In 2012, the Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN), an all male mentorship organization, hired Sharona Drake as a program coordinator. Her addition to the team created enthusiasm among the young women of North Lawndale who wanted to access YMEN’s mentoring and educational services. Sharona saw how an improvement in the socialization of young women and a shift in their perception of co-leader partnership between males and females could transform the community.
In January 2013, Ms. Drake decided to create PEARL, a sister division to YMEN, with the mission to cultivate young women into individuals who display consistent, positive growth in their education, attitudes, relationships with God and others, and servant leadership. PEARL would also benefit the leadership of young men.
In the last three years PEARL has experienced explosive growth. Today, PEARL serves 200 young women in Lawndale by providing in-school services, after-school programs, and a network of mentoring relationships.
Here’s the power of PEARL: Our young women are equipped with the skills and knowledge to achieve their greatest capacity while breaking the current cultural cycle of gender negativity.
At YMEN/PEARL our vision is to create healthy and mutually supportive relationships where both young men and women thrive in their personal leadership.