As I was sitting in the car during rush hour, I got a call from an unknown number. “Miss Julie?” asked a tentative voice.
“Yes?” I replied, trying to place the wavering voice.
“This is _________. Do you remember me?”
It had been almost a year since I had seen her, but of course I remembered this tall, fierce, talkative young lady. She had been a part of my support group for trafficked teens. She had a personality that you couldn’t forget and wasn’t afraid of anything. She was tough and funny.
“Can you help me?” she asked in a less than fierce voice. “I’m staying with a friend until my mom can find a place. I don’t have a phone. I’ve only got two dollars to my name. I can crochet and a man said he would buy a blanket from me, but I need $5 for yarn. I need a job so badly.”
I stopped her right there and told her about New Creations, Free the Captives’ summer job program and that she should come up on Wednesday. “Is this for an interview? What should I wear?”
“No, this is the interview. I am hiring you right now.”
Then, this tough, weary laden girl broke down over the phone and starting sobbing. I have never seen her cry before. She had reached the end of her rope. She was desperate and ready to give up.
She truly needed a job in order to feel like she had hope. I hadn’t seen her in forever, and she had found my number written in a journal that we have the girls write in. It was a miracle that she still had my number. And just when things looked their worst, God provided a way.
Through her tears, she thanked me and said, “I just want to make something of my life.” Because of our summer job program for teenaged trafficking survivors, New Creations, she can. She can learn job and life skills that will equip her for a better future.
This week alone we hired three more teen trafficking survivors at New Creations and provided them with jobs when no one else would.
And this is why we are partnering with the world famous Moscow Ballet for our first annual fundraising gala and ballet performance of the Great Russian Nutcracker. We are raising funds so that we can expand our job program and hire more trafficking victims. Currently, we are limited in terms of physical space and staff. In a short amount of time, our girls have made over 1500 candles and we have run out of room to store the supplies and finished products. Proceeds from the gala luncheon and 50% of ballet ticket sales will go towards expanding Free the Captives’ job program and services for trafficked teens.
This special event will take place on November 6, 2015 at Houston Baptist University’s Dunham Theater. Ballet and gala tickets are officially on sale! They can be purchased at http://www.freethecaptiveshouston.com/moscow-ballet-gala/. Individual ballet ticket prices are 20% off until July 31 using the code FTCEARLY.
Want to play an even larger role in rebuilding the lives of teen trafficking victims? Become a sponsor of our gala and ballet. Sponsorship opportunities for the gala are available here.
Trafficked: The Experience
Free the Captives is hosting an event, “Trafficked: The Experience,” that helps audiences to understand the realities of trafficking, and we need volunteers to help with this experiential event. The goal is to create a series of rooms that the audience walks through in order to experience the life of a trafficking victim.
We need your help to make this possible. We need writers, set design people, AV/tech people, PR people, event planners, graphic designers, actors/actresses, handymen/builders, and anyone else who is willing to work hard. Please invite your friends.
**We are collecting gently used prom dresses for our girls at this meeting. We plan to surprise them with a graduation gala at the Taste of Texas soon. Many of the girls will not get to go to a traditional prom so this is their opportunity to dress up and feel like a princess.**
Please plan to arrive a little early to find the room because the church is very large and there is planned construction on I-45. We will start promptly at 10am so that we can finish by noon. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are planning to attend.