Dignity. The apartments that our residents are eagerly anticipating represent a dignified next step towards flourishing allowing women to transition back into life while staying in community.
The anti-trafficking and anti-exploitation movement has come a long way in twelve years but I have yet to see quality care after leaving the safe house. In fact, the statistics for women with my background is that we die by suicide, domestic violence, or drug overdose and each year I continue to see reality of this. I will continue to fight against this statistic not only for myself, my family and my daughters but for my sisters as well.
As most of you know, it takes time to explore who you are becoming through school, internships and trying to find a good and safe fit vocationally. Low income, trauma informed, independent living apartments allow women to not feel like they have to rush the process, especially as they are navigating new triggers and fears of being back in the world wondering if their healing has finally taken root.
At these apartments there will be on site support and continued care management, building new life skills and connecting women to additional resources needed along the way. I am beyond overjoyed to tell you of the partnerships we have been forming in order to add to each woman’s dignity by creating an environment conducive to Ethical Economic Empowerment. That’s right, in addition to these 24 apartments opening up, we will also be launching our first ever onsite career center and remote work station for both residents and former graduates of the program! This center will allow for ongoing resources and training as women are discovering next steps needed for their true success because just “leaving the life” is only a beginning. Living a new life is where healing shines. Here we will be working towards:
- Entrepreneurship Training in partnership with REEL KY and Southeast KY Economic Development. Here participants will have the option to create a business plan for a social enterprise, develop core curriculum training that future residents will go through, identify different pathways within the business that aren’t limited to factory/service works and create and fulfill job descriptions
- Each participant will be enrolled in Career Center to get the resources they need for their individual goals
- By partnering with Made180 we will develop an Onsite Remote Work Center for ladies unable to drive to work due to temporary transportation barriers and permanent disabilities. Here women will be trained in all things Microsoft 365, Adobe, ChatGPT and more!
- In partnership with the Fletcher group we will work with women to continue to evaluate skill sets and barriers, assess aptitude and further Workforce Development Tools
- In partnership with Fair Chance Works women will develop a Virtual Interview that they can be proud to send to future employers.
- And of course we will offer continued Financial Counseling to prevent derailments when ethical economic empowerment is beginning to be achieved
I had one goal when I came to Refuge for Women and that was to get to a place where I never again thought that returning to the people who exploited me was a back up plan in life. That’s what I want to help prevent in the women we get to serve. In order to do that we need to create sustainable, personally empowering options. Praise the Lord he is answering that prayer!
Thank you for helping us to empower women to move into a life that never again makes selling sex look like an option. Let’s not be just anti-human trafficking. Let’s be pro human flourishing.
Kentucky Executive Director