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Job Skills Training Offers Hope to Victims of Sexual Abuse
by Analiz Schremmer
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2018
It’s easy for an educated, middle-American to take basic job-skills knowledge for granted.

We learn by observing parents and family members when we are children and by common experiences like dining out, enjoying the services of a nice business or staying in a hotel.

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Most of the young women finding refuge at the government home  in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, never have these types of experiences, and that can turn into one of the many disadvantages they face as they seek to make a living for themselves and their young children.

The Guatemalan government home houses more than 60 girls between the ages of 8 and 18. When Kristina Simpson and the other members of her college leadership  team visited, 23 of them had children and 15 were currently pregnant. All of the girls had been rescued from sexual abuse or trafficking.

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Kristy, who has been on a total of eight Orphan Outreach trips to Guatemala since 2008, said the team of 12 was asked to design a training course that the girls can use after leaving the home; something to help them get ahead in life.

“The director of the home asked if we could provide lessons that would weave Gospel-centered principles into practical life-skills and job-skills training. We got together as a team and decided to develop a hospitality service industry curriculum,” shares Kristy. “The hope is that they can use what they learned to obtain jobs when they leave the home or age out of traditional care."

Kristy explains that the curriculum was split into five topics. Each topic involved a scripture reference and a hands-on-game. Topics included everything from interviewing skills and teamwork tips to customer service essentials and conflict resolution.

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“The final morning we taught them to set the table,” she says. “We ordered pizza and they practiced serving the staff at the home. They pulled out chairs and placed the plate on right side and removed it from the left. It was neat to see that to see them practice that.”

Kristy, who has invested a lot of time into volunteering with teenagers in her hometown, says she and the team enjoyed getting to know the girls and their stories. The job skills training provided by the team opened the door to deeper conversations about hopes and challenges. She says that one of the things that stuck out the most to her was their willingness to open up and genuinely ask for difficult prayer requests.

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“There was one girl who came up to me and embraced me and wouldn’t let go for like 20 minutes,” she says. “She just needed to feel safe and loved. I think a lot of them have that same need. They’re in a home with 60 others and they just need to know that someone cares about them. They’re just kids 14 or 15 trying to raise children.”

When the team first arrived at the home, Kristy says she could see a look of despair on many of the girls’ faces and by the end of their time there, you could see that a heaviness had been lifted.

“I wasn’t sure how it would go because of the trauma they’d gone through and because we were having to communicate through a translator,” she shares. “But they opened up and in every group, they were just weeping. It was like Holy Ground. You could feel the Holy Spirit moving. And I was just reminded, you know. This is why I’m here. This is why I do this.”

 


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