Before the global pandemic hit the United States, and then the world, Back2Back staff in the D.R. were leading partnering organizations’ staff in Nurture Groups – a safe space for vulnerable populations to learn how to regulate their emotions/feelings and the power of their voices.
Hope and Cheque Garcia, Back2Back staff and D.R. Co-Directors, left for Monterrey to welcome their second child. Months later, the world shut down, requiring all communication to be virtual. “It was a tricky time, because we wanted to keep the momentum going and offer our support, but we were separated and weren’t sure when our family would get back to the D.R.,” explained Hope.
Eventually the Garcias returned to the D.R., and slowly but surely, things are going back to how they were before. At the beginning of February, Nurture Groups started again at partnering organizations. Staff rotate and lead the groups, running about 12 each week, which provides holistic care to approximately 55 students, spanning from five to 12-years old.
House of Hope, a local community center that also houses a school, is currently doing Nurture Groups weekly, helping students prepare and reacclimate to a daily schedule, as they process all that’s happened and changed in the last two years. Once students are emotionally and socially ready, school will resume.
The response from the children has been overwhelmingly positive. They’re excited to be together again and back into more regular routines. Hope leads a pre-teen girl’s group every Friday and was delighted to see how quickly the girls opened up.
“The first two weeks were slower, but by week three, the girls were sharing about their real life struggles as they were happening,” shared Hope. “They’re sharing about teachers at school, about their relationships with their parents, and it’s encouraging because, even if it’s off topic, they are bringing their real world issues and trusting us with them.”
Even if staff can’t fix the problem, the Nurture Groups offer skills to the children and teens to handle situations that might not be able to change. This growing understanding, and the comfortability the students feel sharing, is a true testament to the power of safe spaces and shared dialogue on what we’re feeling inside.
Please join Back2Back in prayer that Nurture Groups would continue to grow connections and provide safe spaces for children to use their voices and ask questions.