Teaching people in-person is my favorite. Whatever the age group, I find so much joy in connecting with real live people in the same physical location.
I know, however, that it’s not everyone’s preferred way to learn, nor is it always possible. Education changes culture, and a changed culture is necessary for preventing exploitation. Thus, we need to embrace every option that allows us to reach as many people as humanly possible.
When it comes to the Justice Coalition’s classes, there has never been a surefire equation for finding the right time and day for the most people to attend. Inevitably, the day social workers would like to come is not the day pastors are able to come. We have been fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers on our presentation team, yet it can still be challenging to schedule classes for each request and host classes open to the public as well.
Our online self-paced class through Fresno Pacific University addresses many of these challenges and provides content we are really proud of. If you have taken our classes before, you know that we care deeply about providing engaging content that points toward hope and action, even in a dark and challenging subject, and this class is no exception. We have had students from all ages and with varying levels of experience and expertise in the subject of human trafficking, and 100% of those who completed the course have said this course increased their understanding of human trafficking.
If you are reading this, I hope you will consider taking HBM-020 through Fresno Pacific University. Even if you have taken our classes before, there are new things to learn here. We have plans for offering more content in online, self-paced formats, so please be on the lookout for that and share with others who could benefit.
“After the training ended, one of the educators approached us and asked to talk. She said that she had been a victim of trafficking, and that her trafficker had sat right across from her in a high school class. She knew the importance of our message first-hand…
That day, the room was full of educators, most of whom worked with middle schoolers. Ryan and I (Christa) had finished a one-hour presentation about what trafficking is and what it looks like in our schools.
As educators, they are often on the front-lines, whether they know it or not, interacting with students and building relationships with families. With the right background knowledge, they might be the ones to identify vulnerabilities and build support, to identify victims, and to recognize traffickers on their own campuses, but they need to know what to look for. Of course the audience was responsive. They work in the schools because they care about kids, and as we shared stories of the realities of trafficking in our community, they could recognize students from their own schools.
One of the students we worked with last year shared this story which stands out to me as a powerful example of what we’re all working hard to prevent.
“The story I told you today about the guy who wanted to pick me up…I kinda thought about wanting to get in the car but then I thought that It was wrong and something could happen to me.
But I also thought about what would happen then if I got in, and I thought about our group and heard stories about what happened to the girls. And I did not want that happening to me. So I thank you for being here (and sharing your stories and stuff. I don’t know what I would do without this group.”
We have had 97 students complete our extended youth programs so far this year! We have given Human Trafficking 101 presentations in a variety of settings and to a number of different professional groups. We have trained social workers, teachers, medical professionals, group home supervisors, and community members. It is easy to believe that we know where trafficking happens and who is at risk. We read stories and watch movies and we think we have an idea of who is safe and who really needs this information. What we know after all of these presentations, is that everyone needs to be educated. In every profession, in every neighborhood, in every school, in every church, there is someone affected by human trafficking. Everyone has the potential to be an advocate, to offer help to someone who needs it. They may never identify themselves to you as a victim of human trafficking, but the resources you will gain can be used in a variety of situations to offer assistance and support. If we have not yet been to your community, your workplace, your school, you can be the one to invite us! You can speak to the decision-makers in your area. You can even go online right now and fill out a speaker request form. It only takes a few minutes. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Happy Thanksgiving! We at CVJC have a long list of thanks and praise to offer up to God this year! We hope and pray that whatever your circumstances, you also are experiencing great joy and gratitude this week.
We are beyond thankful for each of you as our partners, and for the amazing faith communities that have embraced this justice journey with us.
We invite you to attend one of our two Freedom Sunday Trainingson January 6th and 8th!If you haven’t participated in Freedom Sunday as a faith community, please join us this year as we observe it together in the Central Valley on February 1, 2015. Freedom Sunday is a day for believers and communities to offer prayer and worship on behalf of those enslaved. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn more about and respond to human trafficking on a local level.
Our trainings in January prepare you to lead a 5-minute focus on human trafficking at your place of worship. We provide resources, walk you through a “Freedom Sunday focus”, and present a drama. Please note the RSVP date! (If you miss the deadline, please email us to see if there’s still space.) Learn more here…and hope to see you in January!
We look forward to this event our partners at Project Restoration are hosting to help prevent human trafficking! This event is for girls ages 12-18 and is a fun, creative way to share some important information every girl should know. Contact Project Restoration with questions or to arrange transportation
You are welcome to join Valley Christian Center as they host our very own Jessica Pittman presenting “Seeking Justice Together” an hour long presentation on human trafficking in our community and how we can respond. Jessica will share a basic understanding of this broad issue from a faith based perspective; addressing some of the specific realities in our region and the available resources to serve victims and survivors. Q & A will be available during the last 15 minutes. This is a great opportunity to share with someone who is being introduced to this topic for the first time or who would just like to be connected locally.
Location: Valley Christian Center, 4649 E. Shields, Fresno, 93726
If you or someone you know is:
•not getting paid for their labor
•not free to change employers
•being controlled by someone else
•being forced to do something they don't want to do
•has been cheated into payment of debt upon arrival
You, he, or she may be a victim of human trafficking and eligible for free assistance.
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888 for more information. Or, text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733)
Contact us at 559.725.1865 for support, resources, and consultation. You can also contact the Fresno Police Tip Line at 559. 621.5950.