A word from our Support Services Manager,
When we think about caring for girls who have experienced the trauma of Commercial Sex Exploitation (CSE), our hearts and minds go quickly to providing a safe home, protecting them from their abusers and future predators, and helping them to heal inside and out. But what about the next step? It’s difficult to imagine a child that doesn’t dream of “what she wants to be when she grows up,” but a trauma victim often struggles to see that far in the future and have the confidence to believe she is worthy of that future. We had a resident who, when she came to us, had extensive trafficking history and trauma. She did not know how she would ever “be normal” again. After a couple of months, she began to open up and trust us. She shared that her dream was to be a neurologist. We set an informal meeting with her, our CEO/Director and a neurologist, which left her ecstatic about her future! She is almost 18 and preparing her college applications as you read this.
StreetLightUSA provides a wide range of programs and services that are strategically integrated into the child’s healing process. Our team finds opportunities to introduce new experiences and ideas for how each child can tap into her unique gifts and build upon them for a happy and productive future. I’m so excited about our Safe Jobs program, launching this month, because we are working with community members to introduce a variety of careers, internships, and even just the chance to talk about “job readiness” in a trauma-informed environment and by individuals who are trauma-informed - both as individuals and also as business owners. We will introduce our residents to job readiness skills, what employers look for when interviewing, resume pointers and much more. This program will help our girls obtain the skills they need to be a successful employee and help them with their self-confidence and self-worth. They will learn things about themselves they may have forgotten or never known, and that they can do whatever they set their minds to for the betterment of their lives.
One thing I love about my job is the privilege of working with professionals in the community who are passionate about our mission and their business. They are seeking ways to improve their impact in the community, attract capable and amazing employees, and give back to a younger generation. We get to sit down and talk about what they do and how they might be able to come connect with our kids, share their journey, and what their work environment is like. We work together to find opportunities for work experience development both on our campus and at their place of business. We identify scenarios that keep our residents safe while they are off campus all the while teaching them to be independent and make good decisions. To quote Kay McDonald, Founder and CEO of Charity Charms: “We are excited to connect with StreetLightUSA and provide both workforce experience in jewelry making and business practice and add new meaning to our products by having these young women make them.”
If you would like to connect and engage in this program, I would love to hear from you.
Support Services Manager