I remember the 1st day she arrived at Cherished, she was wearing a long blue and white striped sundress.
A LETTER FROM OUR FOUNDER
Dear Friends of Cherished,
Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling a little sad that summer was coming to an end. Then I went to Seattle for four days in September to begin my Counseling Certificate course at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. I saw the leaves changing and felt the crisp air. That did it! Bring on the pumpkin spice; I’m ready for fall. Like the coming of fall, seasons are changing here at Cherished, and we welcome that too!
We’ve been on the move this year with awareness events and helping other organizations in the fight for women and children. Most notably, a small team and I just returned from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I trained the staff of Casa Liberdade, a home opening soon for children rescued from sex trafficking. We shared our experience with aftercare, trauma, and art therapy. We also spoke to churches and groups to share my story and raise awareness about the huge need that exists in Brazil.
Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to donate $3000 to Casa Liberdade to help them rescue child victims of human trafficking in Brazil. We painted the children’s home inside and out. Our team installed solar electric. We also installed an aquaponics system for the children to grow a garden that will also supply fish.
Our hearts are knit together with Tim and Becky and the work of their ministry. The English language doesn’t have a word for how we feel toward our extended family in Brazil. I can only say it in Portuguese, “saudade.”
Back home, much is going on. It has been amazing to watch girls come to Cherished and see the transformation that takes place over time. I have to say it is with much hard work on their part! We are so proud of our first resident to pass the one-year mark on this two-year journey! (We celebrated her accomplishment with gifts and a trip to Zuma Beach.)
It is quite a feat to be able to commit to leave everything else behind! Sometimes our survivors must leave family, all past associations, social media and cell phones. They must completely surrender to start on an unknown journey. They put their life in our hands and yours hoping everything will come out okay. It is up to us to help them learn to trust again and to heal those broken wings so they can learn to soar. We don't take that lightly.
As of September, we have a FULL HOUSE!! Can you believe it? We have only been open one-year and five months and we are full!!!
God was serious when He said start this program! He wasn't and isn't playing around with it. They are His precious daughters, and He loves these girls more than we do! It is His plan for them to discover their value and find their purpose. And we commit to walking with them on this journey until they are in a stable enough place to begin a new life on their own. It is quite humbling and magnificent to see it all at the same time.
Two Cherished survivors are going back to school right now. They are working out their recovery and healing as they explore what their future could be. We celebrated when one of our students earned her first credit in Economics. We are so proud of them!
We have also begun a waiting list to open up a second home. Our ability to do so depends on timely financial support of our partners. At this point, approximately 45% of Cherished’s expenses are covered by the Cherished Studio social enterprise. It is our prayer and goal as we grow to become more self-sustaining with the sales of our products through stores and speaking engagements. We are working hard on our part to make this happen, but we need a little more help.
We need you to help us cover the remainder of our expenses through partnerships. Please consider becoming a monthly partner at $35, $50, or $100. Pastors and elders, please prayerfully consider whether your church can become a monthly partner.
We attended two amazing events recently to spread the word about our mission and to sell our products. In September, we attended Kid’s Charities Grace Fest. Later in the month, we traveled to Newport Dunes for the Freedom Ride Finish Line Event where Kate shared her story. Dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking, the Freedom Ride is a 15-day bike ride from Oregon to Newport Dunes. Thank you to Beth Gegner and her team for inviting us to attend!
As I said, seasons are changing, and so it is for us. We are happy to say that we have outgrown our current location! Just imagine the Cherished survivors, staff, and interns all in one 20 x 20 space, working and doing school every day. It is crowded. So we have moved! Thanks to the generous help of a partner who caught the Cherished vision, we just moved into a bigger office space!
We believe that nothing says value like knowing there are people in your corner cheering you on! So we want the workroom, therapy room, and school space for these girls to say, “You are worth it.” We’d love for you to partner with us in creating a beautiful space for them. We are in need of the following new or gently used items:
- A small desk for our offices
- Two laptop computers
- Microwave oven, toaster oven
- Kitchen supplies (dishes, glasses, flatware)
- Small chairs for our kitchen table
If you prefer, we can do the shopping ourselves. IKEA here we come. :) To donate items, please call us at 661-214-3020.
To our existing partners and volunteers, thank you so much for taking this journey with us. It has been challenging, but we will continue to show up!
If you haven’t partnered with us yet, please consider becoming a monthly partner with us today. Let’s see what else God can do when we say yes! You’re the piece that’s missing in our ministry! To partner with us please click on our donate tab on this website, or mail a check to 2010 West Ave. K #448, Lancaster, CA 93536.
In His Service,
P.S. Christmas is just around the corner! We welcome Christmas gifts for our survivors, and for our annual outreach to women in local clubs and massage parlors. Please feel free to contact our office for suggestions.
There has been so much more attention on trafficking recently and that is good for awareness, but more awareness for those of us doing the work doesn’t always equate action.
Often I am asked to speak and share my story or bring a more recent, younger survivor to share her story. I do believe that story is important and for a survivor to share openly, it is a part of the healing process… when they are ready. But with that brings a concern. I wonder how many stories we will need to hear to see the need to get involved? Exploitation comes in many forms. Where does it end? When have we heard enough to move us to action?
Healing is a very long process and it takes time to be in a healthy enough place to “go there.” It’s very important to understand what we are asking when we want a person to tell us about the pain they have been through. The triggers and stressor are very present for a long time and can wreak havoc until the healing takes over. Statistics show that for every 1 year in “the life’ it is a 5 year recovery. For me, we are talking 50 more to go!
I was at the 15-year mark before I could get past the shame and begin to share.
I’m going to be transparent with you now, 19 years after the sex industry. Every day I am on the journey to becoming healthier and I still have much work to do. There is something that I truly struggle with. I’d much rather laugh about it and move on, but I know that I can’t overcome it on my own, so I’m going to take a risk and share it with you.
After being in the commercial sex industry for more than 10 years, money was easy to come by. I knew what to do and who to get it from. But, most of the time I was miserable and depressed and very lonely. The price I paid to live in that lifestyle was high… too high. Although I experienced the instant gratification of making money, when I did get to keep it, I always knew that in the long run I was hurting, not only me, but someone else.
Every time money was exchanged with a client, a piece of me died. The deal was sealed and I had to keep my end of the bargain.
So how does a girl who was forced into prostitution to survive, stuck in the quick sand of the sex industry for a decade, change her whole life over to helping those out of the same pit she was in? ONLY BY GOD!
Through His leading, I started this NPO that solely survives on donations with no government funding. Of course, I understand that it’s the founder’s job to be the face of the organization and raise the money. Who else could? But honestly, when the next set of taxes are due or the insurance payment for the business that allows survivors to have a place to work comes, I freeze!
SO I give my self the pep talk. Who else will be a voice for them? “It’s for a good reason, to save lives!” But when I am needed the most is when it happens, I become paralyzed. The words “can you give us money” just feel dirty; even though I know in my heart they’re not. I still become paralyzed!
I so appreciate those whom God has moved to partner with us without being asked. You’ll never know what a blessing you are to me! I am reminded of God’s mercy and He reminds me through you that He sees and provides.
I am not a coward, but I am afraid. How will I fulfill my promise to help survivors when I become paralyzed with fear when they need me the most?
Pray for me! Pray for those that God is moving to give to be placed in my path so I can learn to ask. Pray for others to be moved without being asked! Pray for the Cherished bath and body product line to get more recognition – nationwide! Pray that we get into more stores, sell more jewelry, and have more opportunities to tell our story so that we can be more self-sustaining. Pray for speaking engagements to raise awareness so that we can help more girls find their purpose and lead healthy, productive lives. And lastly, pray for my family as we go to Brazil in a few weeks to train another organization that rescues children from traffickers.
What I’m saying is that asking is hard. For me it is a trigger. But I also know how important it is. So here I go…
Cherished is in need. We have bills, upward of $4,000, that need to be paid ASAP for the program to stay in business. Please consider partnering with us by giving on a monthly basis. I am stretching out of my comfort zone; will you give out of yours? We have so much to do and I KNOW we will get it done with YOU by our side! Thank you so much!
To partner click here.
Together In His Service!
What does a real man look like? Culture would have us believe he looks like an advertisement
in a magazine or the hunk in the movie, but it’s not about the muscles, the toughness, the
money or all the other stuff we are fed on a daily basis. Please don’t believe these lies. Let’s
talk about the DNA of a real man.
A real man is respectful. He doesn’t talk poorly about other people.
A real man is not the guy who hangs with the boys at the bars or clubs – a player if you will –
leading women on.
A real man knows how to honor others, especially if he is married. That honor includes how he
treats his wife, along with his friends.
A real man works hard. He doesn’t slack. He provides for his family.
A real man is pure. He doesn’t take advantage of women, doesn’t lead them on, and keeps his
A real man leads his home well. He doesn’t fly off the handle in an argument and doesn’t allow
anything, especially hobbies to get in front of his marriage and family.
A real man finds his strength in God. He is a godly man. He doesn’t come across as arrogant.
He knows he has weakness, but trusts God to help him become the man God designed him to
A real man isn’t jealous of others. He has the ability to celebrate the successes of others.
A real man is honest and transparent. He doesn’t do things in secret that he wouldn’t do in
front of others.
Being a real man is not about outward appearance. It is a heart decision to trust God and be
right with Him, and in his relationships with others.