This is the first in a blog series highlighting how important our annual Freedom Fund challenge grant is. Every donation provides direct funding to our programs and services. We need your help to fulfill our mission of preventing human trafficking and exploitation in the Central Valley and beyond!
As I reflect on my first year with the Justice Coalition, I am filled with a tremendous amount of gratitude for the blessings that have been provided to me! While countless others, myself included, lost their jobs when a global pandemic hit, after just a few short months on unemployment, God presented me with an opportunity to apply for a position with the Central Valley Justice Coalition to fill the position of Program Manager.
As an advocate and lived-experience expert (who has volunteered countless hours over the last 9 years in this field) it was an actual dream come true to start this new job. It was also a little scary to take on the responsibility that comes with building a program from scratch, in the midst of a shutdown!
As most of you know, volunteering and being an employee are very different things, and so I began the process of trying to figure out how to do a job no one had ever done before with only faces on a screen to help guide me.\nStarting out was rocky at best. A lot of my early days were spent engaging in Zoom trainings and soaking in how the day-to-day operations worked. There were days where I felt I was not doing much to contribute and I struggled with self-doubt. However, thanks to constant reassurance from the rest of the team over time I began to find my own groove. Beginning with tasks like managing our social media content and assisting Christa in the development of S.E.E. helped build my confidence and I could see (pun intended) that I was helping to build the coalition at the same time!
The biggest turning point for me in this first year was when I received the first referral to work with youth identified by the Department of Social Services as being extremely at-risk for human trafficking. Now, a year into the work, we’ve had the opportunity to reach almost two dozen youth with direct services in addressing at-risk behaviors that could lead to exploitation. My role at the coalition, by God’s grace, has become a very impactful one. This first year was a year for expanding on, not only my own capacities but the capacity at which the Justice Coalition serves the community. Being in this position has been a dream-made reality and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few years!
We are excited to announce that Freedom Fund 21 is taking place from October 18 through November 17. Once again, we are partnering with True Organic Products Inc. This year, TRUE has given $25,000 in the form of a challenge grant, which means that every dollar up to $25,000 will be doubled!
From our humble beginnings as a small, all-volunteer prayer group, we have grown to an organization with multiple staff members. Since 2015, we have been able to educate well over 27,000 people in the Central Valley and beyond. Hundreds of people have banded together to give thousands of dollars to fund this vital human trafficking prevention work.
To date, our annual Freedom Fund has generated over $251,000 in donations and every dollar makes a significant impact in preventing slavery and exploitation.
This year has been groundbreaking! We’ve trained 112 people this year through Human Trafficking 101 to take immediate action steps for freedom.
Just 6 months ago, we trained over 50 people with an extended version of our 101 class and followed it with a training for My Life My Choice prevention groups.
This summer we led a MLMC class at First Baptist Church and are launching two more this month in group homes.
The girls who attend MLMC groups are generally at the highest risk for exploitation in our community.
They are young, they have often been exploited already, and they are making crucial choices in their lives about who to trust and how to live.
In our session at Juvenile Hall with YFC, 6 of the 12 girls were already victims of sex trafficking. This summer, we ran the program at First Baptist in Fresno. These girls could look back and identify times they were nearly recruited. They are now leaders who have become peer advocates – they are discovering their identity in Christ and seeing how that connects to sex trafficking.
This is just a small glimpse of what we do at the Justice Coalition. We welcome people to our office regularly and provide food, clothing, emergency supplies, encouragement, and long-term help.
We partner with churches who refer victims from their own faith communities to us.
We educate and advocate. We pray fervently that God continues to help us gather partners near and far so we INCREASE OUR IMPACT.
We want all have the opportunity to be free.
This month, we need your help! Please join us and give generously so we can continue expanding this work!
Thanks to our partners at True Organic Products, every dollar is doubled – would you join us?
Start supporting us monthly and your first gift is doubled as well! Just send it to us before November 18th.
– Jessica Pittman, founder.
“It is for freedom that Christ set us free!” Gal 5:1
February 2, 2014 churches across the Central Valley are uniting to proclaim freedom for all who enslaved in modern day slavery.
Join in standing against human trafficking and other forms of slavery and FOR the freedom found in Christ Jesus! Sign up here to let us know you are participating. See our new Freedom Sunday page for more info and resources.
Feb 2nd is around the corner and we want to equip YOU with tools and resources for your congregation. Please join us for Freedom Freedom Sunday Training!
When: Tues, Jan 7th, 12 – 1pm (doors open until 1:30)
JUST ADDED! Monday, Jan 6, 7pm. This evening includes brief training, and a larger focus on worship and prayer for 2014 (in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month).
Where: Fresno First Baptist Parlor (on southeast side of campus, close to Lansing Ave)
1400 E Saginaw Way
Click on the following link for a short video on Human Trafficking in Fresno: http://vimeo.com/66281458.
Don’t wait til after Christmas to bring this to the attention of your church leaders!
Freedom Sunday is February 17, 2013!
Sign up here for the Central Valley Coalition’s e-newsletters about upcoming opportunities
Freedom Sunday is an internationally recognized day when believers and communities unite through prayer and worship on behalf of over 30 million men, women and children who are enslaved today.
Created by Not for Sale, Freedom Sunday is a platform for churches to become more aware and active in ending modern day slavery. This year, some 5500 faith communities worldwide are planning to participate!
Join the Justice Coalition partner churches this year by signing up HERE
Freedom Week Trainings are offered Wednesday, January 30th at 12:30pm (Fresno Pacific Chapel) and Tuesday, February 5th at 6pm at Fresno First Baptist. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
View, download, and share the 2013 Freedom Sunday video from Not For Sale here!