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Jennifer Ramirez: Founder and Executive Director of &Rise

&Rise is on a mission to help women overcome their trauma and become their best, healed selves. Their holistic programs, which range from education, to counseling, to support groups, assist women in creating bright futures and working past trauma. Learn more about their work and how to get involved here!

How did you get the idea to start &Rise and help trauma survivors?

I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and became a single mother at 21. I had my “How did I get here?” moment when I was in debt, raising a child, and living in a bad area. I did a lot of work, sought counseling, and it changed my life. &Rise came about when I was putting myself through college, which I graduated from in 2020, and I attended an event that inspired me about women overcoming downfalls. I wanted to share my story with other women. It started in my living room as a women’s empowerment group and grew into support groups to help with mental health. During COVID, we were able to expand our reach all over the country and help as many women as possible who were stuck at home with abusers or had time to sit with hard emotions.

Can you tell me about your program offerings?

We have free counseling for any woman in Illinois, not just trauma survivors. We have four support groups per week, one of which is in person. We also offer financial education and do workshops about money mindset, 401k, life insurance, and other important financial topics. Financial education is so important for me since I was never taught about money, and I want to help women understand it. There’s a biweekly book club that focuses on self-help books and memoirs. We also do career development, which entails mock interviews and resume markups. There’s trauma life coaching, where we help women work on boundaries, acceptance, and forgiveness.

What is your goal for a woman coming into an &Rise program?

Our goal is to empower them and develop them into whatever it is they want to do, whether it’s getting a new job or healing from things in their past. It’s about elevating women to the next level and giving them the resources they need to get there. Our women leave better than they came in, even if they only come to us once. We provide tools that help with their everyday lives. All of the offerings we have are based on things that helped me in my journey and information that I wish I had.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love everything about it. Leading the support groups, talking to the women, and helping them every step of the way. It makes me feel good when people thank me for listening to them or tell me that our work has helped their lives. I love that we give women wins are provide them with a second family that they can trust. I have big plans for &Rise, there are so many women around the world that don’t have rights and I think we can change their lives with our work.


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