Building Potential

24 Jun

“The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.” ~Brian Tracy

Saturday June 22 in the Forest we had a group of seventeen girls, ages seven to fifteen, come out from Zion Project to play in the forest. First of all a little bit about the Zion Project; it is a holistic rescue home housing seventeen young girls who have been used in child prostitution, abandoned and abused. Zion Project is breaking the devastating cycle of the global sex industry and giving young girls a chance to dream and be successful. Zion Project provides these girls with education and tutoring, spiritual development, loving relationships, counseling, art and music therapy, leadership skills, nutritional meals, purity talks, mentoring, and medical care.

They came to the Forest with smiles and a ton of energy! We began our day with warm ups and energizers to get familiar with one another. The Forest resonated all day with sounds of joy and laughter, sounds of freedom.

I looked at these girls, who knowingly have gone through tragic satiations that no child should endure, and I saw a potential that I have never seen before. A potential to change lives, to be the first, to fulfill their dreams, a potential to succeed when everything in their past tells them that they can’t.

Zion Project

A couple highlights from our day:

Building relationships: We did many activities that challenged the group to work together and one of them was the Spiders Web. This is a web made between trees that the group has to get through without touching the strings of the web. They also cannot pass through the same hole as another person. This activity involved communication, teamwork, and planning. It took a few times to get through, but they accomplished it learning to make a plan, learning to communicate, and learning to work as a team to accomplish the goal. They were then given the challenge to do it without talking and they were successful not only in completing the challenge, but also in learning to communicate in new ways. This activity involved everyone, involved trusting your team and your friends to sometimes lift you up and through the web, it involved getting close to one another, and through that relationships were strengthened.

Zion Project

Overcoming Fears: In the afternoon we took the girl on the zip line. All morning they had been asking when they were going to do it and they were excited that the time had finally come. The first girl climbed to the platform and after being walked through on how to leave the platform we counted to three together in anticipation that she would go and instead of walking forwards she took a step back. She turned to the facilitator and said, “Can you push me.” She wanted to do it she was just scared to do it alone. This was a common occurrence with the girls, but each one wanted more than anything to do it, so they asked for help. One girl climbed so quickly to the top and then froze in fear. She kept asking if others could go before her saying that she was fearing. She asked many times if she’d fall, if she had to go, she wanted nothing to do with the zip line after reaching the platform. She stood on the platform for a good amount of time. The facilitator kept assuring her that she was safe, that her harness would not allow her to fall, the facilitator kept having her take deep breaths, having her take small steps forwards, and telling her to trust that she was safe. The facilitator encouraged her and told her that the hardest part was climbing up the tree and telling her the rest was the fun part. The girl then asked to be pushed and as the facilitator went to push her she put her feet out in front of her and stopped saying she couldn’t do it. Again the facilitator walked her through reminding her she was safe and that she wouldn’t fall, telling her she was brave to have made it as far as she had. The girl stepped to the edge and the facilitator counted to three and pushed her off. She did it, she overcame her fear, she trusted, believed, and took the step off the platform. Even one of their staff got part way up the tree and said she couldn’t do it, the facilitator on the platform yelled down telling her she could and she made it to the platform. She fears height and the first thing she said on the platform was, “I can’t do this.” She was reassured that she could. It took a moments and some encouragement, but she too took a step to the edge and on the count of three she left the platform with her eyes clenched shut and in fear, but upon reaching the other end she had just overcome something she promised me she couldn’t do.

Zion Project

Believing in one-self: The last thing we did was take the girls on the climbing wall. Many of them would make it part way up and look down in fear saying that they wanted to come down, that they couldn’t do it. They were asked if they were sure they wanted to come down and encouraged to make it just a step further. After they had all gone through once they were asked if they wanted to go again. Most of them came back for a second attempt, even those who had feared the first time. Again they were encouraged to just make it one step further than the last time. Many of them got up and again in fear looked down saying they couldn’t do it. They were encouraged to reach up and go one step further. They all made it one step further than they thought, if not making it all the way to the top. They believed in themselves and gained confidence that they could do it and they did do it!

Zion Project

Ella Fitzgerald once said, “It isn’t where you came from; it’s where you’re going that counts.” These girls have come from a past that tells them they are not worth anything, that they are not loved, that they are dirty, unable, whatever it may be, and the Zion Project and The Recreation Project are working to break those lies and empower these girls and others that they have worth, that they have potential, and that their dreams can come true!

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