O.U.R. Aftercare Assistant Tyler Schwab spends his birthday cash from his grandma in various ways depending on the stage of life he is in. He has used it for groceries, movie tickets to go see Star Wars – the common theme being that he has always been grateful for this gift from his grandma. This year, when he realized that his birthday happened to be during an aftercare trip, he knew that he wanted to use the money to do something special for the girls at an aftercare home in South America.
Tyler was excited as he and the aftercare team began traveling to this aftercare home to paint some of the walls there. He loves spending time with these kids, especially because he has been to this particular aftercare home multiple times. There was a lot of traffic on the way, so they ended up being pretty late. When they arrived, he was surprised at the abnormal silence of the home – he wondered what was going on. As he kept walking, a giant sign came into view…
Feliz Cumpleaños Tyler!!
Before he knew it, all of the girls ran out with giant smiles on their faces yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER!!!!!” and handed him a big card they made. They enjoyed a big birthday cake in honor of Tyler as they began painting the walls of the aftercare home. He was so grateful for this wonderful surprise, so he thought this was a perfect opportunity to do something fun to “give back” to the girls as they were painting. He decided to use his birthday money to call in some pizza for the girls as they painted. Little did he know the profound impact that pizza would have.
Tyler and the aftercare team had been to this aftercare home many times, so they knew most of the girls. This time, he noticed a new little girl there named Chloe*. She was just nine years old, and he found out it was her first day in the aftercare home. She was a refugee from Venezuela who had been trafficked by her father. He used to make her beg on the streets and if she didn’t come home with enough money, he would beat her. She was rescued from the streets by the police the night before Tyler’s party.
Chloe was really shy and still was not sure what to think about her new home.
Daylight started fading, so they decided to finish painting the following day. While they were finishing up their project that next day, Tyler had the opportunity to get to know Chloe a little bit. She started breaking through her shyness a little bit and started talking to him. Tyler asked her what she thought of this aftercare home. She took him by surprise when she said, “I LOVE it!”
“Why do you love it?” he asked.
“Because my favorite food is pizza and they gave it to me on my first day here.”
Tyler’s heart swelled and he couldn’t hold back a beaming smile as he thought of the impact that his grandma had made on this little girl. Chloe said, “I wasn’t sure what to think of it here but when they gave me pizza on my first day, I knew I was going to be safe and protected here.”
No one could have guessed that ordering pizza would help Chloe feel so loved and accepted in her new aftercare home. At only nine years old, Chloe had already been through incredibly difficult things. We are so grateful for the selflessness of Tyler’s grandma that led to such a positive experience for Chloe in aftercare. His grandma represents Abolitionists across the globe who hope that their donations help – Chloe’s story shows how support of any size makes a significant difference in the fight against trafficking.
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