Santa Julia Girls Seek Young, Successful, Female Mexican Role Models
By Jo Sanders
Casa Hogar Santa Julia takes in girls whose ‘precarious’ family backgrounds can make living in a group home attractive by comparison.
For example, the only place for one girl to sleep in her home was on the floor under a table. The mother of another girl poured alcohol on her face and chest and then set her afire. Another was raped by her stepfather. Still another came to Santa Julia with scars where cigarettes had been burned into her backside. A girl with developmental disabilities was abandoned on the steps of a seminary. Most of the Santa Julia girls come from homes marked by severe ignorance, poverty and abuse.
In addition, many of the girls were seriously under-educated by the time they arrived at Santa Julia, some not having attended school at all. Although all Santa Julia girls go to school, many are not able to make up this early educational deficit by themselves. Santa Julia provides food, clothing, shelter, education, psychological counseling, and friendship, but it’s still not what the girls consider a normal home.
When they reach 18, they don’t have to leave Santa Julia, but they tend not to want to live in a “children’s” home anymore, so most attempt to reintegrate into their original homes to take care of a parent or a relative and finally become part of a traditional family again. But, there is often no source of support for them in their families of origin, as the same dysfunctions that brought the girls to Santa Julia years earlier still exist.
This would be a challenge for a young person reared in a stable home; for these girls, it is usually a disaster. Having left Santa Julia at age 18, it is not possible for them to return. Their adult lives start out badly.
It is impossible to become something you can’t even imagine. What the Santa Julia girls need is positive examples of girls who transformed difficult early lives into successes. They need role models.
Do you know a Mexican girl or woman between the ages of 16 and 25 who has overcome extraordinary challenges to become successful in school and/or life? The success can be as simple as getting a part-time job to be able to continue her education, or learning English, or as ambitious as a achieving white-collar career. Thanks to an anonymous donation for life skills training, Santa Julia offers stipends for transportation and a small honorarium to young women willing to share their successes with the girls for no more than a few hours of their time.
Your assistance can change the lives of the Santa Julia girls. Please ask your prospective role models to call Barbara Rueda, Santa Julia’s Mexican Director, at 152-3709 from noon – 6pm. Monday through Friday. For additional information, see HYPERLINK “http://www.santajulia.org”www.santajulia.org.
The difference this makes can help the Santa Julia girls survive into adulthood to make a better world for us all. Thank you!