The International Princess Club
Showing at-risk girls their potential and value as daughters of the King.
Carolina sat down. There was garbage all around her. It was hot. She took a moment to look up from the trash all around her to watch her brother and his friends playing soccer -- kicking the ball to each other, cheering, and enjoying a time for play in the midst of their life at the garbage dump. Carolina wished there was an activity she could join; something to help provide a bit of escape from her life of extreme poverty where floods, broken families, and gang-run neighborhoods were a daily reality. Several days later, Carolina heard about a group that was being started just for girls – The International Princess Club (IPC) – and she immediately signed up to participate.
The IPC is an organization that works in partnership with other organizations to provide sustainable change in communities. They seek to establish change by training and equipping local women to lead “Princess Clubs” with girls in their neighborhood. Other services offered by The IPC are consultation in creating local programs and curriculum adaptation if a version isn’t yet available for the local culture. All lessons are framed around the idea of being a princess – but not the stereotypical Disney version of a princess who is pampered and catered to. Instead, The IPC focuses on God’s version of a princess, where being a daughter of the King creates the foundation for identity and self-worth and leads to lasting behavior changes.
The IPC provides curriculum which guides groups through 13 weeks of lessons focused on helping participants understand their value and form a strong sense of identity and self-worth, messages that might be missing in their daily encounters with others. These lessons provide a preventative measure for the girls who participate, often at risk for sex trafficking or other exploitation. Not only do these lessons counteract negative messages, they provide participants with the opportunity to develop peer relationships and connect with a mentor, all of which make them less susceptible to those who may wish to exploit them.
During Princess Clubs, girls are given a learning task focused on a particular topic, such as where they find identity, self-worth, and what true love looks like. They wrestle with the answer to the question as they participate in a craft activity, discussion, look at various resources, play games, journal and wrestle with how the question impacts their lives and beliefs.
One week in Carolina’s Princess Club, the topic was self-image. The group was discussing Psalm 139:13: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” and as the conversation progressed, Carolina became increasingly quiet and reflective. She eventually leaned over and whispered to the group leader, “Does this mean I shouldn’t throw up after I eat?” The girl went on to make the connection: “If God made me, I shouldn’t try to change myself in order for people to like me.” Breakthroughs like these happen all the time during Princess Club.
Since The IPC’s approach is for women to lead Clubs in their local communities with girls who live nearby, leaders develop long-term mentoring relationships with participants which continue after the 13 week group concludes. Because of these mentoring relationships, girls are less likely to fall prey to things such as sex trafficking and abusive relationships - and sustainable community change begins.
The IPC curriculum is currently being used in prevention and aftercare efforts worldwide, including in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United Kingdom. The IPC has plans to begin the first group in the United States right here in Portland, Oregon. Through a partnership with Freeway418, The IPC hopes to start a Princess Club program in Rockwood, an area with one of the highest risks for trafficking in Oregon. The version of the curriculum created for this inner-city context would be a resource for other programs in the United States.
The IPC is growing exponentially and currently has several pending requests to begin working in cities across the U.S. and in other international locations. Because of this exciting growth, The IPC currently has needs in several key partnership areas. First, there is a need for prayer and intercessory partners.
Second, there is a need for financial partners, especially those who are willing to partner with and back the development of an International Princess Club in the Rockwood area. Finally, there are several volunteer positions that need to be filled.
The world is full of girls like Carolina – girls with potential to be agents of change in their homes, schools, and countries. The IPC believes that local communities are rich in resources that can help their girls know and live out their true identity and value. By working together, we can empower each other and make lasting change for the Kingdom!