We spent most of our spring break from language school volunteering at Renacer. A ministry of Christ for the City, Renacer is a residential rehabilitative program for teenage girls rescued off the street.
Our work, like most volunteer work, wasn’t glamorous: Jody was in the kitchen preparing food and washing dishes and Scott scraped and painted and helped the handyman with projects. In addition to the pleasure of serving, we got lots of Spanish practice.
Renacer is seventeen years old and has a good record as an effective rehabilitation ministry. The girls stay between twelve and fifteen months before returning to their families or independent living. We were impressed with the visible difference between the “new” girls and the “old” girls. The girls who will graduate in a few weeks exhibit confidence, poise, self-esteem, and affection for each other. They believe they are loved and lovable–an understandable result of over a year of affection and affirmation from the many dedicated staff members.
Our first day Scott helped Henri (the handyman) put bars on the windows of Rut (Ruth), the house for the newest girls. Henri explained: “The girls in Rut try to run away, the girls in Tamara (the house for the oldest girls) don’t want to leave.”
Besides structured days of chores and activities, the girls also have group and individual counseling. All is Christ-centered, with Biblical truths integrated in all aspects of the program.
Renacer is in the mountains southeast of San Jose on a beautiful wooded property. Our daily 30 minute shuttle took us through crowded, narrow, and steep streets with pedestrians, dogs, motorcycles, cars, buses, and trucks. We were very glad to not be driving!
Here are some photos of property and staff; click on a photo to begin a short slide show: