My name is Merridith Thomas and I am a missionary here at Wellspring Living. I have had the privilege of working with the girls at the Wellspring Victory Program once a week where I teach them life skills. I also work on various other projects for the ministry.
One of the things I love most about working at Wellspring Living is traveling to different universities, advocating against the issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and educating students on what role Wellspring Living plays. Recently, I had the privilege to speak to a group of twenty 9th and 10th grade girls from The Lovett School. I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve never spoken to high school students about the issue and wasn’t sure how they would react.
When I arrived, I was greeted by bunch of young girls chowing down on food! I completely understood, because when I was their age I no longer ate kid’s meals, but was a Big Mac kind of girl.
However, that wasn’t the only thing that grabbed my attention. These girls were the same age as the girls in the Wellspring Victory Program that I have grown to love over the past couple of months.
This Monday was different from every other Monday. Usually on Mondays around the same time I was speaking at Lovett, I would be sitting around a table full of girls at the Wellspring home. I would be teaching them life skills, helping them with homework, or doing fun crafts. For instance, last Monday I worked with two of the girls on their resumes (which look incredible by the way) and it was a great opportunity to learn what skills they had.
As I spoke that day, it felt like my heart was coming up in my throat. I found myself talking to what looked like the same girls I worked with every day at the Victory Program for Girls. They were the same age; had the same hairstyles and the same yearning to be loved. There really was no difference between the girls at the Wellspring home and the girls at Lovett, except for the fact that one group knew trafficking very well and the other was hearing about it for the first time that day.
The Lovett girls were moved to action on Monday, and have started a Jean Drive to collect jeans for our homes and stores! They are now grabbing their newly worn jeans and donating them to our girls, women and the Wellspring Treasures Stores. I was so encouraged to see high school girls taking a stand and coming together to help girls their own age, but in much harder circumstances. They took what they already had (jeans) and repurposed them for a greater cause. So easy, but so powerful!