International (MNN) — Do Something.com reports 75% of girls who have low self-esteem turn to negative behaviors like smoking, drinking, cutting, or eating disorders.
GEMS Girls’ Clubs (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior) knows girls need a safe place to learn and grow and discover who God created them to be.
GEMS is a worldwide ministry committed to helping girls 1st-8th grades learn about God, His Word, and His world.
“We want girls to discover who they are in Jesus Christ and to live faithful lives serving Him. We do that in North America and all over the world,” says Kristine Palosaari, executive director of GEMS Girls’ Clubs.
Using a curriculum based on the Bible, GEMS volunteer mentors build relationships with a group of 6-8 girls, helping them apply the Bible to their daily life and find answers to challenges they face every day.
“Our basis is outreach relationship and mentorship. And how we achieve that is by equipping our women [volunteers] and spiritually training them to be able to present that through our curriculum.”
Through the clubs, mentors and girls are able to spiritually grow together and know they have friends they can trust and lean on in the most difficult of times.
They can also build friendships and make connections from outside their individual groups. Every year, GEMS holds a large conference, and every other year they have a camp, where groups can get to know each other and build relationships. It reinforces that the girls are not alone but instead are surrounded by others who are on the same journey.
“We have a real focus on a sense of belonging. We try to reach girls so that they have a mentor to help them walk the walk that Jesus wants them to. We believe that when girls discover who they’re created to be, they are going to go out into the world and be a part of His kingdom building.”
Since GEMS has an international reach, groups have sister clubs and can connect internationally. That could mean clubs in North America writing to clubs in Kenya, Nepal, Zambia, and more.
“That is a wonderful way for girls to think outside of themselves and reach those clubs that are starting overseas and they can understand another culture. They can appreciate that they both love Jesus and they can send correspondence back and forth,” Palosaari says.
There are plenty of ways for you to get involved. Learn more about GEMS here.