Imagine Me Ministries
Pascha Peay, who grew up in inner-city Baltimore as the child of a single mother in a loving extended family, recalls: “I loved my early years. They were full of love and excitement and unity and camaraderie. I didn’t know that I grew up in a low-income area until I got to college and realized my norm wasn’t everyone else’s.”
While completing her master’s degree at Johns Hopkins in 2003 (and hoping to earn a huge income, she admits with a chuckle), the thought kept nagging her that not every girl growing up in her neighborhood was so fortunate. She credits Jesus Christ with guiding her to establish Imagine Me in 2007 at her alma mater, Calverton Middle School, in a high-crime area in Baltimore. She was prompted to do so by her previous experience in a corporate mentoring program with Latoya, a middle school child whose parents were both deceased. Against the odds, Latoya just graduated from college. “I have learned more from her than she has from me,” Pascha says. “Her strength just pushes her through.”
Since 2007, Pascha has held after-school sessions with groups of girls twice weekly. She also organizes outings, such as visits to women in prison, who urge the girls to make good choices. Having lost her job during the recession, Pascha nonetheless continues to help fund the program herself while attending seminary. Today, Imagine Me provides group, peer, and individual mentoring. It has matched more than 50 caring women to girls (many of whom are in foster care) for long-term, one-on-one mentoring that encourages them to embrace a life of promise.
Pascha’s wisdom shows in her request that the term “at-risk” not be used to label her girls. “We’re all at risk,” she says.