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Established in 2008, the Lady Elegance Program was originally established to teach young ladies about the importance of self-care, the dangers of bullying, and the importance of confidence and professional development. The Lady Elegance Program began as a summer program hosted at The Boys and Girls Club of Champaign. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign served as the venue sponsor for the Program’s inaugural pageant.  

Currently, the program has grown and refined its mission to focus on, social skills, professional development, and global awareness.  The program produces young ladies that are socially skilled, professionally developed, and globally aware. 

Socially Skilled. Participants meet 1-2X times per month for a series of workshops and trainings. Members of the Lady Elegance Program’s Programming Board and/or dedicated volunteers teach worships on a range of topics including, but not limited to, dealing with social media bullying, time management, healthy relationships, and the importance of extra-curricular activities. 

Professionally Developed. Each participant is paired with a professional development mentor. Every attempt is made to pair participants with a mentor in a career field of the participant’s choosing, but the Lady Elegance Program also seeks to expose participants to careers outside of their initial interest. 

Globally Aware. This year, as a new initiative, each girl will study an issue that impacts teenage girls in another country and identify potential solutions to that problem. Some of the participants may also have the opportunity to have a pen pal in another country. 

Participation: Each participant for the 2017-2018 school year completed an online application and interview. Applications for the 2017-2018 school year close on June 30, 2017. The program is open to sophomores in high school. If you know of an interested student, please contact us for an application. 




(ChiChici) Ohaja

Ugochinyere Ohaja, who goes by Chichi, describes herself as a magical, regal, black woman. She is from Nigeria and came to the U.S. when she was only 13 years old.

DaWanna L. McCray is a Chicago native who graduated from Carver Military Academy. She is a first-generation college graduate.


McCray, J.D.

Tracy G. Crump,

M.S., Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., Esq.

 Dr. Tracy G. Crump completed her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Criminology, Law, and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.



Christina Guice was born and raised in Chicago. She attend public school, ultimately graduating from Whitney Young Magnet High School.


Bernier-Green, M.S.T.

Owner of Laine's Bake Shop in Chicago with her Masters of Technology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   

Regional Special Events Coordinator at Macy's with her Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Cincinnati. 


Foriest, M.S. 

Dr. Ngozi

Emuchay, M.D. 

Practicing medical doctor in Chicago, with her M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

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