Thursday was special day in the juvenile girls jail. Not only was it visitation day for families, but it was also the graduation for 35 girls who had completed their most recent grade in their education. There were 4 classes grades 6-10. I loved how the teachers of each class had also special category rewards. For example, one of the awards was for the highest marks in class for each subject.

What a joy as I (we) watched each girl walking up to receive their diploma. I loved their smiles as they received their rolled-up diploma, tied-up in a red bow. My eyes followed each girl as they went back to their tables, smiling and so proud of their accomplishments. They were beautiful! It was wonderful to see their very proud parents as they shared hugs and the happiness of their daughter’s grades and achievements.

What really touched my heart was what one of the guest speakers, a lawyer, said. He quoted Philippians 3:13-14 and encouraged the girls to keep moving towards the goal. To finish the race for their education and draw closer to God, saying, “The education you receive here will help you in the future. So, press on and your dreams will happen.” The girls hear that regularly from each of us at Manos Extendidas who serve them

What a true and encouraging word for these girls! Education can give us knowledge of the world around us, but it can do so much more. It certainly is a vital tool to help each of us change and develop, and to be better prepared to face the world around us. And for these vulnerable girls, it can be their door out of poverty and crime. We remain fully committed to helping these girls reach their educational goals and potential.