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Stories about people who support O.U.R. in many different ways.

High School Lacrosse Team Signs on at CrossFit O.U.R.

High School Lacrosse Team Signs on at CrossFit O.U.R.

Herriman High School Lacrosse Coach Steve Haymond and his team recently signed on with CrossFit O.U.R. in Utah. Coach Haymond had been working with his friend Anna for eight months to find a gym that would fit their needs. After looking into signing on with CrossFit O.U.R., he determined that the gym would be a great fit for his team and would help them towards their goal of becoming a Top 3 lacrosse program in the state of Utah.

Coach Haymond, the team and their parents attended a demo of the gym that included an explanation of O.U.R.’s mission. What caught everyone’s attention was the idea of working out at a gym with a cause. Ethan, who plays defense on the team, said, “The fact that there’s a cause behind this gym is great and makes me want to keep going there to help out.” The team members have enjoyed the O.U.R. CrossFit equipment and trainers so far.

 

Before working out at this gym, the team hadn’t ever participated in organized workouts. “The atmosphere and challenge excite them,” Haymond said. In order to become a Top 3 team in the state of Utah, the team is required to focus on developing academically, athletically, and personally. “I strongly think attending CrossFit O.U.R. will help them in all three categories… their involvement with a cause like CrossFit O.U.R. will help bring awareness to issue outside of their personal sphere.”

 

Bryan, who also plays defense on the team, has been playing lacrosse for seven years. After attending the gym demo he said, “I learned what we’re going to do and how it can really help us for both strength and conditioning. I learned about [O.U.R.] and I think it’s awesome I get to go to the gym.”

100% of every CrossFit Membership goes to the rescue and rehabilitation of children affected by trafficking. We are grateful for this lacrosse team’s support as they work hard towards their goal of becoming a Top 3 team in the state. In addition to increasing their athletic abilities, they are also helping rescue children across the world!

 


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Everyone, including sports teams, are always welcome at CrossFit O.U.R. For more information, visit www.crossfitour.com.

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3 Creative YOURrescue Campaigns

3 Creative YOURrescue Campaigns

Many of you may be familiar with our platform YOURrescue, where volunteers all over the world can create their own campaigns in their local communities to benefit Operation Underground Railroad.

Over 200 fundraisers have been completed so far, bringing in over $718,000. We are so grateful for the dedication and hard work from each volunteer who organizes these projects; we know it is not an easy task to plan and execute a fundraiser! It is inspiring to see how people across the world use their unique talents to join the fight against trafficking.

Whether your passion is art or running, rock climbing or business management, your talents are important in spreading awareness of the issue of modern-day slavery.

These three YOURrescue campaigns are examples of people who work in completely different fields and are in different stages of life, but have created unique ways to support the cause.

1. No Slack Climbathon

For 35 years, the Virginia Commonwealth University Outdoor Adventure Program has been encouraging students to be active outdoors and engage with their community.

This year, they decided they wanted to broaden their reach. By holding a Climbathon that supports O.U.R., the VCU Outdoor Adventure Program would enable students to use their influence to change children’s lives.

“By hosting a Climbathon, we are challenging participants to push themselves physically and test their endurance in order to reflect the long-term effort required for an OUR mission to be successful,” the event coordinators said.

This event raised over $1,000. To put that number in perspective, the average price to “buy” a virgin child in the world of trafficking is $1,000. Thank you, VCU Outdoor Adventure Program team, for raising money to help rescue a child!

To see their YOURrescue campaign page, click here.

2. Knox Academy Art Auction

The Knox Academy Art Auction was started by a 13-year-old girl who had recently learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in school. She wished that she could have done something to help. When she learned about modern-day slavery, she realized that there was an opportunity to fight against it today!

This young girl is a wonderful artist, so she decided to hold an art auction and donate the proceeds to O.U.R. Because of her hard work, over $1,000 was raised. Not only did she double her goal, she raised her voice for an important cause!

Learn more about the event here.

3. Williams Flower and Gift

William Flower and Gift is a floral shop in the Pacific Northwest that is dedicated to ending child trafficking. 10% of all revenue from greeting cards is donated to O.U.R. Because they have partnerships with many florists around the world, their greeting cards can be delivered almost anywhere internationally!

This floral shop’s revenue share program is making a difference in many lives across the world. “Another goal that we are excited about is providing awareness to our customers and community of the situation and the solutions,” the team said. With Williams Flower and Gift shop’s efforts in spreading awareness of this issue, they are meeting their goal of helping many children become free.

See the campaign page here.

How to Make Your Own YOURrescue Campaign

Awareness leads to action. These creative YOURrescue campaigns, along with many others, have reached communities and people that we couldn’t have reached on our own.

Creating a fundraiser through YOURrescue connects you directly with our Development Team. They can assist you with setting up your campaign page and answer any questions you may have.

We are incredibly grateful for all of the campaigns that have been completed thus far, and we can’t wait to see what ideas you come up with next. With your support, we are able to continue rescuing children all over the world.


What can YOU Do?

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Do you want to create a YOURrescue campaign for your community? Visit yourrescue.org to start today.

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O.U.R. Receives Large Donation from Life Leadership

O.U.R. Receives Large Donation from Life Leadership

On October 14, 2017, Life Leadership held a “Life on Life Push-up Contest” for the benefit of Operation Underground Railroad. Thousands of Life Members gathered in Louisville, KY, to participate in this push-up contest. They have raised over $758,000 and counting, as other participants are continually sending in donations!

Life Leadership provides financial, professional, and personal development resources for entrepreneurs. Their Life on Life Initiative helps people gain freedom, by providing the resources necessary to work on literacy and other important skills. Through inspiring awareness campaigns, their corporate employees and Life Members are able to volunteer their time and resources to give to those in need.

Life Members and employees did just that at this push-up contest. One of the most inspiring participants is Isaiah, whose video is below. Isaiah courageously got out of his wheelchair to participate in the contest. O.U.R. SVP of Rescue & Recovery Matt Osborne and Life Leadership spokesman Chris Swanson joined him.

Isaiah’s willingness to be a part of this initiative is just one of the many inspiring stories of these Life Members. Below is a video of our SVP of Rescue & Recovery, Matt Osborne, receiving the check from the amazing Life Leadership team.

The donation from this push-up contest is incredibly generous and will change the lives of many children – this contribution allows us to help rescue and rehabilitate kids in an unprecedented way.

 

 

A Cross Country Bicycle Tour Raises Over $5,000 for O.U.R. Before the Event Begins

A Cross Country Bicycle Tour Raises Over $5,000 for O.U.R. Before the Event Begins

On November 4th, Wyatt Buttars will embark on a bike ride across the entire United States along the Southern Tier to raise awareness for Operation Underground Railroad and share his passion for the cause.

Buttars first heard about O.U.R. when his brother invited him to see “The Abolitionists” documentary. “I only learned about the name of the movie before going in, ‘The Abolitionists,’ Buttars recalled, “but I still had no idea what I was about to see.”

After learning that there are over 2 million children in the commercial sex trade throughout the world, Buttars knew he had to do something.

He said, “My heart raced throughout the film. I had tears. It was a powerful documentary about saving children from being sex slaves. I had no idea how devastating this problem is in the world… This was all very alarming to me. It hit me so hard that I wanted to do something about it.”

Ever since he was young, he had dreamed about going on a cross country bike ride. After watching “The Abolitionists,” everything seemed to fall into place. He decided to ride across the country to raise awareness and money for O.U.R.

Amazingly, this bike race is not the only thing this young man is doing to raise awareness.

Buttars has already held multiple fundraisers for O.U.R. – including selling O.U.R. merchandise at local school events, showing “The Abolitionists” documentary at his local library, and running a booth in a Wells Fargo building to spread awareness of the cause.

“I’m so excited, grateful, and happy to be able to do something like this. There are a lot of charities and people suffering around the world in so many different ways right now. This was one I hadn’t really known much about and I want to make it a point to spread awareness,” Buttars said.

He will begin in San Diego, CA, on November 4th and arrive in Jacksonville, FL, on December 17th. The goal is to raise over $7,500 for O.U.R. by the end of the bike ride in December – and he has already raised over $5,000! Click here to visit the campaign page.

We are so grateful for Wyatt Buttars and his friends, family and community for helping to raise awareness of human trafficking throughout the nation. It is exciting to see how our supporters use their voice and talents to rise up against this issue!


What can YOU Do?

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Everyone has a voice in the fight against human trafficking. Have an idea for a campaign in your community? Visit www.yourrescue.org to submit your campaign idea and get it started.

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Why a Medical Student from Switzerland Donated to O.U.R.

Why a Medical Student from Switzerland Donated to O.U.R.

“Because I wasn’t studying, the scholarship couldn’t be used for my schooling and I felt bad keeping it to myself. So I decided to give it to a good cause. I remembered about O.U.R. and so I gave it to them.” – Noah

Operation Underground Railroad recently received a generous donation from a young medical student in Switzerland named Noah. He is in his second year of medical school and in his free time he likes to play the guitar and spend time outside – especially fishing and hiking.

Noah was born in Switzerland and has spent most of his life there. In high school he was able to live with a family in the United States for a year, giving him the opportunity to gain dual citizenship in Switzerland and America.

Donating money is often a big sacrifice for a college student – but Noah was struck by Operation Underground Railroad’s mission. He first heard about O.U.R. when he saw Tim Ballard on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV, and never forgot it. Noah said,

“I watched the short documentary and really thought that this was a good cause…I wanted to do something. I could be helpful at my small level. So I thought that donating a little money was the least I could do.”

Noah had received some money for his studies, but couldn’t use it for schooling last year during a free semester that he used to travel to Israel. Noah said,

“I felt bad keeping it to myself. So I decided to give it to a good cause. I remembered about O.U.R. and so I gave it to them.”

This Swiss student’s support for O.U.R. is unique because to his knowledge, his community is not very familiar with O.U.R.. Because we are based in Utah, we are grateful for those with international connections that are able to contribute their time and talents to spreading awareness of our cause. Noah said, “I guess the [Blaze] didn’t know they had anyone listening from Switzerland, well, now they do!”


What can YOU Do?

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Using your own talents to spread awareness about human trafficking is a great way to join the fight. Read about a man that restored a surfboard to raise money for O.U.R. here.

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The Volcano100 Race: Why 2 Women Ran Around a Volcano for 24 Hours

The Volcano100 Race: Why 2 Women Ran Around a Volcano for 24 Hours

Volcano100 is an annual 100-mile mountain bike race in Costa Rica where over 1,000 bikers race around the Rincon de la Vieja volcano.

Monica McIntyre helps co-direct the race. She and her business partner had been wanting to add an ultra-trail run to the race for a while – meaning that a select few runners would spend 22 hours running around the volcano instead of biking it.

After becoming an active volunteer for O.U.R. this year, Monica had an idea. What if the 2017 Volcano100 race adopted O.U.R.’s cause for the race? And, what if they had a few runners run around the volcano to raise awareness for O.U.R.?

Suddenly the 2017 Volcano100 race took on a whole new meaning.

McIntyre’s business partner knew of two women from Costa Rica, Natalia and Amanda, who were ultra runners that may be interested in joining. After they extended the offer for them to “break the ground” for the new running trail around the volcano, Natalia and Amanda knew they needed to start learning more about O.U.R.’s cause. Amanda shared with us,

“When I first heard about Operation Underground Railroad, I was skeptical about the cause, because I wasn’t aware of the problem. After reading, researching and watching documentaries and learning more about the cause I became convinced that this problematic is something that concern all of us. It is a worldwide problem that is invisible.”

The big race did not stop developing there. Volcano100 directors also reached out to Johanna Solano, Miss Costa Rica 2011.

She was in the middle of training for an Ironman race when she was invited to participate in the bike race. She immediately accepted the invitation to represent O.U.R. for the race. The Volcano100 directors hope to bring her back in future years to participate.

On September 1st at noon, Natalia and Amanda took off on their 22 hour run from the Stadium of Liberia. The conditions weren’t exactly comfortable – it was 98 degrees (F) with 90% humidity. The mountain bike race began early the next morning so the bikers could join them on the last 5 kilometers of the run.

When asked if they ever felt like giving up, Amanda said,

“It was my first time running for a cause, and since I committed to it and started my training the only thing that I had in mind was that my running would help others. I found myself running for something bigger than a medal, a time, a position, I was training harder and more focused than I have ever trained because in my mind it wasn’t about me, it was about thousands of children that are facing a horrible reality and I could help them just by given them a “voice”, by make them visible.”

“It was great to see all of the bike racers along the way that cheered us up when they saw us. Knowing we were helping to create more consciousness and awareness gave us energy to keep on going.” -Amanda

Much support was provided to these runners through the entire process. Their personal trainers, massage therapists, and nutritionists gave them all the support they needed, because they each wanted to help with the cause.

Natalia added,

“This was my first time running for 24 hours, before this race, my longest period of time running was for 14 hours. It was definitely a challenge to keep running for so many hours and kms but the idea of stopping never came to my mind, I run the whole time thinking that we were doing this for a child that didn’t choose to be part of this horrible reality, as my partner said during some parts of our race: “thinking about giving up is sending a message to all of these children saying that there is no hope. They must know there are many people out there trying their best to change their reality, to find them and to give them hope.”

Although Costa Rica is one of the top ten countries that struggles with sex tourism, there is little awareness. Miss Costa Rica, along with Natalia and Amanda, participated in this race to help raise awareness in their country about child trafficking. Their dream is to create an O.U.R. Volunteer Area Team to continue spreading awareness of the trafficking issue in Costa Rica.

This inspiring story is not the first of its kind. There are hundreds of people across the world raising awareness about child trafficking. That is a huge step in the direction to end child trafficking globally. With all of these modern-day abolitionists, we are strengthening our army against trafficking every day. We are grateful for all of those involved with this race and fundraiser.


What can YOU Do?

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Many people raise funds for O.U.R. through races and events. A few months ago, some O.U.R. volunteers held a 5k race in Brian Head, Utah. There was recently a devastating fire there, and they made the awards out of salvaged trees from the burn area. Read the full story about why they did so here.

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Inside Sales’ Laptop Donation Changes Lives in Latin America

Inside Sales’ Laptop Donation Changes Lives in Latin America

We wanted to share some great news provided to us by one of our partner ministries in Latin America that is doing a tremendous job to rescue and rehabilitate precious girls who fell victim to the world of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. O.U.R. provided a couple of laptops to this ministry, who in turned shared them with those most in need.

Laptop number one was given to a young girl who is attending a missionary training school while she completes high school. The laptop will help this young woman in her studies and will reduce the risk that she is lured back onto the streets.

Laptop number two was provided to a cyber investigator in that country’s federal government. Before receiving the O.U.R. laptop, the investigator was forced to conduct his online investigations from various cyber cafes in the area and could only store his information on USB flash drives to keep his work organized. Within 24 hours of beginning work on the donated laptop, the investigator found information on an American citizen who appears to be a serial pedophile. The local investigator contacted the US authorities working in that country, and the two units are advancing this case in earnest. We hope and pray that they will make an arrest in the coming days.  Beyond this case, our partner ministry estimates that the cyber investigator will be able to put together hundreds of intelligence packages on suspected pedophiles in the coming months.

Inside Sales’ Do Good Foundation story behind donating these laptops.

Here is a direct quote from our partners at this fabulous rehabilitation ministry: “What a blessssssssssing! Thank you for your support both in tools and service. As an organization we could not do one half of what we do if not for OUR support. God bless you and your works around the world.

– Matt Osborne

Senior Vice President for Rescue and Rehabilitation
Operation Underground Railroad


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Laptop donations help fight trafficking all over the world. Some donated laptops in the Dominican Republic provided the local government with the opportunity to be trained on new ways to protect children in their country. Read the full story here.

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For Every Swimming Pool Built, California Pools Donates to O.U.R.

For Every Swimming Pool Built, California Pools Donates to O.U.R.

California Pools is a family-owned company that has been building custom pools for over 60 years for homes all over the United States. The company has been innovation-oriented from the beginning. California Pools was started by Wayne Steimle in 1952 as a backyard project – it was so successful, he had his whole neighborhood wanting to hire him to build them a backyard pool! To date, they have built over 70,000 pools and are nationally recognized as a leader in the industry.

When California Pools heard about the issue of child exploitation in the U.S. and around the world, they wanted to get involved in the fight against it. Their story can inspire many:

“We are very family oriented and when we found out we could help children, we jumped at the chance.  Our efforts to help are on a local and corporate level by donating per swimming pool built. At both of our annual manager’s meetings we talk about our current efforts with O.U.R and how else we can help. With the success of our TV show, Pool Kings on DIY Network, we have been building a record level of pools and that in turn has increased our level of donating towards O.U.R.”

Pool Kings is a reality show that shows viewers the process of building a backyard “sanctuary” from beginning to end. This show has dramatically increased business for California Pools. The generous donations from each pool are used to help in rescuing and rehabilitating children that have been exploited all over the world. We are grateful for California Pools’ contribution, and we invite other businesses to follow in their footsteps in the fight against child trafficking.


What can YOU Do?

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There are many creative ways that you can fight trafficking. A group named S.O.A.P. packed bags of soap with the human trafficking hotline number on each bar of soap to deliver to local motels in Washington D.C. Their efforts ended up saving a girl from trafficking. Learn more about this story here.

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How the Brian Head Fire in Utah Inspired Awards at a 5k Race

How the Brian Head Fire in Utah Inspired Awards at a 5k Race

Last week, volunteer Bret Howser carried out a 5k and 1 mile walk in O.U.R.’s name in Brian Head, Utah. Howser and his wife have supported O.U.R. for a long time and we are grateful for their efforts in putting on this race. Not only did they organize the race, but they hand made the medals for the winners. Brian Head endured one of the largest fires of the year in the U.S. earlier this summer, so Howser made a great tribute to the city by using the wood from a scorched Aspen tree to make the medals.

Howser cut one of the scorched trees from the fire into disks and put the O.U.R. logo on it in gold, silver and bronze, and lacquered it for the winners of the race.

Howser shared his experience with us:

“Before presenting the medals I talked about when I was standing in Brian Head earlier this summer watching the wildfire come racing toward our town. As the fire crested the ridge on the Northeast border of town, I experienced a feeling of severe helplessness. I thought for sure our town was gone. Then all of a sudden, this enormous plane came out of nowhere over the ridge and doused a large area with flame retardant, and all at once hope was restored. In the fight against human trafficking it’s hard not to feel helpless, whether you’re a victim or somebody trying to fight it. The problem can seem like a giant wildfire that’s impossible to fight. But OUR is like that giant plane coming over the ridge giving us hope.

The medals were made from scorched Aspen that I pulled from the burn area. When you look at the thousands of burned acres, there are pockets of green that are mostly made of Aspen that survived the fire. Aspen has a high water content that makes it particularly resilient to fire, and a strong interconnected root system that helps it to be among the first foliage to recover. It’s symbolic of the resilience of both those who are fighting to free slaves as well as the victims of trafficking, to whom we say ‘Hang in there! We know you’re there, we love you, and we’re coming to get you.'”

O.U.R.’s VP of Finance, Tevya Ware at the race

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who dedicate so much time to spreading O.U.R.’s cause. We are grateful for stories like this that help us see the hope in difficult situations!


What can YOU Do?

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We love seeing the ways that volunteers and supporters use their talents to support O.U.R.

Check out how someone branded their own surfboard featuring O.U.R. here.

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Push-Up Contest in Kentucky to Raise $100,000 to End Child Trafficking

Push-Up Contest in Kentucky to Raise $100,000 to End Child Trafficking

By Kristen Seidl | July 31, 2017 | lifeleadership.com

Operation Underground Railroad Life on Life Push-Up Contest Details

The Life on Life Initiative has developed into a worldwide mission to help people from all walks of life gain functional freedom in society. In fact, the Pennsylvania Project was one of Life’s first and largest charitable projects in the history of the company. In just a handful of months, Life Members from around the globe banded together and raised over $100,000 to help a deserving family in need. We are so proud and thankful to everyone who was involved in that operation! It’s been just over a year since the culmination of that project took place and we are gearing up yet again for another huge charitable undertaking.

The inspiration and success from the PA Project captivated so many of our hearts that we decided to devise another plan to raise money for a cause with an even greater urgency, human trafficking. All Grace Outreach spokesman, Chris Swanson, along with Life on Life has teamed up with Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) to raise $100,000 to help put an end to child sex trafficking.

 

To read the full article with details on the push-up contest on October 14th in Louisville, Kentucky, click here.


What can YOU Do?

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There are many ways to use your talents to spread awareness about human trafficking. One group in Virginia decided to pack bars of soap with the human trafficking hotline number and deliver them to hotels in the D.C. area. To read more about this story, click here.

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