‘Becoming Precious’ seeks to help Pickens County girls’ self-esteem

EASLEY — Proverbs 3:15, in the New American Standard translation of The Bible, says “She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.”
This is the message Alicia Ivey, with the support of The Potters House director Dave Shorter, is trying to bring to tween and teen girls throughout Pickens County.
On March 23-24, Pendleton Street Baptist Church in Easley hosted the first “Becoming Precious” retreat for 40 girls ranging from 6th to 12th grades.
Based on an eight-week devotional book entitled “Precious Vessels,” written by Ivey, a Christian life coach with The Potters House in Easley, both the weekend retreat and the program at The Potters House were designed to address a host of issues that plague young girls during their most vulnerable developmental years.
“So many of our teenage girls are struggling,” said Ivey. “Becoming Precious is about helping to strengthen spiritually and build up these girls’ self esteem so that they can be comfortable with who they are and know that they are precious to God.”
During the “Becoming Precious” retreat, Ivey and other volunteer leaders focus on Biblical scripture to impart messages about precious feelings, precious treatment and precious behavior.
“Many teen girls do not see themselves as precious. They have insecurities or have made choices that they can’t forgive,” explained Ivey. “We want them to know that they are precious, and this means not allowing others — like boys or bullies — to treat them carelessly.”
In her work with The Potters House, a Christian-based counseling center in Easley that provides individual and family counseling for those who might not be able to afford those services through private organizations, Ivey says that she has come in contact with many young and teen girls who have been the victims of sexual abuse.
As a result of being sexually abused, the young girls she counsels often feel like they are somehow to blame for the abuse or that they have become tarnished or unlovable as a result. One in every four girls has been the victim of sexual abuse. That is about 1/3 of the clients at The Potters House.
“They feel like they are no longer precious,” said Ivey. And this is the myth she wants to dispel.
Instead, the message Ivey wants to send to teenage girls, through the Precious Vessels ministry, is that God’s love for them is unconditional — regardless of what has happened to them in their young lives or what choices they have made. God believes they are precious no matter what.
While the Becoming Precious retreat at Pendleton Street Baptist was the first of its kind, Ivey hopes that more churches will take an interest in this ministry for the young girls in their congregation. With the support and encouragement of The Potters House, Ivey is ready to take the Becoming Precious Retreat on the road to any church that is interested.
“Precious Vessels is designed to minster to young girls. It is a girl-focused program in our community,” said Ivey. “Teenage girls need a place where they can belong, and we want to help bridge the gap between where they are and where they should be.”
Ivey wants each and every teenage girl in Pickens County to know that she is a precious vessel because God created her as such.
On the last day of the Becoming Precious retreat on March 24, each girl who attended the event was given a freshly minted penny that had never been circulated. The gift was designed as a gesture to remind these young ladies that, in spite of what has occurred in their lives up to this point, with the love and forgiveness of God, they can be transformed into that freshly minted penny that has never been out of its packaging.
“She is more precious than jewels.” Ivey wants young girls to know and believe this about themselves.
For more information about the Precious Vessels Ministry or the Becoming precious retreat, contact Ivey or Shorter at The Potters House in Easley at (864) 850-1777.