January has been another inspiring and productive month here at GEMS!
I recently conducted a special survivor-focused train-the-trainer training for GEMS’ Youth Outreach Workers. As survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, GEMS’ Youth Outreach workers are key in the education and training of the public about this issue–it’s absolutely critical for trainees to understand the perspectives of survivors in order to address gaps in services and erase stigma. This training was tremendously motivating to me personally. I am reminded of how much work there is still to be done, and how lucky GEMS is to have a group of thoughtful, talented young women committed to doing it.
I am so excited about GEMS’ upcoming Valentine’s Day Campaign: I Love GEMS! While people usually associate the holiday with flowers, cards and candy, here at GEMS that day is about real love and what that means. I hope you will join us in this campaign to spread awareness about the commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of girls and young women by sharing why you love GEMS!
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!
Founder & Executive Director
GEMS is kicking off our annual Valentine’s Day Campaign this year: I Love GEMS! Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter and the Council of Daughters for action ideas; inspiring words from members, staff and supporters; and opportunities to talk about CSEC and domestic trafficking with the people you love.
Screenings with Big Brothers Big Sisters
On January 10th, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC hosted a screening Very Young Girls for the “Bigs” in their program to educate them on the issues of CSEC and domestic trafficking. A GEMS representative spoke after the screening offered suggestions on ways to get more involved. If you’d like to host a screening, please click here.
Highlights & Happenings
GEMS Holds Third Annual HIV/AIDS Awareness Week
HIV/AIDS Awareness Week was founded to honor the memory of a GEMS member who passed away in 2008 from AIDS. Organized by GEMS’ Youth Outreach Team, the event educates the girls and young women we serve about HIV/AIDS, and offers them information on protecting themselves, HIV/AIDS testing, and resources for HIV positive people. Each year the event has a theme, and this year the team focused on HIV positive women. GEMS members created books to illustrate how HIV affects women and children in the United States. Members also wrote an engaging play about transmission and prevention. The play was interactive, and members had an opportunity to step into parts of the performance and explore options on how they can protect themselves with the cast. Sheila, a GEMS Youth Outreach worker said, “It’s beneficial, this week helps girls think twice about their decisions in relationships with men. They know that they can still have a life, but can live it safely.”
POETRY 4 POWER
GEMS hosted a Poetry 4 Power workshop last month, which focused on how girls and women can utilize poetry to empower themselves. After the two spoken word poets shared powerful performances, GEMS members each wrote their own moving poetry and shared it with the group. This workshop was so inspirational that one of our GEMS members has gone on to read her own work at three open mic nights!
Glory is a certified therapy dog. She visits the GEMS office weekly with our licensed clinical psychologist and is an expert at providing affection, comfort and attention to the girls and young women we serve.
One of GEMS’ diamonds this month is Gwen. Gwen lives in GEMS’ Imani House with her one-year-old daughter. She holds a full-time retail position and her daughter is enrolled in daycare. Gwen courageously testified against her trafficker and her testimony played an integral role in the judge’s handing down of a significant sentence. As a former participant in GEMS’ Alternative To Incarceration program, Gwen is often seen mentoring a new GEMS member or giving advice from the perspective of someone who can relate to what another member is facing. Gwen is proof of the incredible courage and compassion of GEMS members!
Marybeth was a GEMS member and resident who successfully moved into to her own apartment in 2009 is now a Human Resources manager. She continues to keep a sharp focus on her goals which includes going to college, and becoming an active advocate in the human trafficking field. We are so proud of all that she has already accomplished!
GEMS in the News
Tags: BigBrothers BigSisters, commercial sexual exploitation of children, Community Outreach, CSEC, Domestic Trafficking, GEMS, GEMS Newsletter, HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, News, Newsletter, Outreach Team, Poetry 4 Power, Valentine's Day
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, 4:04 pm
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