Girls Educational and Mentoring Services Inc.
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services
GEMS or Girls Educational & Mentoring Services is based in the state of New York and serves women, aged twelve to twenty four, who were victims of domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation. It was established by Rachel Lloyd in 1998 to help women reach their full potentials in order to move out of the commercial sex industry. The center offers these young women viable opportunities and consistent, empathetic support in order to change for the better.
GEMS offers comprehensive and continuous services to focus on the needs of sexually and commercially exploited young girls. Each of these girls receives these services and support in order to treat the violence and trauma she has endured. The center offers a holistic and multifaceted approach to address the problem of sexual exploitation.
The Girls Educational & Mentoring Services Program
GEMS offers clinical support, trauma-based therapy, and holistic case management for survivors of sexual abuse and domestic trafficking as they go through their recovery and healing processes. With the GEMS program, each young woman is empowered so that she can shun self-destructive behaviors and make better decisions. Regular counseling in a caring and supportive environment ensures stability and health of each victim. Group and one-on-one counseling is also provided. Other services offered are family interventions, health care, counseling, mental health assessments, obtaining benefits or identification, educational needs assistance, and employment assistance.
GEMS provides an educational initiative program where each victim is taught to understand the relationship of employability and higher education with her ability to be self-sufficient and independent. Each victim is given assistance in completing semesters, registering for a vocational program, college, high school, or the GED. Each woman is also rewarded for every educational achievement she obtains while in the program.
Another program of GEMS is its youth development program which focuses on the emotional, social, and developmental needs of each victim. She is encouraged to become aware of her innate potential and inherent value so that she can have a strong sense of accountability, structure, and agency which is important in her development to become independent and self-sufficient.
Youth leadership is also offered and lasts for sixteen weeks. It is created in order to help the victims become leaders by using their personal experiences to connect with other victims. Each girl is empowered to develop concrete leadership skills and critical thinking in order to understand the social conditions and build skills on community organizing and public speaking.
GEMS also offers a transitional independent living program for those homeless and runaway youths who don’t have a home to stay in. The program accepts young women who are sixteen to twenty-one years old and have no means to reunite immediately with their families. These women are helped to build their independent living and self-sufficiency skills. The transitional program is offered to each victim for at most eighteen months.
Another program of GEMS is the Imani House which offers services to young women, aged eighteen to twenty-three, who are fleeing stalking, sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic violence. They are assisted in locating and securing permanent housing where they can integrate with the community.
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