Oh my! There have been so many crazy changes happening in the last couple of months! We have so many moments to be incredibly thankful for. Dana announced all the exciting updates going on in our lives and also mentioned a few changes that we will be implementing into our blog! We will be sharing plenty more personal testimonies, stories to encourage, and personal styling posts!
These last few months I have been interning at an organization called The Evans Project. It is an organization that provides resources and programs for at risk youth in Orlando. Every Wednesday I get to look forward to meeting with a group of girls that are currently on probation with their first or second offense. I have been blessed to get to witness these girls develop so much empowerment and value. Even though they are still on probation, they have found a new sense of hope that they’ve never had before. These girls started to feel support and hear encouragement, at times, for the first time in their lives.
I will probably have many stories to share about these girls but today is about one in particular. She is 15 years old and still in the 7th grade. She is currently on probation, homeless, and stuck trying to take care of her two youngest sisters. Through out the months I have become very connected to this girl and have seen SO much change in her life. She was put on probation for fighting an adult at a store. I remember when I first walked in the room, she did not look up at me once. It was a tough engagement session but I as weeks went by, she started to realized that I was there to support her. I was there because I believed in her. Most importantly, I was there because I was dying for her to see the value in herself. It was the coolest thing ever to get to see her start to light up as she was realizing that she was truly being heard. I started to see a smile that I definitely never saw when I first met her. The interns and I could just tell that this girl was having some real breakthrough.
Recently, I went to visit her at school to get a followup on how she is performing in class but she wasn’t there. I found out by the front desk lady that she had been getting harassed by other girls in school, so the administrators decided to release her from class 30 minutes earlier to catch the bus before the other girls could get to her. They mentioned how proud they were of her to back away from a fight after being instigated for days. All I remember doing was smiling so much that I could barely speak to the administrator. Luckily, they didn’t think I was crazy because they reported to have felt the same way when they had first heard about it.
I am so proud of this girl. She truly has changed in so many ways. We have been able to walk along side of her and set up current and future goals so that she can become who she is truly meant to be. She has expressed a desire to grow and change. She even mentioned that she wants to be the one that breaks the generational curse of teen pregnancy within her family. She always mentions that her family constantly tell her that she will not amount to anything. What a blessing it has been to reinforce the value that God has for this beautiful young girl. I am just so glad to have witnessed such incredible change in her.
Of course, I was so excited about her recent growth that I had to buy her a little present! I got her this adorable tribal print backpack. When I told my supervisor that I wanted to buy her a present for all of her good work, she asked me what I was planning on getting her. I told her, “I don’t know, an adorable bracelet or something”. (typical me). My supervisory shook her head and said, “this girl has NEEDS. She is currently moving from place to place. She has NEEDS. Now, what are you going to get her”? Well, that comment really got me thinking. As I walked around the store, I came across this beautiful backpack and realized that this was the best gift I could give her considering that she is moving from place to place and needs something to carry her belongings and SCHOOL WORK! I added a few cute details inside to make it even more personal for her and a letter for her to keep to remember the immense amount of value and strength she has. I was able to give her the present today and it felt like Christmas! What a Joy to see a young girl light up because she is receiving a present for simply being awesome and believing in herself enough to make positive change!! I have learned so much through this girl. She has been such a blessing to me and the others that I work with. Support goes a very long way.natalia