Tommy and I are running a 5K to support Resilience Rising in the 2016 Justice Run in Colorado - please consider supporting us in this fantastic cause and help us bring these girls home!
Seven years ago, Resilience Rising Founding Director Gillian Wood shared with me her dream of opening a residential home for domestic child sex trafficking victims. I had been shocked to learn of the prevelance of this problem in the United States and even more appalled to learn that the U.S. laws recognized these kids as criminals, while offering assylum to victims from other countries. Understanding my desire to help and to do something about this issue, Gillian invited me to serve on the board for Resilience Rising, and I jumped at the chance. Over the past seven years, I have become much better educated on the topic and even more determined to help Gillian realize her dream as I have come to understand the desperate need for facilities of this kind and the lack of good options in the existing market.
The sex trafficking of domestic minors is finally starting to appear in the news and subsequently resound on the conscience of the American public as well as lawmakers. Safe Harbor laws, recognizing these youth as victims of sexual abuse and exploitation instead of treating them as criminals, are slowly but surely being implemented into state laws. While all of this is progress for the cause, there are still very few safe places for these children to reside once they are rescued from their abusers.
Most of the youth involved in the sex trade are runaways from abusive and neglectful homes of origin or already involved in the child welfare system. There are currently only a handful of therapeutic, residential programs in the entire country created specifically for this population. Resilience Rising is in the process of becoming another one of these homes. We are based in Colorado but can take youth from anywhere in the country. We have the capacity to house eight female youth and two small children to accommodate teenage mothers. Resilience Rising provides such basic needs as shelter, food, clothing, and nurturing; case management for medical and dental care, substance abuse treatment, and legal advocacy; onsite mental health services, including individual, group, creative arts, and animal therapy; an onsite school, focusing on GED attainment and college placement; and an onsite physical fitness program.
Resilience Rising is in its final stages of opening, which includes inspections and licensing through various county and state entities. Once completed, we are aiming for a fall grand opening. We have begun outreach to the local FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, multiple district attorneys’ offices, juvenile probation, and social services. All have youth on their caseloads ready for placement and are eager for Resilience Rising to open its doors. Your donations towards Resilience Rising’s team in the Justice Run will allow us to open our doors as soon as possible to vulnerable youth desperately needing a place to call home.
At Resilience Rising we believe that it takes a village to raise a child. We hope that you will join our village as we fight the sexual exploitation of American children. You can learn more about our background, our program, and our team by visiting our website at www.resilience-rising.org. Thank you for believing in these girls and in the work we do. We couldn't do what we do without YOU!