we seek to minister to youth in the Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church we must keep before us the pressing need to provide mentoring to
both African American Males and African American Females. Our local
churches can be sanctuaries and sacred spaces where adolescents can
learn personal, cultural, social and spiritual values.
American females have uniqueness about them and need female role models
and mentors with whom they can identify and relate to culturally,
socially and spiritually.
In her book, Trouble Don’t Last Always:
Emancipatory Hope Among African American Adolescents, Evelyn Parker
offers the concept of emancipatory hope as a vital paradigm for an
African American adolescent spirituality and as a theological framework
for congregations concerned about fostering Christian hope in African
American teenagers. She offers emancipatory hope as a theological
framework for congregations that are intentional about fostering hope in
African American teenagers through ministry with them.
Parker further states that “God requires of congregations, to incarnate
God’s prophetic word of a good future with hope. As such, congregations
partner with God as they foster hope in all members of the community,
especially those who bear the future of the community: children and
The Department is in the process of developing a curriculum
and handbook for a Mentoring Ministry to Adolescent Girls in the
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. We solicit your input and prayers
as we journey forward in developing this crucial and relevant ministry
for local churches.
Resources for Mentoring to African American Adolescent Girls:
Evelyn Parker is the Assistant Professor of Christian Education at
Perkins School of Theology. Her research interests include religious
identity and spiritual formation in African American adolescents,
adolescents in sociopolitical movements and their understanding of
vocation, adolescent resiliency and vocation.
Both of Dr. Parker’s books are currently available through the Department of Christian Education.
Girls of Color
the last few decades, the collective efforts of women psychologists and
the feminist movement have established and legitimized the
psychological study of women and girls, and have created an intellectual
climate in which it is now commonplace to conceptualize gender as a
social construction of enormous influence in individual psychology and
Within these movements, however, there
has been a marginalization of women of color. One third of the 18.5
million girls between the ages of 10 and 18 living in the United States
are Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Eskimo, or
Aleut. They remain virtually invisible in the psychological literature
on adolescent girl development.
In examining recent research
studies, the lack of data and information about the psychological
development and lives in general of adolescent girls of color is of
great concern. Major studies on adolescent development are flawed by the
presence and absence of certain groups of girls of color, a lack of
reliable data on the economic status of the households of some groups of
adolescent girls of color, a failure to address the roles of race and
gender, and a lack of information regarding the racial-ethnic identity
of research participants.
Just as the notion that males and
females differ in their development toward self-definition has become
accepted, professionals and others who work with adolescent girls must
move toward the fuller recognition of the contribution of race,
ethnicity, culture, class, and sexual orientation to development in
general and to the understanding of adolescents in particular.
Research Agenda: Adolescent Girls of Color
What components of racial-ethnic culture are critical for the
development of positive identities in girls of color? Do the components
vary across racial-ethnic groups?
• What is the impact of
economic status on the development of adolescent girls of color in terms
of education, motivation, and behavior? Is the impact the same or
different across racial-ethnic groups?
• Do race-ethnicity and
social class have the same impact for adolescent girls and adolescent
boys of color? Do the differences, if any, suggest different
• What factors explain the drop in
self-esteem in Black and Hispanic adolescent girls? What is the role of
context in the examination of self-esteem for these two groups of girls?
Do Asian American and American Indian girls experience changes in
self-esteem during adolescence? What factors may contribute to this
change, if any, within the subgroups of these two large "racial"
• What are the direct and indirect effects of the
oppressive and exploitative historical legacies on the identities,
attitudes, and aspirations of adolescent girls of color?
Excerpts from http://www.apa.org/pi/cyf/adolesgirls.html