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Ratanak: Growing in Maturity

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Youth brainstorm ideas during a growth group activity.

With your support, Ratanak* is learning to build healthy relationships through Mission Dove Cambodia’s Leadership Club and Men’s Group.

“I first came to Mission Dove when I was 12 years old. I heard about the Youth Learning Center from my cousin who said it was a good place to learn and not too expensive,” Ratanak said.

Now, three years later, Ratanak is not only attending the evening English classes, but this year he also chose to participate in two of Mission Dove’s five weekly growth groups. His English has improved from Level 2 to Level 5, and now he is growing in his emotional maturity too!

Through Mission Dove’s growth groups, you are providing unchurched urban youth with safe, supportive communities for them to process the pain in their lives and to learn tools for building healthy relationships.

“I’ve learned so much at Leadership Club,” Ratanak said. “I’m building deeper relationships with my peers and learning not to judge other people. I’m also more confident when I speak and when I make presentations at school.”

Leadership Club participants

Raeksmey is the Mission Dove staff member who leads the Leadership Club that Ratanak attends on Saturday evenings. She said, “Ratanak is someone who loves to joke around. When he first joined the group in February, he was kind of rude, but I’ve seen him grow in his relationships with the people around him. Now he makes the class fun for everyone.”

Ratanak says that his favorite lessons at Leadership Club this year have been about the five love languages, smart phone addictions, and family relationships. Because of what he learned in Leadership Club, he also has a closer relationship with his older sister and his mom.

“Before I never really talked with my mom or my sister, but now I share with them about what’s going on in my life,” Ratanak said.

Ratanak’s mom has noticed the changes in his life too.

In September, the Youth Learning Center staff invited the students’ parents to come learn more about Mission Dove’s programs and growth groups. Some of those parents—including Ratanak’s mom—were surprised to learn about everything that Mission Dove was offering.

“My son is so much more mature than before,” Ratanak’s mother said. “He doesn’t talk back like before, and he’s more obedient. I thought he was just growing up, but now I realize that he was learning these things at Leadership Club.”

“I love the Youth Learning Center!” Ratanak said. “It’s like my second family. I can come hang out, study, and learn lots of new things. I’m free to be myself. What I love the most is the relationships I have here.”

Thank you for providing safe spaces for young people like Ratanak to share their stories, learn life skills, and grow in their emotional maturity!

*name changed to respect privacy

Matching Funds: Support the Leadership Club on Giving Tuesday!

November 28 is Giving Tuesday, and Mission Dove is holding a special fundraiser on the Global Giving platform. We hope to raise $10,000 on that day to support our growth groups, and every dollar we raise is partially matched by Global Giving. The matching bonus varies based on how much is raised, but last year it was 37%!

Please consider joining us on Giving Tuesday to ensure youth like Ratanak have access to growth opportunities like these. You can donate here:

Only donations received on November 28 (Eastern Time) are eligible for the matching funds, but you can donate anytime.


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