Highlights and Happenings
Diamond of the Month
We are proud to announce that this month’s Diamond is Celina! Celina has been extremely helpful in and around the office and has even started her own crochet group! She has been helpful to members in various ways, supporting them in educational pursuits and offering an ear to listen, and she always has something positive and motivating to say to others. Celina finds time to improve upon herself as well. She has been attending Writing Workshops with Tamara and was very believable in GEMS’ Acting Workshop. She scored 90s in the reading portion of the GED program that she recently began, and she has also developed a relationship with a Math tutor at GEMS to help support her pursuit of earning her GED. We’re so proud of your progress, Celina!
Shani was trafficked in the commercial sex industry for three years. She was courageous when she testified against her former trafficker, explaining the fear and control that traffickers use to exploit girls and young women. Shani’s testimony ensured that her former trafficker went to jail and couldn’t exploit other girls and young women. Still involved with GEMS, Shani was recently accepted at Marymount Manhattan College, where she will be majoring in Sociology. She is considering minoring in either French or Gender Studies. We’re so incredibly proud of her! Rachel wrote about Shani’s accomplishment and her own connection to this special moment at GEMS. Please read and share this piece!
Six GEMS members who participated in the intensive, summer version of the Youth Leadership program graduated this September! They met twice a week and participated in a concurrent internship to develop public-speaking and community-organizing skills through outreach, events, advocacy, and media work to serve the national movement to end CSEC as peer mentors and community educators. We’re so proud of all the work they’ve done!
Here are some incredible words from one of our graduates’ speeches: “In Youth Leadership, I was able to give back to GEMS what GEMS gave to me: inspiration. I’m not something; I’m someone. I’m not a victim; I’m a leader!”
In a few weeks, there will be an open house for the fall Youth Leadership program, which will include critical consciousness brown-bag lunch meetings; tentative topics include intimate partner violence, body norms, and LGBTQIA. The fall session starts in October.
For GEMS’ career week, professionals from a broad range of organizations presented on women in film, women in finance and communication, women in health care, and women in education! It was an inspiring time, and GEMS members were excited to connect with professionals who are working in the field and want to build mentoring partnerships!
Thanks also to Sonia Turner from All Souls Church for the delicious lasagna, pasta, salad, and amazing chocolate cheesecake; to Rev. Corliss Henley for donating the wonderful desserts and drinks; to Risa Magid for the amazing pink cake; to Katie Letts for the mac and cheese (with truffle oil!); and to Fairway for the tuna and pasta salads and the delicious cookies!
GEMS’ 30-Day Matching Gift Challenge!
If GEMS raises $25,000 by October 25, two anonymous individuals will donate $25,000 more! Thank you SO MUCH to all our generous supporters who are donating! Nearly 90% of every contribution made to GEMS directly supports our members, whether through meeting immediate, basic needs or helping members achieve their long-term goals. Please help us meet this goal!
Thanks to the generous contributions of our supporters, GEMS members created some BEAUTIFUL artwork, including the masks to the left, to benefit the children of the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti! This artwork will be auctioned at a gala at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in Chelsea, NY, to benefit the children of the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti; the children of Diakonos will also be creating art to benefit GEMS members!
For more information on this inspiring partnership, click here. We’ll keep you posted on the date and time of the auction!
New Transitional and Supportive Housing!
This summer, GEMS supporters on Facebook and Twitter helped to set up new safe housing apartments for victims of commercial sexual exploitation as well as their children. The rooms look absolutely gorgeous! Thank you to everyone for your generous support and contributions. You’ve made such warm and beautiful spaces for our girls!
Shout Out to Staff
Tiffany Rivera, former GEMS Youth Outreach Worker, is doing a phenomenal job as the new Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator. Congrats on being selected to represent North America at ECPAT’s international conference in Paris, Tiffany!! You’ll do amazing, and we’re so proud of you!
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