Jessica London-Shields comes to the non-profit world after working for many years as an actor and story divisor. Jess grew up and San Francisco, but has called Chicago home for 13 years. Jess is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of She Crew, a leadership development and arts empowerment program for girls and trans-spectrum youth in Chicago. She holds a BFA from DePaul University and will be working towards a Masters in Social Work in the fall at the University of Chicago.
Jess runs She Crew along with her wife, Meredith, who serves as Program Director and creator of the multidisciplinary method the organization employs. The idea of (She Crew) was born out of the girl-on-girl hate that Meredith witnessed as a teacher and after school instructor. Early adolescence is a difficult time for many girls, but is also a very formative time, when judgment habits and coping mechanism are being formed.
The Pollination Project helped to fund She Crew´s very first summer six-week program for girls and trans-spectrum youth in early adolescence, using expressive writing, performance, and communal cooking as modes of empowerment. The program is free of cost to students, provides free transit cards and one free meal per day.
She Crew currently works in partnership with the Jane Addams Museum and provide programs throughout the school year, connecting youth from all over the city of Chicago.