GEMS’ March 2014 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Winter has been inspiring and productive here at GEMS, even with all the snow!

I recently conducted a two day intensive training with our amazing Youth Leadership Interns on honing their training and outreach skills and handling some of the specific challenges that come up when you’re training on an issue that you’ve had personal experience with. As survivors, our voices and experiences are critical in educating and raising awareness but it’s not about us just telling our ’stories’, but about using solid training skills to communicate our diverse ideas, critical analysis and insight. And it’s up to organizations and policy makers to provide both the professional development and the platform for survivors to grow as leaders.

It was truly energizing for me to spend the time with our young women both teaching them and learning from them and I’m so blessed that I get to work side by side with such smart, thoughtful and very funny young women!  The movement needs to ensure that it is constantly listening to survivors outside of the context of stories of trauma. As survivors, (and leaders and unique individuals) we all have so much more to contribute than that!

Rachel Lloyd Picture

I’m looking forward to the spring and some sunshine finally, but mostly looking forward to more of these incredible moments as I watch our girls heal and grow and find their voices and develop into phenomenal young women.  In those moments, it definitely feels like the sun is already shining.

As always, thank you so much for your ongoing support of GEMS’ mission and the girls and young women we serve.  Our supporters make it all happen!

Warmly,

Rachel Lloyd

Founder & Executive Director

 

 

Highlights & Happenings
Diamond of the Month
We are really happy to announce that Joanna is our Diamond of the Month! She has been a member of GEMS since 2008. Joanna was attending classes at Grace Outreach working on getting her GED and is currently awaiting results. She attended tutoring sessions in order to better understand the material and study for her test. She is also busy applying for jobs with the hopes of working in childcare or retail.

We’re recognizing Joanna as our Diamond because of the dedication and commitment she has shown in achieving her educational and vocational goals, as well as many of her personal goals. She is a valued member of GEMS and we are proud to recognize her this month!

New Groups for Members

We have lots of new and exciting Youth Development groups for our girls so they can learn and explore different interests. New groups include The Art of Freedom, a collective of women bringing singing, dance, visual arts, poetry, song creation and recording to survivors of CSEC and human trafficking; DOVE, which is run by Barnard students on job/school related topics; Game Group, where staff and members play board games and other interactive activities that foster social skills and a community of survivors and allies;  Homework Help , which provides tutoring support; Mama Glow, which is a workshop on self-care and discovering techniques to take time for oneself; Music & Lyrics, where music is used as a therapeutic and healing tool; Studio Art 101, where basic art mediums are explored, including painting, drawing, shading, and origami; and Becoming Writers, which is a writing group facilitated by Melissa Petro, who is a volunteer from the New York Writer’s Coalition.

Educational Initiative
A huge congratulations to the 86 girls and young women who were recently recognized at our February Educational Initiative Awards Ceremony. Among others, this ceremony honored 12 young women who completed their GEDs and 29 members who successfully completed a college semester! We also welcomed 14 new GEMS members who signed on to the program.  Their achievements and perseverance continue to inspire other GEMS’ members to pursue their educational goals.

GEMS Training
OVC
GEMS Training Team

In January, our Training Team visited Boise, Idaho! The two-day training was hosted by the Boise Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Idaho U.S. Attorney’s Officer. The 76 attendees came from throughout the state and included law enforcement, attorneys, victim witness coordinators, probation officers, social service providers, non-profits, advocates from anti-trafficking coalitions, and faith-based organizations.
GEMS Training Webinar
“Top notch trainers, great leaders in the fight to end commercial sexual exploitation,”
said one webinar participant.

GEMS’ first Training webinar was a wonderful success! Registration filled up within the first week and participants have already provided enthusiastic feedback. The webinar asked participants to explore contributing factors for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking in the US, talked about GEMS’ work, and discussed what people can do in their communities to bring about change.

Our next webinar will be on March 19th and focus on what it means to be a good ally. Click here to register!

GEMS in the News

A (Safe) World for Girls: Rachel Lloyd’s work to End Commercial Sexual Exploitation“                                                                                                                              –Illusion Magazine

“Rachel Lloyd”                                                                                                                            –Yoga Freedom Project

“What does 2014 hold for the fight against modern-day slavery?”                                                                                                                                   — Google+ Hangout

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Wednesday, March 12th, 2014, 9:18 am
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