When Jennifer joined her first meeting of our This is Me! Girls Program, she appeared very anxious about participating and allowing her voice to be heard. We began to gently encourage her by assuring her she was in a safe space. As the other young women in the group began to open up, so did Jennifer. Her self-esteem was wounded by a variety of people in her past and it was painful to hear her story. But through this process, her strength was undeniable.
We recently had the opportunity for an overnight excursion out to the country provided by a generous donor. We climbed trees, went canoeing and balanced on high ropes. Jennifer joined the group outing, but was terrified of heights, so opted to be an observer of the last activity.
Part-way through the afternoon, Jennifer changed her mind. She said she wanted to challenge herself and not walk away without trying. She asked for the group’s support and with trembling hands and legs, Jennifer stepped out onto a high rope more than 21 metres in the air. She did it! She was so proud of herself, she was beaming and we were beaming right along with her.
The homeless girls who come to our doors need compassionate, specialized care to recover from the trauma they have experienced at home or on the street. Lise Watier: This is Me! Girls Program offers our girls life skills workshops, a discussion group, female mentors and special outings. Our inviting girls lounge provides a comfortable space to participate in special programming.
The program’s workshops and activities cover a wide scope of practical life skills, such as budgeting and household repairs, plus business-savvy courses, career planning and personal branding. Our girls, staff and mentors form a diverse community that provides the unconditional love and support that our girls need to thrive and grow.
Girls in the program are given opportunities to develop new ways of coping with stress and to gain greater self-esteem and competence in a number of life skills. They are also introduced to new communication approaches and spend time understanding their sense of character through introspection.
Our girls are highly vulnerable, but they also have tremendous resilience and potential. We strive to light the way towards a life with a future.