Newsletter: A Brand New View
Happy Spring! Despite the snow (!) we’ve been getting in NYC the last few days, everyone here at GEMS is filled with hope and excitement about the upcoming months and several of the great changes we’ve recently made.
After a thorough renovation, our new office is up and running! For the last 10 years, the GEMS office has been a home for the girls and young women we serve, and we are excited to bless the revamped space with new memories and the people who make the office a home. Through the generosity of Perkins + Will Design firm and our many in-kind donors, GEMS’ drop-in space perfectly reflects the great beauty and worth of every young woman and girl who walks through our doors!
And, we’re excited about the release of my memoir, Girls Like Us, which will be out in in less than two weeks on April 5th. The book is a love letter to the girls and young women we serve and will educate the public about CSEC and domestic trafficking. I hope you have an opportunity to get a copy and pass it along to your friends and family!
During this season of new beginnings, I want to thank you so much for standing beside GEMS and our girls and young women on an ongoing basis. We simply couldn’t do it all without your support!
Founder & Executive Director
GEMS Members Advocate for Homeless and Runaway Youth
GEMS’ staff and youth leaders went up to Albany on March 10th to advocate against the proposed cuts to runaway and homeless youth funding. The agency has a long-standing commitment to survivor and youth leadership and advocacy; it’s what GEMS was founded on and it is at the heart of all our programming. We are so incredibly proud of our young women who are standing up for themselves and their peers. Please stand by us in opposing these cuts, which would severely limit services for homeless and runaway youth, by signing this petition.
Rachel Serves on Panel about Sex Trafficking in New York
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Rachel Lloyd participated in a forum addressing the prosecution of traffickers and how to end the demand that fuels this industry. The panel included Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, Honorable Fernando Camacho, Queens County Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters, Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Legal Director, Sanctuary for Families, Jonas Trolle, Detective Inspector, Stockholm Police, Human Trafficking Unit and GEMS’ own Founder and Executive Director, Rachel Lloyd. A Women’s Media Center writer in the audience shared via twitter, “Rachel is the power voice tonight. Speaking boldly for the young women she works with.”
Eighty female students age 12 to 15 attended two screenings of Very Young Girls at Middle School 254. The documentary provoked a lively discussion with the student audience. As the school’s counselor requested, GEMS is planning an additional screening for parents in April.
This year’s Educational Initiative Program ceremony, which honors members who have taken the next step in their education, celebrated our members impressive educational accomplishments. Four girls received special achievement awards for going above and beyond expectations this school year. And, GEMS is proud to announce that twenty-seven girls are enrolled in school this spring semester, and twenty-two more registered. The agency wants to extend a special thanks to Knoll for donating their amazing space and catering such delicious food, and to Dani Evans, winner of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 6, who was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
Highlights & Happenings
Our Newly Renovated Space
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 10th, GEMS celebrated the opening of its completely renovated office space. In attendance were GEMS’ community partners, supporters, and staff, including representatives of the more than forty vendors who donated close to 1,100 hours of volunteer time and $170,000 of in-kind donations.
The new space’s therapeutic lighting, colors, and design are enhancing the spectrum of services that GEMS provides its members. The new office is now flooded with natural light, bright accent walls, and inspiring pictures of the organizations’ members who have gone on to achieve great things. Uplifting quotes and a chalkboard for on-the-fly art personalize the space and increase the healing, homey feeling the space exudes. We are so proud of the transformation!
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself
In her riveting memoir, Rachel shares her own story and those of the many girls like her, exposing the realities of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in America, and reminding us that the trafficking doesn’t just happen in other places. Told with clarity, humanity, and insight, Girls Like Us is a call to arms to help empower the young women GEMS serves everyday. You can pre-order a copy here.
Events and Groups for Members
We are adding some exciting events to our schedule for members, including a visit to the Museum of American Folk Art, original jewelry design with Bethany, weekly Poetry 4 Power workshops, and weekly hair care and styling lessons from a professional stylist.
Recent Member Accomplishments
GEMS has been working closely with Sidney, who will be released from a juvenile detention facility this month. Sidney has grown tremendously. She is more conscious of the healthy and unhealthy relationships in her life, has reconnected with her family in a positive way, and is a role model for other girls in the facility. She maintains a job in the facility and recently passed her science Regents exam. Upon her release, she attend weekly group and individual sessions at GEMS as she continues to make meaningful changes in her new life. Way to go, Sidney!
GEMS in the News
Tags: commercial sexual exploitation of children, Community, Community Outreach, CSEC, Diamond of the Month, Domestic Trafficking, Dorchen Leidholdt, Educational Initiative Ceremony, GEMS, GEMS Newsletter, Girls Like Us, Homeless and Runaway Youth, Museum of American Folk Art, News, Newsletter, Nicholas Kristof, Perkins + Will, petition, Poetry 4 Power, Renovation, Sanctuary for Families, Very Young Girls, Women's Media Center
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011, 10:11 am
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