GS HEART Celebrates First Family Day
More than 100 girls, their families, Good Shepherd partners and friends gathered on Sunday, December 18, 2016 at the newly-renovated building in Private Road Cebu City during the first Family Day of GS-HEART (Good Shepherd-Holistic and Empowering Aftercare towards Reintegration and Transformation), a pioneering Aftercare Program for survivors of prostitution and trafficking of the Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippine Province.
Few weeks before the gathering, the shelter-care and community-based beneficiaries of the GS-HEART with Sr. Virgo Espineda, their new Program Coordinator, organized a carolling to selected friends and benefactors of the Good Shepherd Sisters for the purpose of having the Family Day. It was indeed a meaningful experience of Christmas. Each girl and guest left the gathering echoing the words of their gratitude song “Kaya ngayong pasko, ang blessing ko’y kayo…”
The GS-HEART program was initiated and formally organized last year, in November 2015 through the collaborative efforts of the sisters and the Good Shepherd partners. The program was formerly part of the services of the Good Shepherd Welcome House. However, seeing the pressing need of the girls for transition to mainstream after years of staying at the Good Shepherd Recovery Center and a great number experiencing “revictimization” in the community, a comprehensive Aftercare program was realized. The JPIC Program of the SVD in Cebu through the endorsement of Fr. Heinz provided the funds for the building renovation. Shelter Foundation, a Swiss-based funding agency, which assisted a project for Good Shepherd Welcome House-Cebu approved a grant for the first year of operation for the Aftercare program.
The Villa Maria Community is in the process of consolidating the different programs and services for women under one agency – the Villa Maria Good Shepherd Sisters, Inc with Sr. Edna Fuentes as the Ministry Coordinator. Sr. Felicidad Maningo coordinates the programs for abuse prevention: the St. Mary Euphrasia Training Center for the elementary students and the Maria Droste Training Center for those in the secondary and tertiary education. Ms. Ariane Nadela, RSW is the OIC of the drop-in Center, the Good Shepherd Welcome House, which has now transferred to Sanciangko St, Cebu City while Ms. Florelie Cuyos, RSW is the Program Coordinator of the Good Shepherd Home formerly the Good Shepherd Recovery Center.