Who am I? Why am I doing this? What makes me want to do this? These are questions that I know many will have.
I am a wife and mother of two children, who was born and raised in Wisconsin. I have always felt a desire to help people. My first job as a married woman was as an insurance agent, my husband and I built our own landscape & maintenance company, and watergarden business over the last 15 years. We recently sold our accounts and transitioned to new directions.
At the beginning of our occupation transition all I knew is that I wanted to help hurting women. I looked into going back to school, opportunities for volunteering, and praying for direction and something more specific. I knew about human trafficking from a movie I had watched a few years earlier, but that seemed so huge and I had no idea what I could do about it. So, I started a part time job in customer service and became a volunteer victim advocate for a domestic abuse shelter. I knew it wasn’t where I was going to stay, but I wanted to learn what I could for what would be ahead of me. I would have never thought that I would start a non-profit or be in this position I am in.
I have never been in prostitution, but my heart has always been heavy for the brokenness of those living in that world. I am a child born into a abusive relationship, I did not know my biological dad until high school, and in 6th grade an older boy starting sexually assaulting me (which I have never told anyone other than my husband until recently). These three parts of my life greatly impacted my views and choices I made through middle school and high school. I understand vulnerability. I understand loneliness. I fought through my hurt and brokenness alone. I struggled and made many bad choices, which left me with a lot of regret. I eventually got past my hurts, and regrets and no longer feel held down by them. I became a Christian during this time and it was my relationship with Christ that allowed me to truly heal.
I am sure you can remember a time of great vulnerability, deep pain, and/or struggle because of others or your own doing. This is what I need you to remember when you think of the ones living in this ‘no life’ of prostitution and sex trafficking. It was because of vulnerability, hurt, and/or pain that got them into this. We need empathy to motivate us into action.
In a casual conversation with a friend, human trafficking was brought up. The thought of helping women be free from sex trafficking and prostitution would not leave me. In April 2013, my friend and I talked and researched to see what was needed and what was available. Quickly, we found it obvious, the need for long term care and housing. We decided that maybe we had to get the ball rolling and provide for this need in SE Wisconsin.
I knew I could build a website and connect on social media, and this is what I released in June 2013. After sending information to those I knew and asking for prayer, I began researching what was needed to form a non profit and began doing the work. I asked three women I trusted, all with different personalities and occupations, to join me in forming a board. The first board meeting was September 2013.
I knew we would need to connect with an organization that was already connecting people and resources to provide the best promising practices for helping those coming out the world of sex trafficking. So, in October 2013, we became members of the association (now known as Hope for Justice Professional Providers Network). I traveled to Baltimore for their 5th annual Sex Trafficking Shelter Conference, and was a sponge and made many good connections. I was offered a chance to stay and live with the women in the shelter in Baltimore, so I came back in March 2014 to do so.
I continue to strive to learn and grow through networking, researching, and experience. So that I may lead this organization well and help us fulfill our mission.
This is who I am: a woman whose heart is broken because of other broken women who have lost hope and are trapped in this evil part of our world. I desire for them to find hope and freedom through Christ as I did! I want to provide a place for that opportunity. I want to see them transform from a ‘no life’ to life, just as some dear friends of mine have. These fully redeemed and restored women infuse such joy, hope, and love in me because of who they have become.
Will you partner with me in providing this opportunity for more women?
You can partner with us by volunteering, donations, and networking. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect and discuss further.