WHO WE ARE
- the RGP is a far-reaching project of the Daughters of Bulgaria for women and their children who have been sexually exploited and/or trafficked
- we love, care, and challenge holistically each woman who hopes for a new life/new way of living
- we offer hope and a future free from sexual exploitation
- we take referrals from our own communities and other countries
- we are a Residence Program with beds for 4 women and their children in a small yet warm and welcoming flat where they live in community with a full-time “Live-in Servant” (house director)
- we are a Day Program housed in the RGP Learning Center, and foundational to all we do is our specially designed/informed and modular based curriculum integrating everything each participant needs to rebuild her broken life
- our Three-Phased program is structured with increasing levels of healthy independence from 20 days up to seven years
- we are people eager and committed to help and serve each other and the women and children in our program
FRONT LINE HOUSING
A young woman starts with us by exiting sexual exploitation and moving into the RGP home/flat, and in this supportive context she develops basic living skills. This unique “home” encourages independent living within a roommate environment. She has her own bedroom and can come and go freely while respecting the rules and curfews. The RGP volunteer house director* lives full-time in the home/flat providing supervision and direction. It is a designed to be a place of healing for those committed to recovery.
First Phase – Recovery (program began in 2015)
From day one, the participant joins the Learning Center Day Program and attends classes from 10 to 17:00 Monday through Friday. The specialized curriculum equips the participant to:
- Deal with her past issues of abuse
- Deal with any current addiction issues
- Learn to engage in healthy relationships
- Improve her quality of life
- Increase her level of self-esteem
- Learn to parent in a positive way, breaking the cycle of abuse in the lives of her children
- Increase her level of education
- Learn employability skills
Each day is divided into two segments:
Morning classes focus on job preparedness and include classes, such as computers, sewing, employment readiness, financial management, and academics. Program participants are financially compensated for this portion of their programming to assist with their financial needs.
Afternoon classes are focused on personal recovery and healing through classes such as Relapse Prevention, the 12 Steps for Addiction Recovery, Anger Management, Self-Esteem, Parenting, etc. This is accomplished through short, interactive classes, and recreational and educational outings. While participating in the Day Program, participants can place their young children in the onsite parent support center at no cost to them.
Second Phase – Reconnect (program will launch in the near future)
This level of programming is provided to participants who have excelled in Phase I recovery programming and who have a clearly defined plan to work or to return to school. The goal is for participants to be equipped to begin a new career and to transition away from financial assistance. The Employability Skills Development Program offers three levels of “salaried” programming:
- Level 1: 2 months of mentored job shadowing, 6 hours/day, 4 days/week
- Level 2: 3 months (renewable up to 8 months) Job Training and Employment Readiness Training class, 6 hours/day, 5 days/week
- Level 3: 2 months Integration Program focused on preparation for outside employment
In this Second Phase, participants move from the front-line home/flat into the Second Phase Housing or into independent living.
Second Phase Housing
The objective of this next level of housing is to increase each participant’s responsibility and freedom within a monitored environment while they are applying for the different levels of the Employability Skills Development Program. A housing-support worker lives on-site in order to ensure the overall safety and security of the home/flat and to offer problem-solving assistance as needed. In this Phase, participants no longer require a curfew nor approved overnights away as they are now capable of self-regulation. Their responsibility increases in that they organize and facilitate their own “house meetings” for problem solving, chore rotation, and for taking turns managing the monthly housing budget (home-flat supplies). This Phase of housing is useful for participants who have not reached all of the markers for success for independent living and for those participants who require ongoing support.
The objective of this structured Second Phase housing is for participants to move into a flat in the community once they have reached all of the markers to ensure a successful transition to independent living. Participants must apply and be accepted into the Employability Skills Development Program in order to receive financial and accountability support from the RGP. Markers indicating a participant is ready for independent living include:
- Demonstration of solid conflict management skills
- A minimum of 6 consecutive months of sobriety from drugs / alcohol
- Disengagement from identified unhealthy relationships (ex-boyfriends, old street friends, etc.)
- Consistent ability to budget and save 10% of the funds
- An openness to new ideas and a willingness to receive and follow direction
- Have begun to build a new community – a new group of friends (through AA, church groups, children’s play groups, etc.)
EXTENDED DAY PROGRAM
The Extended Day Program is for young women who have exited sexual exploitation, who have reached a low level of independent living, possibly supported by other agencies/ministries, but who have never had the opportunity to participate in recovery and healing processes. They are unable to fully participate in the First Phase Program, for different reasons such as they are holding a job, are enrolled in school, are living too far from Sofia and are unable/unwilling to enter the First Phase Housing, etc.). Participation in the modular courses is offered at the Learning Center or via Skype if necessary.
Friday Fun Days
A much looked-forward-to afternoon of the week is Friday. Organized and planned “fun” events afford relaxed fun “girl-time” relationships and community building and peer support. These events range from bowling to day trips, movies, clay creations, hiking, to picnics in the park. This is open to participants in both the Day Program and the Extended Day Program, and as a way for young women to “check out” the Program before committing to enrollment.