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O.U.R. COLLABORATES WITH VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA – UTAH

O.U.R. COLLABORATES WITH VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA – UTAH

Operation Underground Railroad Aftercare had the honor of visiting Utah’s Volunteers of America last week. Their mission is to help Utah’s most vulnerable youth, ages 15-22 years old, by building trust and genuine relationships in order to break down barriers that keep them from bettering their lives.  Our missions parallel each other in many ways. For example, we both strongly believe that creating a family environment has a significant impact in the lives of youth.

(Image source: Volunteers of America – Utah Facebook Page, from a past event not affiliated with O.U.R.)

There are three common international reasons children are victims of trafficking:

1) Lack of education

2) Poverty

3) The breakdown of the family

We encourage you to make your home a place of safety and love for the youth in your lives.

“Everyone can help keep children safer by building stronger families, one day at a time. Help us keep children safer from trafficking by intentionally doing something to build up your family or someone you consider family.”

~Jessica Mass, Director of Aftercare


What can YOU Do?

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DONATE TODAY

O.U.R. Aftercare supports youth around the globe and in your neighborhood with the help of organizations and supporters like you. 

Spread the good news.  SHARE this article.

To learn more about Volunteers of America, visit their site here.

WHAT DOES O.U.R. DO IN UTAH?

WHAT DOES O.U.R. DO IN UTAH?

Here is what Operation Underground Railroad has been up to on the home front in 2017.

FREE AT LAST EVENT

On January 17, O.U.R. Volunteers gathered at the Crossfit O.U.R. gym to organize hundreds of hygiene kits and care packages for our Aftercare program to deliver to survivors. Children’s toys, soccer balls, granola bars, and toiletry items were donated.

 

VALENTINE’S DINNER

 Thanks to doTERRA, The Rock Church, Missio Dei, and the nearly 300 incredible volunteers, we were able to hand out 93 bags of hope, blankets, and Valentine’s Day cards to incredible women from The Road Home shelter in Salt Lake City. The event was held at Caputo’s Market & Deli in downtown with The Rock Church. Many of these women, who have been through so much, came up to our team with tears in their eyes saying, “This has truly been a magical night. Thank you for making us feel valuable and beautiful!”

O.U.R. Aftercare also has plans to support Red Light Outreach which ministers to girls in this very area.

 

ST. GEORGE TRAINING

In January 2017, St. George Police Department reached out to O.U.R. for assistance with an investigation targeting numerous massage parlors suspected of using trafficked foreign nationals to provide illegal services to customers. O.U.R. partnered with SGPD providing resources and assistance with translation services for the foreign national victims and witnesses. The successful collaboration showed how SGPD and O.U.R. could set the standard for such public-private partnerships. 

This is a sample of the kind of operation O.U.R. assisted with.

(photos from TheSpectrum.com)

O.U.R. is so grateful for our many supporters inside the state of Utah and throughout the rest of the world who help us further our mission to rescue children from slavery and assist law enforcement in the prosecution of trafficking offenders.


 

What can YOU Do?

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DONATE TODAY

To stay informed on O.U.R. updates, text “UPDATES” to 51555.

Spread the word of the good that O.U.R. and volunteers are involved in.  SHARE this article.

A Thank You from O.U.R. Aftercare

A Thank You from O.U.R. Aftercare

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Loving is easier than it seems. With a little bit of intentionality and partnership YOU can impact the lives of others!

If I were to ask you, “Can you tell me about a memory you have where you felt so much love from another person? Now, can you tell me about a time when you gave love to another?” As we give and receive love we are all encouraged!

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O.U.R. is so grateful for the many volunteers that came out in the middle of a snowstorm for our volunteer event in January to prepare gifts for some of the beautiful survivors here in Salt Lake City! There are many other things that you can do on a snowy Saturday.

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Thanks to doTERRA, many different churches and the nearly 300 incredible volunteers, we were able to hand out 93 bags of hope, blankets and Valentine’s Day cards this past weekend to the incredible women in our own city that have been through so much. Many of the women came up to us with tears in their eyes said, “This has truly been a magical night. Thank you for making us feel valuable and beautiful!” We encourage you today to speak love to your family, a window, a orphan, or a stranger.

You have the gift of change in this world!

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Love Always!

Jessica Mass
O.U.R. Aftercare

OUR Letters of Love

OUR Letters of Love

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February is full of spreading love, and we have a special opportunity for you this month to help our survivors feel loved in a personal way, with your own words! O.U.R. Aftercare will be collecting cards this month to have on hand for future visits at our partnering facilities. Think of how special each child will feel when they open the card that you sent!

STEP 1: WRITE THE LOVE

Everybody loves getting something in the mail, whether it is a homemade or a simple card showing someone was thinking about you. Get your family together for a craft night, or stop by the dollar store and buy a handful of cards to write in.

Here are some examples:
you are lovedSome phrases: “You are Loved” “Have a Great Day!” “You are Beautiful”

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paper hearts

An envelope filled with positive phrases written on each heart

Please, do not include your full name, address, or any other personal information on the card. Do not call attention to their traumatic experience, but keep it sweet and positive. This is not an invitation to become pen pals, thank you!

STEP 2: POST THE LOVE

Take a photo of yourself with your card (or just your card) and post it to social media using #OURLettersofLove.

We will re-post our favorites!

STEP 3: SEND THE LOVE

Email us a scanned image of your card to info@ourrescue.org  or mail them to 138 E. 12300 S. Suite C-149 Draper, UT 84020

We thank you for taking part in #OURLettersofLove – we cannot do this alone!

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Aftercare: The Light of One Survivor

Aftercare: The Light of One Survivor

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

She is smart, beautiful and full of light! Yes, she is a survivor and she is also thriving! When O.U.R. rescued her a little over two years ago she was not sure what she wanted to do with her future. It has been a privilege to walk alongside her and see her hopes and dreams develop. She is very excited about pursuing her education and in a couple years going on to college.

She’s also a leader at the aftercare home. Her soft but strong voice gives hope to all those around her. She speaks life into younger survivors. She believes that her voice as a teenager is powerful- and it is. Her smile is so bright. I often see joy radiating from so many survivors from around the world. One of my favorite questions to ask when I see this light is, “What brings you the most joy?” She responded with, “What brings me the most joy is seeing others happy. I love serving those around me, and I am so grateful for the life God has given me.” These are very powerful words from a teenager as she radiates the belief of hope, a bright future and loving all those around her. She told me that she loves those around her because so many people have loved her over the last two years.

I watched her graciously hand out candy and toys to all those around her. Finally after everyone else had received a gift I asked her if she had gotten anything yet. It was as if it hadn’t even crossed her mind to get something for herself. Did we still have gifts for her? Yes, absolutely. However, what she was most excited about is the different vocational training programs we are helping to provide which will have an impact on all of the children. Some of these trainings are things such as musical lessons, teaching english, and training them how to make marketable items when they transition to independent living.

Aftercare is a journey and Operation Underground Railroad is so honored to provide long-term aftercare love and support to survivors. We believe in the power of healing and the journey. We are all in this life together. May we all live this week in the same light as our beautiful survivor has modeled for us. It is anti-human trafficking awareness month. Survivors, we stand with you, we believe in you, you are the light of one.

Sincerely,

Jessica Mass
O.U.R. Aftercare Director

 

Operation Aftercare

Operation Aftercare

We are so grateful for those of you that continue to help with getting practical items to our beloved children in aftercare homes around the world! Maybe you can recall your favorite bedtime story as a child? These are simple items we sometimes forget how much they mean to us and others. Last week we were able to bring items to two of our homes we partner with. Whether it’s a warm towel to rap up in or reading a bedtime story to our children, these things bring so much COMFORT in life.

Thank you to our faithful aftercare supporters!

#CollaborationLove

There is HOPE

There is HOPE

We are so grateful to our partners at doTERRA! Many have asked where the HOPE bottles are going. We are excited to announce that last weekend 200 HOPE bottles went to a local community in Utah. You are often here our founder, Tim Ballard, say, “Everyone can do something”. This could not be more true. The below passage is from O.U.R. Director of Aftercare, Jessica Mass:

I was so encouraged this morning with the group of people from our community that came together because of HOPE. One woman shared about a time several years ago when she only had $36 in her pocket and wanted to love those in need overseas, but due to her current financial situation was not sure how to do so. So with a few loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly she started to build relationships with those who were hungry in her local community. Another woman shared about her own history of being sexually exploited and about her passion to serve those in her local community who might be in the same situation. Another woman and her two teenage sons served side-by-side, putting together small gifts of HOPE. Her sons who were 12 and 15 years old, are being raised with the knowledge of how to respect and value girls. We can raise a generation of girls and boys that know how to value and truly love one another.

THIS IS PREVENTION.

So whether it is overseas or your neighbor, you can live a life of great significance. Many years ago a friend said to me, “The point to life is to love. Our job is to ascribe unsurpassable value and worth to everyone we come in contact with.” We can all make this one of our primary philosophies in how we live our own lives. This transforms our life so that we will look for the 12-year-old girl who is at risk for sexual exploitation. We will care about our neighbor who may live in poverty and be desperate to somehow provide for her children or the child who is fatherless will no longer be fatherless, because we gather around them as a community to support them in their hopes and dreams.

Prevention and awareness of human trafficking starts with love. Ascribing unsurpassable value and worth to those at home and abroad really only takes living a life of intentionality. To each and every one of you, thank you for your love and care for others and your support for future children rescued through O.U.R.

The storm came, but the wall stood strong

The storm came, but the wall stood strong

As many of you know, Haiti will always have a piece of our heart. It has been an honor to serve alongside their government, law enforcement and aftercare centers over the past 3 years. As Hurricane Matthew ripped through the island and left so much devastation, the O.U.R. team felt peace in the midst of the chaos.

O.U.R.’s director of Aftercare spoke with some of the Aftercare leaders in Haiti as they received word that the storm was going to hit Haiti the following day. One amazing and strong woman working with the children said, “It’s not that we don’t fear what could happen. It’s that WE CARE MORE THAN WE FEAR. We believe in caring for these children in the good times and in the midst of the storms. We will stand by them because that’s what family does.”

We are happy to report that even though there was flooding in the soccer field and some of the areas inside, ALL OF THE CHILDREN ARE SAFE! We are so grateful for all your thoughts and prayers for our beloved family in Haiti. We will assist as needed in the days to come.

Thank you for supporting O.U.R. so that we can support our children through their on-going healing!

Stay Current With O.U.R. – Rescue Report

Stay Current With O.U.R. – Rescue Report

Live every Wednesday at 3:30 pm MDT on Facebook, Operation Underground Railroad’s Founder and CEO Tim Ballard will be presenting a special message to O.U.R. supporters around the world. The live event will also include operation updates, special stories from the field, aftercare efforts and much more.

The Rescue Report first launched just a few weeks ago with Ballard talking directly to parents and providing them with four ways to protect their children from sex predators. If you missed it, you can still catch a recording of it by going to Operation Underground Railroad’s Facebook page HERE. Ballard followed up the next day with answers to questions people wrote in during the live event. In addition to answering questions, Ballard shared ways in which he is able to get out of the dark place that he works in and fill his life with light.

O.U.R. is developing a number of ways to get its message out. The Rescue Report on Facebook Live is just one of many features. The ultimate goal is to involve everyone, as awareness generates interest, and interest results in new Abolitionist ($5/mo recurring donors) that make it possible to rescue and help more victims of sex trafficking.

The first Rescue Report generated over 40,000 viewers, which is huge, but it could be a lot more. With over 700 million subscribers to Facebook, O.U.R. is hoping to reach at least one million in the near future. Abolitionists can help O.U.R. by liking and sharing the Rescue Report on their personal Facebook pages, as well as other O.U.R. content.

Ballard says, “Good people don’t know about this plague because they aren’t searching for these kinds of things. It’s hard to get good people to fight a fight they don’t know about. We need to help people know about it.”

One way you can help is to like and share this message with as many people as possible. Awareness is the first key in stopping sex trafficking. Help people be aware; like and share!

Operation Underground Railroad’s Aftercare Program: Unity and Collaboration

Operation Underground Railroad’s Aftercare Program: Unity and Collaboration

In a world of division Operation Underground Railroad longs for collaboration to serve those in need of safe and loving homes. At this time O.U.R. finds it most effective to partner with well-established existing facilities who understand the culture and the community best, according to O.U.R.’s Director of Aftercare, Jessica Mass.

Operation Underground Railroad has now partnered with homes in over 15 countries and that number continues to grow as Mass reaches out to potential partners that share the same vision and passion about empowering survivors of trafficking.

“One of the major factors I am looking for when vetting an aftercare home is the long-term vision of what it means to provide care,” says Mass. “This factor is vital because some facilities might have all the standard areas of care, but we have to find partners with the mindset, ‘Once you’re here, you’re family for life.’” Additional areas of importance when vetting aftercare partners are: holistic services, mental, physical, educational, medical, and vocational training, as well as transparency.

There is one particular aftercare facility O.U.R. has been developing a relationship with in Africa for nearly a year. Providing resources and expertise has been a top priority. O.U.R. has also brought in professionals to train workers, and assisted with many other additional needs. This collaboration has laid the foundation for a mutual feeling of trust and unity.

Community Collaboration:
This past month Operation Underground Railroad chose this aftercare home for its first official humanitarian trip. Vetted professionals assisted in providing skills and training in their particular area of expertise.

These humanitarian trips are also supported through those who want to help survivors but aren’t sure what they can do. As a result, O.U.R. has created Suitcases with a Mission that donors can assemble with family, friends, neighbors, church groups, etc.

There are several different themed suitcases that aftercare centers are able to use. Examples of the themed suitcases are: Sport Suitcases, Craft Suitcases, Kitchen Suitcases, Health and Beauty suitcases. O.U.R. provides a list of items that go into the suitcase. Donors provide the suitcase, which can either be used or new, however, all items put inside the suitcase need to be new. Once the suitcase is filled and ready to go, it will be taken by the O.U.R. Aftercare group on their next humanitarian trip.

On this particular humanitarian trip to Africa, Mass and her team took a few different Suitcases with a Mission; a Health and Beauty Suitcase and a Craft Suitcase to the aftercare home. These were filled with beauty supplies, hygiene kits, books, and journals. “The girls absolutely loved the journals,” says Mass. One girl, in particular, was overjoyed. “She started jumping up and down, running through the house with excitement; she was thrilled.” Mass says this girl enjoys writing and hopes to become an author one day. Writing can also be a very therapeutic part of the emotional healing processing.

The children in this aftercare home range in age from 12-18. Through the love and healing they experience here, they are empowered to continue their education. Eventually they will find a career they enjoy with the various skill-sets they have learned because of the aftercare help they have received. This often happens through the loving care of the staff that have the mentality of a family unit.

One survivor, now in her early 20s, has returned to help these younger girls who are going through the healing process- the same process that she once went through after being a victim of sex trafficking. She is studying to become a social worker and is giving back to those who helped her find a new life. This survivor told us that she has a strong belief that families come in all different ways. To those that were family to her, she now assists by being family to others.

This young woman represents the hope O.U.R. has for all those who are rescued; to become empowered to find their own purpose in life and help others along the journey. It can be a long and difficult road, but it is possible with the help of O.U.R. and its aftercare partners, who are full of heart.

We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in the healing process for victims around the world. There are so many wonderful aftercare facilities and individuals that provide critical support to the healing journey for these girls.

If you or your group is looking for a humanitarian service project in conjunction with the Aftercare program, please consider contacting O.U.R.’s Volunteer Coordinator, Jani Dix at Jani@ourrescue.org.

There is something EACH of us can do to make a difference through unity and collaboration. Thank you for being a part of the O.U.R. family!