If you’ve ever gone for a jog and used a running app, then you know how much fun it is to hobble back (if you’re like me…) from your little journey and look at the map and see all of the places you went. If you’re like me, then you set out on your jog with an idea of where’ll go, but not an exact direction. So you start jogging and turn down one street, then go down another, and then another. The one location I’m sure of when I head out for a jog is the place where I start.
Often times, that’s the way it is when you decide to take action - you don’t know all the places it will take you and the reach that your actions will have.
That’s the what happened with one of our events this past summer and we’re still retracing the impact.
At the beginning of July, the second annual Sweat Against Slavery was hosted at CrossFit Spanish Fort. It was an awareness and fundraising event. We always say that awareness alone changes nothing, but nothing can change without awareness. And that was the case with this event. There were about 35 people in attendance, many of whom were really introduced to the issue of sex trafficking for the first time. This event educated these people on the reality of sex trafficking and empowered them to make a tangible impact.
Since that event, we’ve seen several significant things take place.
PREVENTION FOR AT-RISK TEENS
The event raised the funds to sponsor The Heart Tour in Foley, AL and this is the first major impact that came from the event. The Heart Tour in Foley was an unbelievable success! There were 20 at-risk girls in attendance. The girls learned about trafficking, were instilled with a greater sense of value, and empowered to explore and live up to their potential to have an impact in the world. We were able to provide them with some amazing meals, give some special gifts to each girl, and we even had a group of stylists come to do makeovers for the girls. We had a photographer there to document the entire day. To see the change in the faces of the girls from the time they arrived to the time it was over left us all in tears. It was obvious that each girl left with a brighter countenance and a greater sense of value.
(Click here to read one of the stories from The Heart Tour in Foley.)
TRANSITION FOR A SURVIVOR
Then several weeks later, we were contacted about a trafficking survivor who was transitioning out of a residential program back into independent living. The young lady needed some household items and one of our team members mentioned it to some of the athletes at CrossFit Spanish Fort who had been at Sweat Against Slavery. Together, they were able to gather most of the items she needed and they all took them to her new home.
HOPE FOR A VICTIM BY EDUCATING HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL
Then right after that we were contacted by one of the athletes who had attended Sweat Against Slavery. She is a social worker at a hospital in Mobile, AL and asked us to come and train their emergency room social workers on trafficking - what to look for and how to respond. Our team member, Crystal, got the training on the calendar and then soon after, that same social worker reached out to her about a young lady in their care. This young lady had been admitted to the hospital over 100 times and no one knew how to help her. The social worker contacted Crystal because she thought the young lady was being trafficked.
So, Crystal went to the hospital to meet with her and found out that that was exactly what was happening. The young lady said that she wanted help! Crystal got to work and found an opening for her at an aftercare program in in another part of the state. Eye Heart World was able to purchase some personal items for her and get her on a bus to that home. A few weeks later that same social worker talked with her and the young lady said that she loved it at that home and she was ecstatic, saying “I’m clean… I can’t believe I’m clean…!”
Right after this instance, Crystal went to do the training that had been put on the calendar and all of the social workers were on a high. When Crystal asked why they were so excited, they said every one of them had worked with that young lady at some point in time. They asked Crystal to come back and present to the entire department and train them all on how to identify and help trafficking victims.
This is just one example of the ripple effect of people getting involved and the ways that we are able to, because of your support, facilitate impact in the lives of people, helping at-risk girls avoid sexual exploitation and helping victims on their journeys to regain their lives.
You never know the places that your one action will take you and the lives that it will impact.