Following graduation last year from Samford University, Lauren Sims ’12 was offered an eight-month internship with Nueva Esperanza-New Hope Girls Inc., an organization in the Dominican Republic that provides rescue, refuge, and restoration for vulnerable girls through educational programs and a safe house.
“I took on a marketing/operations role with New Hope Creations, the organization’s sewing workshop that employs vulnerable mothers and donates all proceeds to the organization, and I lived in the Luz y Esperanza safe house with young girls,” explained Lauren. “Whether they have been affected by the sex trafficking industry or are victims of abuse in various forms, the girls are welcomed into a place that allows them the chance to process and heal. By providing a girl a bed of her own, guaranteed meals, spiritual counsel,education, and the chance to be a child again, her life begins to change. As the women and girls I worked with each found hope in new ways, I was able to witness the most beautiful transformations. I was also able to witness the freedom that they found in Christ. Some of our most meaningful conversations stemmed from studying the Bible and singing worship songs each night,” she wrote.
Lauren adds that she fell in love with the culture and the people. “My eyes were opened, my heart was stolen, and my awareness of ways to make a positive difference in the lives of the vulnerable grew. Though my experience there was difficult to see come to a close, I will forever cherish the time I called that little island in the Caribbean home.”
Read Lauren’s blog here: www.laurenelsims.wordpress.com.