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Healthy Eating

This week, one of our interns decided to do a lesson on healthy eating and good nutrition, giving the girls a chance to discuss what kinds of foods they eat on a daily basis. This discussion was “a lot of fun” and allowed the girls the chance to find out more interesting facts on the food we eat.

After the discussion, the girls participated in an activity where they put soda on the stove and boiled the water off, which resulted in a thick, sticky syrup. This allowed our girls to see what they put into their bodies when drinking this kind of beverage. During the activity there were many exclamations of ”Eww!!” and “Gross!!”. One of our girls even stated “I’m going to stop drinking pop.”

Once the girls viewed this activity they had the chance to participate in making a healthy alternative food choice: fruit salad. The girls really liked the bright colors and loved eating it. This activity was a great way to incorporate our health and wellness life domain and allowed the girls the chance to see the importance of healthy eating.

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FISH visits Gwen’s Girls

Right as the fresh Spring air began to roll in, members of the FISH (Fellowship In Senior High) community from State College, PA were buzzing with excitement for the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh for volunteer opportunities. Soon, we found ourselves standing at the doors of the Community House Church, ready to unload our sleeping bags and suitcases, but more than anything, ready to serve.

As the group assignments were plastered to the walls, students buzzed around them excitedly. Although all of the volunteer opportunities had their own benefits, the students chosen to work at Gwen’s Girls were the most excited of us all. On the bus to Pittsburgh, stories were pouring out from veterans of the Pittsburgh trip about working with Gwen’s Girls, whether about the adorable children they had worked with or about how nice it felt to help a community with such a great cause and message. For me, personally, working with Gwen’s Girls was the highlight of my time when I came here two years ago, not so much due to the work itself (cleaning and organizing the facilities), but because of how much I learned. Seeing the documentary on Gwen’s Girls message nearly brought me to tears when I realized the immense difficulties women face, not only in Pittsburgh, but everywhere throughout the world. Seeing the statistics about body image and sexual abuse were what troubled me the most, and after watching the documentary, I was determined to work my hardest during the time I had to help clean up the facilities. After talking to my fellow volunteers, I was happy to realize they felt the same way.

Although we volunteers contribute only a small amount to the cause, it’s nice to know that we had some part in creating at least a little bit of an improved environment for these girls, and we are immensely thankful to again have the opportunity to do that. Thank you, Gwen’s Girls for all you have done and all you continue to do.

Peace and Girl Power,

Mariel D. and the FISH Community

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Vanderbilt Alternative Spring Break (written by Queen Stevenson)

Ms. Queen Stevenson

Ms. Queen Stevenson

On a cold March morning, rays of gold slice through the snow and ice clumped on the roofs under which twelve Vanderbilt University students fold clothes, paint walls, and water plants. I am one of them.

We are part of Alternative Spring Break, the largest student organization at Vanderbilt, boasting over 400 students. Like its name implies, Vandy Alternative Spring Break forges an unconventional path in that its participants engage in intensive community service instead of using spring break as an opportunity to party or lounge around. ASB has 39 sites, each with its own particular service project. There are options to work with the elderly and special needs population in Florida, to serve the Native American population in South Dakota, to spend 48 hours with Washington, D.C.’s homeless. Each site has about 8-12 participants and fosters complete and genuine community between the students not only on the job, but also as we live with each other for a week.
Our fearless site leaders, juniors Anthony and Natalie, and I along with nine other students traveled to snowy Pittsburgh to spend a week that would change our lives. Our service project is titled “Suddenly I See”, which is actually the name of a song by artist KT Tunstall building up the self esteem of a girl by praising her nuanced and unique qualities. The girl’s eyes are opened, and she is able to “suddenly see” her confidence and worth. In the same vein, our site gives us an incredible chance to serve the girls and young women of Gwen’s Girls, who are on the daily having their inner beauty and value being revealed to them.
The first day, we completed tasks around the building, such as lifting tables and sprucing up the chalkboards. The next few days are devoted to caring for and entertaining the younger girls and the older young women; on our last day we will each get to cater to a Gwen’s Girl chosen from either age group, based on our ease of interaction.
Personally, I screamed when I read the site description. I never dreamed that there would exist a project that encompassed my love for the hearts and souls of girls. I never dreamed that there would exist a site that focused not only on putting broken pieces back together, but also transcending the brokenness and producing true fruit in the lives of these girls. I never dreamed that I would receive an opportunity such as this so early on in my college career.
In a couple of hours, the young girls will arrive, and our excitement is tangible in the air. We have brainstormed games and activities for them. While we are so honored to serve them, we realize that it is they who are doing us the greater service; by the time we arrive on campus in a few days, our eyes will be opened to the true beauty of restoration and growth, only because Gwen’s Girls helped us to see it.

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