ARMS hasn’t talked much about our youth programs FOUNDATIONS and GROUNDWORK, not because these programs are not needed. Quite the opposite. One of our biggest hurdles is finding people who feel called to voluntarily lead these groups. We need both men and women.
We want to tell you about one area that is having great success in Coeur d’Alene, ID. Our young women’s program is going strong and impacting the lives of those we serve, as well as our leaders. The Kroc Center has invited ARMS to provide this program as an after school program. It has been the best attended program this last semester, they reported to our leaders.
The leaders would tell you the program is both life-affirming and life-saving for these girls. The young women want to be heard but above all, they want to be validated for the trauma, abuse, bullying and sexist treatment they have received from family, teachers, adults, men, boys, and girls. Their stories poured out of them. Their leaders start with, “We are so sorry that happened to you. It was wrong.” These words have made all the difference.
Slowly as they hear what healthy looks like, the girls began to identify that those silent feelings they felt inside were right. They gain the strength and the voice to say, “NO. You cannot treat me that way.”
What has been shocking and very sad is the girls, who are ages 12-15 have developed into girls that look like they are 16-19 years old. They are dealing with the attention of men and boys that far exceed their knowledge and experience. Their gut said, “This is NOT right.”
Now, with the tools given them through the ARMS FOUNDATIONS program they are better equipped to stand up for themselves.
The girls want to come back through the program and bring their friends. They value adults who will listen with genuine concern for their welfare.
Interested in helping young women or men? Are you drawn to working with youth? Call or email for more information.