Christmas is just a couple of days away! As you know, this holiday can be tough for the girls and young women we serve. A day that emphasizes gathering together to celebrate with friends and family can be difficult when you are working on rebuilding these relationships, if they even exist. And yet, I am also conscious of how beautiful this season can be when I witness people giving generously from their hearts.
The gift of being able to help another person in need has profoundly changed my life. I founded GEMS because I saw young women and girls who needed consistent compassionate support in order to exit the commercial sex industry and reclaim their lives.
More than thirteen years later, after spending this time with the girls we serve, with supporters, with volunteers and with colleagues in the field, I continue to be humbled by everyone’s gifts of generosity. Over the years, girls have comforted each other with their support and encouragement, volunteers have helped GEMS with their time and expertise, and numerous people have invested in GEMS’ mission with financial assistance and by donating much-needed items. While the people outlined in this newsletter represent only a fraction of the friends who have sustained us over the years, I wanted to highlight a few of the ways people support GEMS.
GEMS could never have gotten to where we are without the help of our larger community. If you’ve made a contribution to GEMS this year, I want to thank you on behalf of everyone here. And if you haven’t yet, and would like to help, please know that your support will help get us to where we are going!
Thank you for all you do to ensure that GEMS can make a difference. Warmest holiday wishes to you!
Founder & Executive Director
Did you know that you can buy gifts for the girls and young women we serve by purchasing items directly from GEMS’ Target Wish List? The wish list is filled with critical personal items like toiletries and pajamas, as well as art supplies for projects and household items for our safe homes. When you buy items from GEMS’ Target Wish List you are ensuring that the girls and young women we serve are having their basic needs met.
GEMS is particularly grateful for our monthly supporters. These committed friends have made an agreement to have a gift of any amount charged to their credit card, which helps sustain GEMS’ work on an ongoing basis. When you give to GEMS monthly you help create a secure foundation for the work that we do. As one anonymous monthly supporter recently put it, “By giving monthly, I am able to support GEMS in a bigger way than if I made a one-time gift. It feels good to know that I am helping girls all year long!” If you’d like learn how to make a long-term investment in GEMS’ work, please click here.
Shopping with A Purpose
Ateba Crocker, CEO and Founder of Shoe Revolt is donating 50% of her company’s profits from this year’s inventory to GEMS. And, there are shoes for sale that have been designed by GEMS members! 100% of the profits from those designs goes to GEMS’ educational scholarship fund. “Shoe Revolt’s goal is to revolt against this injustice by fighting for the victims.” said Ateba about her commitment. Click here to check out the shoes designed by GEMS’ members.
Donating Time and Expertise
Gio Maletti attended a screening of Very Young Girls in November and he was so moved, he called the GEMS offices the very next morning with an offer to make a television PSA about CSEC, domestic trafficking and GEMS. Gio said “I’d realized what the problem was at an intellectual level, but it hadn’t stirred me to act yet. The documentary changed that. We’re trying to bring the same emotional realization to a broader public, and stir them to act too.”
Making a Difference Every Day
Jessica was 20-years-old when she first came to GEMS as a member. Several years later and a semester away from completing her Associate’s Degree, she reconnected with a staff member to find out if there were any openings at the agency. She was offered a job and said yes immediately. Reflecting on her position at GEMS, Jessica said “…seeing successful survivors was what convinced me that there was hope when I was a member. Coming back to GEMS feels like a privilege. I am happy to give back to the organization that gave me my life back.”
Highlights & Happenings
Free Sara Kruzan
Sixteen-year-old human trafficking victim Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life in prison without parole when, in a desperate act to escape captivity, she shot her pimp. Now 32 years old, and a model inmate, Sara is a resilient, compassionate and brave woman who could make significant contributions to society. Throughout her incarceration, she has earned an education, served as a mentor to other incarcerated young women and was named Prisoner of the Year by the correctional officers. GEMS is advocating for Gov. Schwarzenegger to grant Sara clemency, sending a message to trafficking victims that their lives matter and that they are not forgotten. Click here to sign the petition to encourage the Governor to grant her clemency.
After completing her Alternative to Incarceration programing with GEMS, Gina found a great job as an Outreach Worker with the HEAT program, which educates NYC youth about HIV/AIDS, STIs, sexual and reproductive health and healthy relationships. Gina is a significant source of support and inspiration for other GEMS members. We are so proud of her!
Tags: Clemency, commercial sexual exploitation of children, CSEC, Domestic Trafficking, GEMS, GEMS Newsletter, Holiday, Member Accomplishments, Monthly Supporters, Newsletter, Sara Kruzan, Shoe Revolt, Target Wishlist
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010, 11:24 am
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