In His Image Ministry, a Christ-centered program that teaches young women leadership skills while immersing them into their community, is now in its sixth year.
“This is a 're-group' year for the organization,” said co-founder Regina Brown of Jacksonville. “Some of the passion and zeal that was originally seen in the program is being brought back to the participants and leaders.”
IHIM is a non-profit mentoring program for adolescent girls, ages 12 to 17, “with a vision to see young ladies in excel in every area of their lives by the mission statement teaching the young ladies who they are in Christ and developing leadership skills by participating in community service,” Brown said.
Participants meet monthly, addressing different adolescent topics such as identity, jealousy, bullying and dating, among others, she said.
These discussion topics are led by the mentors and volunteer advisory board members, allowing “an opportunity for the young ladies to discuss the difficult topics in a safe environment and not be judged,” she said.
Participants have volunteered regularly at Angelina House Assisted Living in Jacksonville, in addition to other local senior care facilities, aw well as assisting the Jacksonville Chamber with annual special events.
“Each young lady is like a daughter to me, although I attempt to build relationships with their mothers while serving as a support to the young ladies as they develop into young women,” said Brown, admitting “I refer to the girls as 'my babies!'
“They all know and respond to it,” she said.
As the relationships deepen, Brown said she also support the young women in their school activities, encouraging them to excel in school, “and not be left behind in any academic or extracurricular area.
“I try to attend their school events such as choir/band concerts, volleyball/basketball games and watch them perform on the football field,” she said.
In 2018, an organized, active volunteer advisory board has bolstered those efforts.
“The women on the advisory board understand both the mission of the organization and the needs of the young ladies involved, and their support is very much appreciated. They support the program with their guidance, time and monetary support,” Brown said.
Current advisory board members include Aletha (Lisa) Thacker, secretary; and Loretta Doty, vice president. Brown is president of the advisory board.
Thacker is a nurse administrator, serving for 30 years in the Lufkin-Nacogdoches and Jacksonville areas. Currently, she is employed as a branch manager for Kamcare Home Health of Lufkin. She and her husband, Rodney Thacker, reside in Alto and are the parents of four daughters. Thacker also is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Chi Eta Phi nursing sorority.
Doty is a human resource manager, currently employed with Stephen F. Austin State University as the Director of Human Resources. She is married to Charlvin Doty, and together the couple. The couple co-pastor Kingdom Christian Center Church in Jacksonville. In addition to excelling in her career, Loretta is devoted to her children and grandchildren.
“Mirna Cummings served as the treasurer of the advisory board last ministry year, but had to resign due to increased personal obligations,” Brown said, thanking Cummings for her involvement. “The IHIM team appreciates Mirna for the year that she devoted to the program.”