And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Healing and God's Plan
From the age of 16 - 19 I was in an abusive relationship - verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually. Thankfully I eventually found the strength and courage to break free from the relationship, but I was held captive by the pain, hurt, anger, isolation, fear, shame and guilt of that experience well into adulthood.
It was only after fully accepting God's grace, mercy and forgiveness that I finally healed. As I healed I felt him lead me to write a book about my experience to help others recognize the signs, understand abusive relationships and hopefully save someone else from enduring one. As I did research for the book, I discovered our children are at jeopardy of succumbing to a variety of risky behaviors including drinking, drugs, sexual activity and eating disorders as well as unhealthy or abusive dating relationships.
As I learned more, I felt Him leading me to start a prevention program to protect youth from all risky behaviors, but wasn't sure how. After my daughter heard discouraging messages at school, our youth director led me to Core Essential Values, a school club based on positive character traits. It launched the ideas for a new school club and in January 2015 we started the first P.I,E. club (Positively Influencing Everyone) at Corbett Jr. High with 16 students. We met weekly during lunch and discussed honesty, kindness, respect, commitment, etc. as well as ways we could encourage these traits in others. The goal is to help the students not only understand these positive character traits and how to uphold them but also how to spread them throughout the school. In the first five months of PIE we saw a difference not only in the PIE members but also a ripple effect in the school.
Over the summer we had leaders from the local community come and speak to the students and their friends about how they uphold these character traits in their own lives. As the new school year started, most of the original PIE members moved to Clemens High School and so did PIE. We also started a club at Wilder Intermediate School. We’re now in our second year on both campuses; meeting weekly with students in all four lunch periods on the high school campus and three on the intermediate campus. This fall PIE also spread to another school district and started a club at their elementary school. The goal is to eventually be on all the campuses with a rotation of topics so that students will discuss each topic at least three times and have the opportunity to put them into place through service projects before they graduate from high school.
Volunteering is a component we added in the fall of 2016 with a reading mentorship program where 5th & 6th grade students read with an assigned Kindergarten through 2nd grade student to help them improve their reading skills.
Also in the fall of 2016, after learning about hunger in America and within their local community, the high school club applied for and received a grant from the Spur’s Team Up Challenge program to provide fresh vegetables, fruit and meat to 385 families in need as the Christmas break begins.
Future goals include expanding the mentorship program, building a commuity garden, creating a summer food assistance program and providing additional opportunities for youth to volunteer and empower them to be positive influencers in their communities.
I watch God at work in the faces of these children, the students and families they touch and I am in awe. I hope you'll join us in making more opportunities possible to make a difference in the lives of our children and youth.
In His name,
Dee Dee Said
PIC Board President