The Pinecrest Challenge Girls Club is a service-based, apostolic ECYD after school club at Pinecrest Academy, a private preK-12 Catholic School in Cumming, Georgia. The group meets regularly in teams to grow in friendship with Christ and with each other, and to undertake apostolic projects to serve their community throughout the year. And this year, the club has spent time learning about, praying for, and serving on of downtown Atlanta’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.
This past fall, Angie Doxtader, a Pinecrest mom and Challenge Club leader, shared with the Challenge girls about a very important ministry located in the heart of the city of Atlanta, called Out of Darkness. Out of Darkness is a chapter of the anti-trafficking ministry of Frontline Ministry, a Christian-based non-profit organization headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. This much-needed ministry seeks to assist victims of sex trafficking by providing outreach, rescue, and emergency safe housing, and to help to transition men, women, and children out of homelessness.
After its founding in January of 2014, Out of Darkness began its initial ministry out of local truck stops: educating truck-drivers on how to recognize, prevent, and report sex trafficking across the United States. Shortly after this important ministry was launched, Out of Darkness established a second ministry called Princess Night, which seeks to break the cycle of sex trafficking by sharing the message of God’s love, hope and restoration with the women they encounter. Several Friday evenings a month, adult volunteers go out to neighborhoods rampant with street prostitution to build relationships with the women they meet and to ultimately offer these women an opportunity to escape the bondage of sex slavery and embrace physical and spiritual freedom. Since then, Out of Darkness has added further outreach initiatives, such as a jail ministry, hotline, and, importantly, a new Transitional House that offers a home environment, staff and volunteers, community, and the additional support necessary for the women to gain the skills and confidence needed to gradually move towards independent living.
In the fall, Angie, who volunteers for Out of Darkness, shared with the seventh and eighth grade Pinecrest Academy Challenge girls a short video about two of the women who have benefitted from the ministry, and how they discovered the love of God through others at the shelter. Immediately, the Challenge girls were interested in serving the women at the Transitional House, and decided to work together to make a meal to be delivered to the women in the home. After school one day, they shopped for all the supplies (with the help of their moms) to make a delicious lasagna meal, complete with salad and dessert. This meal was then dropped off at Angie’s home, who delivered it to the Transitional Home downtown. Since confidentiality is an essential part of the Out of Darkness ministry, the girls never visited the Transitional Home themselves, nor met the women staying there; they know only that it was delivered to the safe house in downtown Atlanta along with their messages of love and their prayers for them, and that the women who received it, women who had grown accustomed to being dehumanized, abused, and rejected, greatly appreciated this act of service, kindness, and love that was meant just for them.
“What impressed me about this little service project was that it was simple enough for the 12- and 13-year-olds to do; they learned to cook (which is a necessary skill), they worked together, and everyone had a part to play towards this common goal of serving those in need,” says Denise Madgey, president of the Pinecrest Academy Challenge Club. In addition to teamwork, service, and charity, the girls learned about the dangers of trafficking, and that the decisions that they make in life have real consequences. They were also able to pray for these women and accompany them spiritually.”
Although the service project was relatively simple, Denise knows that this small initiative will have lasting effects. In fact, the girls enjoyed this service project so much that the Challenge group decided to include it as part of their Holy Week Missions and prepared another meal which Angie graciously delivered. “Sometimes it’s the little everyday acts of charity that make the biggest difference.”
To find out more about the Challenge Girls Club or to find a club in your area, visit their website at challengeyouthministry.com.