there are many other wonderful groups doing amazing work.  Look in our blogroll for more!


Call for Support & Donations: Self-Care Days for Incarcerated Girls

On Saturday December 15th, Girl Talk will be hosting a “Pamper Yourself” Self-Care Day for the young women who are incarcerated at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. We are organizing this event with no money and so we will be heavily relying on our supporters to make this day a success.

On Saturday January 12th, 2013, we will coordinate a similar event for the young women who are incarcerated at IYC-Warrenville.

To make both days a success, here is what we need:


If you are a bodywork therapist (massage, reflexology, etc…), please volunteer your time and skills.

If you can offer manicures and/or pedicures to the young women, please volunteer.

Do you teach yoga, relaxation and anti-stress techniques? Then please join us.

We are asking for volunteers who identify as women. If you are interested contact Mariame at projectnia@hotmail.com or 773-392-5165 to sign up for a shift at the jail or at Warrenville. We are asking volunteers to let us know about their availability by November 21st. We are going to give a list of all volunteers who will be participating to both the jail and the prison so that we can clear everyone in advance.

JTDC volunteers:

Please be available from 12p – 5:30p.
For volunteers at the JTDC, we will meet at UIC before going into the jail to have a snack and discuss expectations and more.

Warrenville volunteers:

We will confirm the time with you, but please plan to volunteer from 1p-5:30p plus driving time.

All volunteers:
We will set up carpools so if you have a car and can drive some folks, let us know.


We need several supplies for the day and also for the gift baskets that we would like to give to the young women at the end of the day.

Lotions (any size)
Hair Care Products (appropriate for young women of color)
Bath Salts
Bath Soaps
Bath Gels
Bath Milks
Sugar Scrubs
Aromatherapy Oils (Peppermint, Lavender, Orange, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Rosemary, etc…)
Nail Polish (we need different colors)
Nail Polish Remover
Cotton Balls
Nail Tools
Foot Cremes
Eye Pillows
Soft and Fuzzy Socks

All donations and items must be received by December 9th. You can mail items to: Project NIA c/o RPCC, 1530 West Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626. If you want to drop off your items, you can do so at the same address however please call Mariame at 773-392-5165 to make sure that someone will be there to receive the items from you. Finally, if you prefer to contribute money (which we would gladly accept), you can make your check payable to Project NIA (write Girl Talk on the memo line) and mail to the address listed above. We will be shopping after December 9th for all of the items that we did not get donated.


Important Note: We very much believe that ALL incarcerated youth deserve many “self-care” days. Our capacity only allows us to work with the young women at JTDC and IYC-Warrenville. If a group of men would like to organize similar events for young men at the JTDC, please contact Mariame so that she can connect you to the appropriate staff at the jail.

New Resource: Our Second Girl Talk Curriculum is Available…

NOTE: Our apologies, we initially linked to the wrong curriculum and have now uploaded the correct version.

First, it’s been a couple of months since we’ve posted an update. Unfortunately, the Leadership Team has been incredibly busy offering our programming to the young women at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center among many other responsibilities. We are committed to posting more regularly going forward…

We are thrilled to be able to share our second Girl Talk Curriculum. This one features new films and new discussion questions and activities. This curriculum was spearheaded by the members of the LT curriculum committee. We really do welcome and want your feedback. If you do download this curriculum and you actually use it with young women, please send us your thoughts about how it worked. You can reach us at chicagogirltalk@gmail.com. We are offering the curriculum to folks at no cost but if you are able (especially if you are using this as part of your work in a school, non-profit, or other organization), please consider making a donation in any amount to Girl Talk. This is a volunteer-led project that runs on a tiny budget. You can send a check to us at:

Project NIA/Girl Talk
1530 West Morse Ave
Chicago, IL 60626

For those who have not already seen our first Girl Talk curriculum, you can request a free copy HERE and we will e-mail a PDF copy to you.

A Special Thanks for Making Our Self-Care Days Wonderful!

We just wanted to take a moment to thank our volunteers and donors who helped to make our self-care events at the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Center and IYC-Warrenville so wonderful and inspiring.

Thanks to the following volunteers who contributed to the JTDC self-care event!

Laura Cortez
Jessica Estrada
Molly Harris
Mariame Kaba
Deana Lewis
Caryn Moore
Emily Robinson
Christian Totty

Thanks to the following volunteers for making the Warrenville self-care event so successful!

Jill Bratt
Stacy Erenberg
Keisha Farmer-Smith
Emily Foster
LaNisa Frederick
Ashley Howard
Tanuja Jagernauth
Mariame Kaba
Deana Lewis
Shonettia Monique
Philippa Norman
Gloria Ortiz
Beatrice Scescke
Kara Schmidt
Radhika Sharma-Gordon
Christian Totty

Thanks to the following people for contributing items and gifts for the young women:

Jill Bratt
Gabriella Brown
Alison Burkhardt
Rachel Caidor
Keisha Farmer-Smith
LaNisa Frederick
Tali Halperin
Ashley Howard
Mariame Kaba
Taylor Ovca
Students at Francis Parker High School
Coya Paz
Radhika Sharma-Gordon
Jenny Vanderploeg
Michelle VanNatta
Arewa Winters and the women of S.H.A.R.E.

Information Session: October 29th…

For anyone who is interested in potentially volunteering with Girl Talk and learning more about our work, please join members of the Leadership Team on October 29th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. The session will take place at the UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St (dining area adjacent to Dunkin Donuts).

Please take the time to first complete this application before attending the information session.

If you cannot attend this information session, you can still complete the Facilitator application and a leadership team member will contact you to discuss Girl Talk.

Our next volunteer orientation is November 12th and interested volunteers must first attend an information session or talk with a leadership team member before being considered for it.

Save the Date: November 12th New Program Facilitator Orientation

If you are interested in volunteering as a Girl Talk program facilitator, your next opportunity to take part in our new program facilitator orientation is Saturday, November 12th from 10:30 to 3:30 p.m. Please contact us at chicagogirltalk@gmail.com so that we can provide you with more information about the orientation and about the application process.

New Report by CDF Suggests that More Girls Entering Juvenile Justice System

From the newly-released 2011 State of America’s Children Report by the Children’s Defense Fund:

More Girls Enter the Juvenile Justice System

The caseload of girls in the juvenile justice system has greatly increased in the last 30 years. In 1980, girls made up 20 percent of all juvenile arrests.1 By 2009, girls made up 30 percent of all juvenile arrests. The rise in the number of girls in the system seems to be largely due to changes in arrest policies, rather than changes in behavior among girls. 2 Girls are disproportionately arrested for status offenses, or acts that are illegal only when a minor has committed them, such as curfew violations, under-age drinking, running away, and truancy. Most states are attempting to divert status offenders to counseling or other community-based services to prevent entry into the juvenile justice system. However, these alternatives are not available to all who need them, and there are many problems associated with incarcerating girls for status offenses.

Girls are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system for status offenses

• In 2007, the most recent national data on girls in residential placement showed that girls made up about 14 percent of all youth in placement. These data also showed that girls were disproportionately incarcerated for status offenses. Girls made up
 51 percent of juveniles in residential placement for running away;
 31 percent of truancy offenses;
 36 percent of underage drinking offenses; and
 40 percent of incorrigibility offenses.3
• Girls made up 55 percent of runaway arrests in 2009.4 Other characteristics about girls in the juvenile justice system
• Estimates of girls in the juvenile justice system who have been abused range from 40 to
73 percent.5
• Seventy-five percent of girls in the system report being regular users of alcohol and/or drugs.6
• Girls (9%) were more likely than boys (2%) to report forced sexual activity with other youth while in confinement.7
• American Indian and Black girls are four and three times more likely to be incarcerated than White girls, respectively.8

1 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Snyder, Howard N. and Sickmund, Melissa, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, at http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/nr2006/downloads/nr2006.pdf>.
2 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, OJJDP In Focus, Girls’ Delinquency.
3 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and National Center for Juvenile Justice, Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook, Race/Ethnicity by State, 2007.
4 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 2009, Table 33.
5 Chesney-Lind, M. & Sheldon, R.G. (1998). Girls, delinquency, and juvenile justice. Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
6 Acoca, L. (1999). Investing in girls: A 21st century strategy. Juvenile Justice, vol 6 (1). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
7 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report, Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-2009.
8 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and National Center for Juvenile Justice, Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook, Race/Ethnicity by State, 2007.