Girls of Purpose
This summer an amazing and effective new program started at the SBCDC. This program has been so effective that after mentioning it to various people, tears usually followed. Laura Otaola, Isla Vista Tutoring Center (IVTC) Program Manager, saw that there was a need to plug in the kids that graduated from the IVTC into something of value; something that would continue to give an opportunity for Christ to reign in these kids’ lives. Thus, the Girls of Purpose (GOP) program began this past summer with a special allocation from the SBCDC Board for what they considered a vital program.
The girls met twice a week for one month during the summer for two to three hours at a time with the main purpose to introduce them to Jesus Christ as well as guide the girls in their spiritual walk with the LORD as they began to understand that God has a special plan for their lives. “At first,” said Laura, “there was a sense of mistrust that usually comes with anyone let alone eight teenage girls. However, as time passed, these girls were able to trust each other and to open up to one another.”
One of the tasks that Laura Otaola, Lydia Hernandez, and Julie Michaelson put together for the girls had the girls sit in a circle and take turns sitting in the circle’s center. As each girl sat in the center, the others were given a chance to say something uplifting and encouraging. But they were not able to do it. The girls were then instructed to go home and to think of encouraging things to say about one another. After a second failure, Laura discovered that the reason was the girls simply did not know how to be encouraging because they never had people in their lives that encouraged and uplifted them. By the end of the program, however, all the girls enjoyed sitting in the middle and also sharing what they saw in each other that made them special. Praise God.
At the start of the program, four of the eight girls had accepted Jesus as their personal Savior through the IVTC program. By the end of the summer, all eight were in the Kingdom of God. And, not only are they in the Kingdom, but they are active in the Kingdom since they are all committed to coming as tutors to the IVTC to help tutor younger kids K-4th. The GOP girls will continue to meet once a week in November to talk about “girl issues” and doing 30 minute Bible studies. Also, Laura wanted to point out that the girls that are in 9th-12th grade have been plugged into MYG, the Fuente de Esperanza Covenant Church youth group under the leadership of Lydia Hernandez.
The eight girls that are currently in the program are Maria Ruíz, Fabiola Ruíz, Lizbeth Ruíz, Edith Pantaleón, Areli Martinez, Martiza Corona, Karina Flores, and Conchita Leyva. All the leaders ask for prayer in that the LORD blesses the group with more intimacy and more girls that will enter the Kingdom of God.