VITAL FOUNDATIONS FOR GIRLS 2012
DVD: The VFG video was prepared by Melody Warford. The segments, interviews, and recordings with the representatives of the homes were carried out from 29th October to 8th November 2012.
The Vital Foundation for Girls Program is an event that was held from 18th-23rd November 2012 at Sepang Golden Palm Tree Resort. This was a vision conceptualized by Dr. Evelyn Biles (President of Global Mosaic Malaysia & Dean of AOIC Pastoral Counselling program) and the mission was undertaken by Global Mosaic Malaysia.
The vision was to groom leaders from the girls who are currently housed in various homes in the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya areas. The mission was to develop positive self-identity and esteem in the girls, to enhance their strengths, and provide resources in the form of mentorship to influence and lead their peers in any environment.
The girls from the “Rumahs” (homes) who were chosen for this program were those in the age group of 10 to 15 years, who are teachable, and who exhibit leadership potential. They were to cohabit with a mother–daughter pair and one of the Malaysian mentors for a week at the Resort. The mentor team was selected from the alumni and graduating students of AOIC Pastoral Counselling program who were keen to focus on girls and adolescent counselling. They are to mentor the girls over a period of two years.
Dr. Biles had approached various families from India, U.S.A, Australia, and Malaysia with the vision and invitation to join. Due to the differing school holiday schedules in the various countries, only the mother-daughter teams from the U.S.A who had their Thanksgiving Week holiday during this time could participate in this program without missing classes.
The mother-daughter team, the girls from the homes, and the mentor were housed in a chalet, similar to a family on vacation. The girls were to interact with each other to experience the cross-cultural exchanges as well as allowing the Malaysian girls to engage with and observe the ways the mother relates to the daughter in their daily living. The girls were encouraged to visit each other’s chalets for fellowship and enjoy the amenities of the Resort together.
Dr. Biles had given guidelines to all that this was not to be considered a camp or school; it is not drilling kids with more lessons, but it is relationships, fun, bonding, and learning by modelling.
The girls attended three 45-60 minute sessions daily. Session topics were designed around character building, communication, good decision-making, and interpersonal skills, and were facilitated by both the mothers and the mentors.
A folder was given to each girl as a blank book entitled “This is me” to be authored by her over the course of the week. Photos of the individual girls were taken to use in creating a cover for the book. The folder would contain the building blocks and life lessons for future growth and educational material. All were also requested to record daily in a notepad the lessons learned and to provide feedback to the organizers. This journal was used to record the girls’ thoughts or reflections.
The Malaysian mentor team facilitated the first day’s sessions as that allowed time for the U.S.A teams to adjust to the different time zone.
- Session 1
- Session 2
- Session 3
- Session 4
- Session 5
- Session 6
- Session 7
- Session 8
- Session 9
- Session 10
- Session 11
- Session 12
Although none of the sessions were rehearsed nor discussed with each other, we saw how amazingly God had led each session to link to the next and extended the individual topics discussed. Ruth said she was really blessed as her session was the last so she had the advantage of sitting through all the other sessions first.
There had been some discussion wondering how much these girls would take in as they sat in all these sessions. The goal was for them to process these concepts to they could also bring change to the lives of their peers. I was reminded of the illustration Jesus used through the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7 that we should rejoice even one life was touched. Our task was simply to plant that one seed in their lives; there would be others later to water that seed. God is the one who would make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7) and bring their leadership qualities and skills to harvest.
From the initial stages of forming the committee in January 2012, to identifying the shelter homes and the selection of girls in September 2012, VFG became a reality on 18th November 2012. The program ended on the 23rd with the girls writing thank you notes and cards to the volunteers, donors, sponsors, and all whose service they appreciated.
After enjoying a Thanksgiving Turkey feast especially prepared for them by the resort, the girls also learned that expressing gratitude is a vital component of building a strong relationship. We could not have achieved the same level of success without the generous contribution and accommodation of the management and staff of Sepang Golden Palm Tree Resort. As the VFG committee we are grateful to them and to everyone on both sides of the globe who believed in the vision and so generously invested their money and time to make it possible. We appreciate each individual who had made this event a success and who participated in any form of sponsorship with generous funds, products, and transport to ferry the girls to and from the resort.
After a day of sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur, the event ended with an appreciation dinner for the U.S.A and Malaysian teams and “Selamat Tinggal” to our guests.