Part Four in a Six Part Blog Series on how YOU can ACT in BALTIMORE.
One theme we keep seeing in articles and commentaries written about the events in Baltimore is relationships. A thread that strings together Church of the Nativity’s local missions partners is relationships. Though it wouldn’t seem intuitive at first glance that ending HIV in Baltimore and providing mentoring for boys and girls are linked, they are, of course. What makes these programs successful, and holistic in their approach to succeeding in their goals, is relationships.
I saw one interview this past week that really broke my heart. A young girl was asked how she was handling the events of the past week. She revealed she was scared and confused, and did not feel safe.
The question wasn’t broad enough for me, though the child might not have been able to articulate an answer to a broader question given her age and stress level at the time. The question I have, and I think we all have, is this: how was she handling the events from the past year or five years as it applies to her current reality?
It is not just the circumstances of the past few weeks that have harmed our children living and playing in the City of Baltimore.
Relationships are the key to breaking down barriers and getting the real issues of the heart and mind and soul. Complex issues take multi-faceted solutions. Relationships are always the start of multi-faceted solutions, and relationships are definitely best maintained in a circle.
Through long term mentoring relationships,
My Sister’s Circle exposes at-risk girls to opportunities and experiences that empower them
to define success for themselves, make intentional decisions about their future
and become self-sufficient young women.
My Sister’s Circle actually encircles girls with mentors, peers journeying through the same process, and professionals who provide specific programmatic intervention such as summer camps, internships and educational experiences. The approach of My Sister’s Circle is not a short-term band-aid fix, but a long-term growth proposition for both the girls in the program as well as the adults privileged to participate alongside the girls in this journey.
MSC helps to positively transform the lives of girls during the critical middle school and high school years by:
- matching each girl with a highly qualified volunteer mentor;
- organizing cultural, educational and recreational events and trips;
- soliciting summer camp scholarships;
- referring students to leadership programs and internships;
- working with the girls and their families throughout the challenging middle and high school selection process; and
- connecting students with MSC’s own Director of College Counseling for college guidance and support.
Again, we see the world “my” in the name of the organization. One transformative paradigm shift for those of us who aren’t City residents or don’t immediately identify with the needs and circumstances of our City neighbors is to begin to own the word my.
These are my sisters, my daughters. We need to start to view them as ours, not in a paternalistic (or maternalistic) sort of way, but we need to see them as just as important and worthy as the children or siblings who live in our home.
I want these girls to be able to give an interview in a few years, or sooner, where there is no expression of fear, but only of hope for a bright future, one of promise for their own futures and one of service by those who benefited from growing in a circle.
To give to My Sister’s Circle, click here.
To volunteer with My Sister’s Circle, click here.
Two more posts to come! Stay tuned for a post on local missions opportunities with groups equipping Baltimore City veterans who are transitioning through homelessness, poverty and addiction; and Baltimore City children who are victims of human sex trafficking.