The characteristics PEARLS develops:
Preparation Esteem Achievement Resiliency Learning Strength and Stamina
In 2015, after many years envisioning such a program, Judge Renée Yanta, the Bexar County Civil District and Children's Courts, and Girls Inc. of San Antonio launched a PEARLS—also called Girls Court. The vision of PEARLS is to invest in teen girls who have been placed in Foster Care, helping them value their whole selves and their inherent strengths. Our goal is to enable these special Girls to become accomplished women, role models, and leaders, creating positive change by providing girls with opportunities to develop their potential to lead healthy, educated, and successful lives.
PEARLS meets two times per month during the program year, which generally runs from August until May. Our services address factors often affecting teen girls in Foster Care: trauma, life skills training, alternative education and vocational training, mental health treatment, resiliency and self-esteem building, mentoring and strengthening families, and domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and substance abuse prevention.
It is essentially that PEARLS not be simply a court-based program. To reach these girls and make a difference, we feel it is important to break down barriers - both physical and mental - in the girls' lives. We do that by engaging in Quarterly Days of Opportunity and Quarterly Days of Service. On Days of Opportunity, PEARLS hosts off-site events, focusing on introducing our Girls to new experiences and opportunities. On Days of Service, each Girl is required to invest in her community, to expand and inspire her to greater service. PEARLS coordinates the Days of Service.
We celebrate the end of the PEARLS Program year with a festive graduation event, honoring each of the Girl's accomplishments. We welcome and encourage our graduates to become peer mentors for the next PEARLS Class.
We are so proud of the work we are doing, but we know there are so many more teen girls who can be helped by the program. If you would like more information, please contact Judge Renée Yanta, Barbara Schafer, or Lea Rosenauer.