1. Survival techniques: Too often children are afraid to report their own abuse, or someone else’s. But it’s important for children to have confidence in their own ability to survive and to know where to go for help when they need it. Through this program, we discuss the healing process and how to find the courage to tell someone when they are being abused. We also discuss how to prevent abuse and protect themselves.
2. Empowerment training: A child’s self-esteem is a critical element in their ability to not only avoid abuse but survive it when it happens. Through empowerment training, we help to build self-esteem through vision building (we create vision books around 5 areas–personal, professional, mental and physical healthmental and physical, finances and relationships).We bring in speakers and volunteers to drive home the protection aspect as it relates to abuse and abuse prevention.
3. Arts programs: Programs in dance, theater, writing, and art can help a child find new and creative ways to express their fears, anger and depression. By the end, children are encouraged to not only accept who they are but open up about their abuse as a path toward healing.
4. Summer Camp: We host a summer camp in Baltimore, providing a safe space for kids. We feed them, nurture and give them lots of love. During an 8-hour day, we provide activities such as dancing, singing, acting and writing. We also conduct at least 2 hours of career discussions and bring in guests to talk about the different types of careers, specifically in the entertainment industry. The last 2 hours of the day are dedicated to our survival and empowerment techniques.
5. Support systems: We help promote healthy parent-child relationships in an effort, to 1) encourage healthy communications; 2) reduce the rate of abuse and molestation of children; and 3) promote high self-esteem and self-worth of young boys and girls. We also work with volunteers from the church to help develop an emotional support system.
6. Partnerships: In addition, Precious Gems Executive Director calls on people she knows in the entertainment industry (local celebrities, Grammy-nominated producers, acting coaches, community theater directors, singing coaches, dance instructors, makeup artists, hair stylists, photographers, videographers who are survivors of abuse) to take part in this important program. These folks not only are fun for the children to listen and work with, but they provide an inspiration for future careers in the arts field.