“God guides me in and out of stuff. I may not understand why things happen, but if I pay attention, He’s always there for me.”
2012 Woman of Faith lives the dream she helps girls achieve
Danae Davis purposely surrounds herself with little tools to keep faith front and center in her life. Among those tools are books of daily devotions she keeps on her toiletry table so they’re the first thing she sees every morning. “I do intentional things to prepare myself to be open to God,” says Danae. “I reinforce my faith every single day. I work on things—like right now it’s forgiveness—and only God and I know when it’s time to move on to something new.”
God was right by her side in 2006 when Danae moved on from the corporate world to become CEO at nonprofit PEARLS for Teen Girls, Inc. Since then, Danae has set a course to reach 10,000 at-risk girls with the positive-thinking, goal-oriented leadership program that strives to instill Personal responsibility, Empathy, Awareness, Respect, Leadership and Support.
PEARLS serves primarily African American, 10- to 19-year-old girls who are at high risk for teen pregnancy and inadequate education. The highly structured program offers weekly meetings designed to help girls discover their own power to make life-changing choices.
Based on the belief that education is the foundation for a self-sufficient life, PEARLS helps girls develop skills and set goals to succeed in middle- and high-school and attain college admission and graduation. A five-point Leadership Compass fosters community service and guides the teens in their journey of self-development. Along the way, PEARLS provides a safe space where girls can have a voice and interact with adults who believe in them.
In 2011, 100 percent of high school seniors engaged in PEARLS graduated and were accepted into college. In the same year, 99.6% of all 850 PEARLS girls avoided pregnancy. PEARLS works because it includes teen girls in developing program activities and holds them accountable to show evidence that they achieve their personal goals.
In nominating Danae for the Salvatorian Sisters’ 2012 Woman of Faith Award, a PEARLS colleague wrote: Danae’s strong faith has led her to a place of lifting others up — often those unable to lift themselves up on their own. She is one who stays strong because of her faith in God… and she shares that strength with all those she touches.
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