May 3: Day of Justice

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Mark your calendars – Saturday, May 3, 2014. There will be three amazing events. In the morning you can choose between the Bringing Hope Race and the Stand Against Human Trafficking Action Conference. But whichever you choose, join us in the evening for the Fashion Show Fundraiser!

The Morning

Bringing Hope Race, or Action Conference

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Bringing Hope Race

When: May 3, 2014. 8am – 12pm
Where: America the Beautiful Park (see map)
Cost: $15 for 5k/10k, or $5 for Fun Run (one mile). Group rates available.
Note: price goes up by $5 after April 15.

To learn more, or to register, go to http://bringinghoperun.com/

When you register, select “Restore Innocence” as your team!

Our team will dress with bright green and a black bow for team spirit – be creative!

Sponsorships welcome – visibility on social media, the Independent, posters around town, on the website, as well as exposure on race day. For more sponsorship information,
Click Here (PDF)

http://bringinghoperun.com/

stand-logo

Action Conference

When: May 3, 2014. 9am – 2pm
Where: Denver Community Church
1101 S Washington St, 80210
(see map)
Cost: $20 Register Here

Plenary speakers on international and domestic trafficking and restoration.

Breakout sessions with Police & FBI, Laws and Legislation, Conscientious Consumerism, Prevention & “How To” Create Groups Within Churches, Organizations & Businesses to Combat Modern Day Slavery

Formulation of a Personalized Action Plan to Stand Against Trafficking

Register Here

The Evening

Fashion Show Fundraiser!

Fashion Show

When: May 3, 2014. 3pm – 5pm
Where: Glen Eyrie Castle, 3820 N 39th Street, 80904 (click here to see map)
Cost: $22 / adult, $12 / child (ages 5-12)
Tickets: Click Here

  • Created by Cindy – one of the girls in our mentor program
  • Wedding dresses for auction by New York designer Bokwey Burnley
  • Restored Bow items for sale – including artwork made by survivors
  • Stories of hope, community, and redemption written by the survivors and shared during the show
  • For the kiddos: Fairy Tale face painting!
  • Live butterfly release
  • Beautiful location and scenery

Click here to buy your tickets today!

The Restore Innocence Story

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Restore Innocence – Aiding Victims of Sex Trafficking in Colorado.

I have somebody that will always speak light into whatever darkness surrounds me.”

What an incredible girl! All of our girls are amazing, talented and gifted in so many areas! We are honored and blessed by them and feel privileged to get to know them and journey through life with them.

Restore Innocence’s mission is to aid victims of human trafficking in the rescue, restoration and reintegration process by providing for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We do this through our nationwide Restoration Bag program, our Mentor Program and the Cinderella House.

The Restoration Bag program was birthed out of a meeting we had with local law enforcement agents. Seeing the lack of resources available to them and the response we were getting from the community to get involved, an easy decision was made to fill the gap. We started locally, giving Restoration Bags to local law enforcement agencies who would give the bags to rescued victims. As donations kept piling in, we quickly branched out to surrounding states. We are currently meeting the need for over half the country! The need is great and we are bridging the gap, one bag at a time.

Our Mentor Program started with three girls. Within four months of starting Restore Innocence, we were introduced to three girls who were all at various stages of their healing journey. One girl, “S”, had been out of the life for a while, was rescued by a detective, and now was offering peer mentoring to victims when they were first rescued. “T” was the second girl we were introduced to. She was rescued months before our first meeting and was still struggling with addictions and her true identity. She is the young lady featured on the video. And finally “J”, who had been rescued seven years prior to our meeting, was still struggling with self-worth and PTSD in various forms. We journeyed with all three girls as they navigated their way through life and found hope and healing. Our relationship continues to this day and will for life. They are close to our hearts and have found a place in our family.

Eventually we were introduced to more and more girls and the Mentor Program was born. The Mentor Program is about relationships, community and acceptance. As we get referrals from law enforcement agencies and treatment centers for our mentor program, we prayerfully pair each girl with a mentor. Our mentors are continuously trained and equipped to be effective, understanding and life-giving. It has been incredible to watch these relationships grow and blossom into lifelong friendships. The program is a yearlong program but the friendship lasts a lifetime!

The Cinderella House is where everything comes together. It is a transitional home for girls transitioning from a treatment center to independent living. It is a beautiful place to live where she can find healing, restoration and a chance to start again. Cinderella’s story is one of redemption, restoration and grace and one that applies directly to our girls. They are treasured and adored and there is an incredible hope for them. For “T”, her goal was to live in the Cinderella House and she reached that goal! She had the hope of something better and set a goal of achieving that! Living at the Cinderella House has brought her from a place of despair to a place of restoration. From the darkness of life on the streets, addicted to drugs and struggling to survive, to the light of a future that was full of hope and promise. She is working, going to school, building lifelong relationships and is successfully reintegrating into her new, beautiful life. Her story has just begun and we are blessed to journey with her!

Devotional & Prayer: As Long As It Is Called Today

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See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” -Hebrews 3:12-15

Thankfully, we have a Great High Priest, who has gone before us and knows what it is to be tempted and tried. He knows our hearts, too, and knows that we need faith, even to Believe sometimes. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

And as was written, let us encourage one another daily. Jesus said that the world would know His followers by their love for one another. How are we doing with this? Are we loving our brothers and sisters? Are we encouraging one another and spurring one another on in this tiring world and work? In what way might God be calling you today to encourage and pray for your Holy-Spirit-family?

I pray for each one of you reading this, that you would be encouraged by our God’s huge love for you, that you would sense His rejoicing over you with singing (Zeph 3:17), and that you would be inspired to encourage another today. We are in this battle together, and as Jesus prayed, His heart is that we would be one

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.”

Please Pray:

~That each precious child around the world who has experienced pain and loss and suffering would be encouraged today–through someone, through a song, through God’s voice and presence in their lives…that they would know deep down somehow, that they are deeply loved.
~For “T” as she is applying for jobs–that she would end up at the place God would have her–a place where she could thrive!
~For “C” as she’s in school and working, for peace in the struggle of balancing a lot of responsibilities, for trust and perseverance.
~For “J” as she prepares to speak her testimony at the banquet on Sept. 22nd. That God would protect her heart, give her peace and protection, and that she would share only what she wants to and feels good about sharing. That her story would allow for healing for her and many others!
~For the people who will become involved as a result of our banquet–that God would raise up an army to fight on behalf of our girls! That He would make a way to provide for all the programs and dreams we have for them!
~For our awesome volunteers, mentors, leadership, board members, donors, and all those who have in one way or another made a difference in a life (or lives!) of these girls. That God would remind each of them of their importance and value, and would encourage and equip them for all He has in store!
~For ALL the seats to be filled at the RI benefit dinner coming up!!!!

“You Are More”

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“You Are More”

by Michelle Korth, Founder of Restore Innocence

Today I got to meet five girls who’ve been recently rescued from Human Trafficking. They received a Restoration Bag from our program when they were first rescued and have been placed in a secured treatment center. They are absolutely amazing!

Walking into a room with five teenage girls can be a little intimidating. Because of the life the girls have lead and the abuse they have experienced, they have learned to put up a front. Sometimes, that comes in the form of indifference, an I-don’t-care-about-nothin’ attitude. Sometimes, it is overly joyful, too perfect, too nice. Both extremes are real. Both are coping mechanisms to hide what is going on. The pain, rejection, heartache that they feel; the fear of the future and the struggle of facing those fears.

But there is something else. There is always a lingering feeling of hope hanging in the air. A feeling that maybe, just maybe, life will turn around and won’t be so hard. Maybe there really are people out there who care, who are kind, who want to help.

It is such a privilege to come in and be a part of that hope. To not only give gifts, but to say, “I see you, and you are beautiful.”

Sitting in this room with these five girls, I am just blown away. They are all different: background, race, personality. Yet they are all the same: longing for love, acceptance, hope. What a blessing to be used by God, to shine a small ray of hope, to show them there are people who love and care for them without knowing their names.

Last month I put out a request asking people to “adopt” one of these girls and help provide for some very specific needs they had. All five were quickly adopted, and when I was sharing with the girls today about the people who adopted them, they girls were blown away. Why would someone, who doesn’t even know me, adopt me? (“Wait a minute…I’m adopted?!” was one girls response. “Not like they are going to take you home to live with them,” I explained, laughing as she sighed loudly!)

 I took a picture of them wearing their “You Are More” bracelets. I got to tell them about one of the girls in our program who designed the bracelets and shared some of her story. Knowing that there were others out there who were doing well gave them hope.

They were so grateful for everything, so amazed that all of the items were for them, and said, “Christmas came early!” Today I played Santa and it was an incredible feeling. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

 

Devotional & Prayer: Costly Grace

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“Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time–pray that our God will make you fit for what He’s called you to be, pray that He’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you. Grace is behind, and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.”  -2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (The Message)

Yes, He has given freely–but not without cost.

I love the words from Bonhoeffer when he addresses this idea:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
― Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

We are grateful for those of you who pray for this ministry, for the girls, for the children across the US and the world who suffer things we don’t even want to imagine. We are grateful because we know it is costly. It costs us to think about these things, to be involved, to pray, to cry, and beg on behalf of these children and people around the world. Living a life after Jesus requires a cost but it also is the only way to the Only True Life.

Please pray:

~For each of the girls to be called by Jesus–and that each would have ears to hear and hearts opened to respond to His lavishing love. May He open their hearts to be able to accept grace and love like no other! 
~For wisdom as the staff and volunteers continue to work with each girl, that they would be sensitive to the Spirit’s voice on how to love and encourage, equip and challenge in a good way! 
~For a volunteer coordinator–someone who can manage our wonderful volunteers; and please pray for our last coordinator as she settles back into home in Loveland! 
~For a special team of people who will be the house directors of the Cinderella House–please pray for them to rise up and for us to know how to train and equip and encourage well. 
~For the brokenness that each girl faces and feels–that Jesus would be their true healer and ‘repairer of broken walls.’
~For continued big Vision from God. This is how He’s started this all, and we want to be sensitive to His calling as we continue moving forward! That He would show up and do huge things in the lives of the girls!!

Rescue Is Just the Beginning…

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Rescue is Just the Beginning…

by Michelle Korth, Founder of Restore Innocence

Recent news of 105 girls (ages 13-17) being rescued from human trafficking across the the USA has spiked interest in what happens after a girl is rescued. Rescue is just the beginning for these girls. There is the long process of Restoration to go through–emotionally, spiritually, physically. Years of healing is still ahead, and that is where Restore Innocence flourishes. We are all about restoration, no matter how long it takes. But rescue is the important first step, and Restore Innocence plays a vital part when girls are rescued.

Let me tell you how…

On the night of rescue, the girls are taken to a safe and secure area by the law enforcement agencies involved. This can be Department of Homeland Security, F.B.I. or the Innocence Lost Task Force. The girls are then given a Restoration Bag, provided by Restore Innocence, which meets their immediate needs. Their clothes are often taken as evidence, and typically they are the only clothes the girls have, so the new outfit in the Restoration Bag is a welcome comfort. The girls are usually hungry, so the snacks in the bag are a relief.

Hygiene products are also a tremendous help, as many times the girls have had to earn the “privilege” of brushing their teeth and taking a shower. Therefore, when they are rescued the idea of taking care of their personal needs with no strings attached is a huge relief.

The blanket and stuffed animal in our bags bring security and really speak to the little girl inside who is afraid and scared. Often, the girls will hug these animals while they are sharing their story. These bags have been a tremendous help to the girls and to the law enforcement agencies who are there to help the girls and find their traffickers. It’s a simple yet powerful way Restore Innocence is able to help.

But where do they go next?

This is probably the most challenging aspect for those involved in rescue. The girls typically come from broken homes or no home at all, so there is not always a place to return to. The girls tend to run when placed at a shelter, and often end up back with their trafficker or back on the streets. So for their safety, law enforcement agents will put the girls in a locked facility to keep them safe until they can find a safe place for them to go.

This is one of the reasons why we have the Cinderella House.

A safe place for the girls to find long term healing. But we are just not at a place yet to house multiple girls; one day we will be… that’s our dream. But until there are multiple Cinderella Houses and the program is fully funded, we still want to help in whatever way possible.

As an extension of our Restoration Bag program, I often get requests for specific items of clothing in the girl’s size. At this point in the rescue process, she is in a treatment center and literally only has the items from the Restoration Bags. So many times when girls move into this stage, I will get a specific request asking for clothes and shoes that are in their size. Then I get them the things they need, and I’ve been able to send some wonderful care packages.

But as our program grows, and as more and more girls are getting rescued, I need your help!

If you are interested in “adopting” one of these girls, please let me know!

Basically, this would mean you will help bridge the gap from the moment of rescue to the beginning stages of reintegration. You would be on a specific list that I email out to ask for donations. Donations could include shopping for specific clothing items (i.e. sometimes they can only wear certain things in  these treatment facilities, so I have specific shipping lists with colors and sizes listed). We only send out new clothes; I always say let’s give them our best, not our leftovers.

Other items include blankets, journals, shoes, etc. If you don’t want to go shopping or don’t have the time, gift cards to places like Target, Kohl’s, or a Visa gift card would be a great donation. I will go get the clothes for the girls. You can also donate online here at www.restoreinnocence.org.

Thanks for your help and continued support! Sometimes it’s these small things we can do for them that really make a difference!

Mentor Program Expanding!

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Last weekend, I was inspired by many women who attended our annual Restore Innocence Mentor training for victims of human trafficking.

This day long training includes education on human trafficking, trauma, mentoring, assessment, and self-care.  Our focus combines clinical and biblical perspectives to give a unique and effective approach to mentoring human trafficking victims.

We began the class with introductions.  As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I asked everyone to briefly share how God had brought them to this place.  Some women were not sure how they got here, but knew they were supposed to be here.  Many were afraid or uncertain about their ability to meet the challenges of mentoring.  Others had a lifelong journey of preparation for such a time as this.  I was amazed at the specific answers to prayer each of these women represented.

One potential mentor shared her knowledge of nutrition and how she wanted to teach healthy eating habits; another shared her knowledge and experience with overcoming addictions; another shared her love for music and her desire to teach our girls.  Another woman shared her heartbreaking yet hopeful story of a close relative going through a similar trafficking experience.

This went on and on.

It was evident to me that God had hand-picked these women to be mentors. Though they haven’t met our girls yet, they all exhibited unconditional love and compassion for each one of them. Once the final training is complete, Restore Innocence will be equipped to minister to many more victims across the state, potentially doubling our current Mentoring Program.  This will be a huge blessing and an incredible challenge, but we are trusting God has prepared the way.   I am confident God will bless each of the women for their sacrifice of love and commitment.

We are excited to see how God uses these mentors in the lives of our girls and His incredible plans for their hope and their future!

 

Carrie Yeager
Mentor Director
Restore Innocence

Devotional & Prayer: Find Rest

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Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
–Psalm 62:4-6

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
–Matthew 11:28-30

How do you find your rest? Is rest a word that brings peace to your heart, or is it stressful to think, “When will I be able to rest?”

God loves rest so much that He asks us to rest. He reminds us throughout Scripture the need we have for rest. Rest is vital to our efficiency in the works He has give us to accomplish. Rest in Him is the thing that will fill us back up to the point of overflowing.

And God has the ability to meet that need for rest in each of us. When we are drained, unable to give anymore, there is no use in trying to pour from a dry well. We need the Spirit’s refreshing. Jesus reminds us that HE is the One who will give the true rest–the refreshing, refilling, life-giving rest that we all long for.

Some days, it seems the world is telling us the opposite. The world tells us that if we rush around, always being too busy, we’re better people. The world tells us we need to do everything in our own strength, to push through no matter what. However, God reminds us not to worry about pleasing men, but only about pleasing God. And it pleases Him when we trust Him enough to rest in Him. 

Prayer Requests:

~Rest for our souls! Pray that we would all be going to Jesus with our weariness, and that we would trust, rest, and be refilled. 
~For the ability to encourage the girls in this idea as well–that they would find true rest for their hearts in Him. 
~For the girls who have new jobs–for ability to do well, to thrive, to learn, and to grow!
~For the girls who are looking for jobs or searching for what direction they want to go in–that God would give them guidance and us wisdom to help them reach their goals. 
~For the people who will be our Cinderella House resident directors–that those people would be led to this ministry and would be led to apply!
~For Jason and Michelle–that as leaders they could rely on God’s strength and would be encouraged to keep going in harder times. 
~For the future goals of the ministry–that God would determine our steps!

Restore Innocence Mentor Training – Saturday, June 15th

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Restore Innocence is offering Mentor Training on Saturday, June 15th.  This training is offered to everyone interested in learning more about the mentor program.  The Restore Innocence mentor program was started in December 2011, and it’s one of the few mentoring programs available in the United States for victims of Human Trafficking.  Our goal is to model a life a Christ and provide God’s hope, healing and restoration to each young woman entrusted to our care.

This training will be held on Saturday, June 15th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is the first of a two part training that we require all of our mentors to participate in. The purpose of this first training is to introduce you to the mentor program, as well as inform you about human trafficking and the effects of trauma on an individual.   We will also talk about boundaries, self-care, and the Restore Innocence vision.

For those who feel called to become a mentor we will have a second training on Thursday, June 27th.  The second training will provide additional information and include testimonies from mentors and mentees as well as opportunities for questions and interactions with our current mentors.

Qualifications to become a mentor include a desire to provide unconditional love and support to our girls, a good driving record with access to a car, 30 years of age or older, and female.   Those interested in mentoring that are between the ages of 22-30 years old can also be part of the program as a mentor assistant.

To register please contact Sue at Sue.Bennett@restoreinnocence.org by June 10th.  A donation of $20.00 is requested to cover the costs of materials and lunch.  Please prayerfully consider your commitment to the Restore Innocence Mentor program.

In His name,

Carrie Yeager
Mentor Director
carrie@restoreinnocence.org

 

Thirteen

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Thirteen

Thirteen

by Michelle Korth, Founder of Restore Innocence

I live in two very different worlds, both of which are very real.

In one world, I am going out with my girl friends and talking about life, marriage, and our kids. One of my girl friend’s daughters is turning thirteen in a few weeks and she is so excited for her. The reality that my friend’s little girl is growing up, is becoming a teenager, and is entering into a new phase in life is exciting and nerve wracking all at once. Dances, boys, zits…all the typical American teenager drama that as moms we can laugh and reminisce about those times when we were young and the reality that we are now grownups (I still feel like I’m 20!).

Then there is the other world, the world where I am a director of a non-profit that helps victims of sex trafficking. A world where I work with Victim Specialist and the girls they rescue.

This week, one of the Victim Specialists we work closely with emailed me and asked if I could help with a thirteen-year-old girl who was recently rescued. This girl comes from a home where even the most basic of needs cannot be provided for her. So we step in as an extension of our Restoration Bag program, and I head to Target to get her new clothes from the juniors department.

She is so young to have had to go through this type of tragedy, and I can’t help but compare the lives of these two thirteen-year-olds.

One is giggling about going to a school dance with a boy, the other has been violated and abused by men and wouldn’t even dream she would be able to go to a school dance.

One girl is complaining because she has acne and doesn’t look perfect, the other is trying desperately not to cut herself because of the shame she feels.

They are both American girls living less than an hour apart from each other.

It is a harsh and sobering reality.

But there is hope, there is always hope, otherwise I couldn’t live in both worlds. Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” to “be a father to the fatherless” because He has a plan and a purpose for our lives that is good.

I was 16 when my dad past away from a brain tumor, and I went through a horrible time of doubt, rebellion, and anger, pushing God far away from my life and doing everything I could to fill the brokenness I felt. Thankfully, God doesn’t give up on us like we do with Him; He drew me back to Him and showed me the truth of Romans 8:28— “For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.” I clung to that verse, trusting that in All Things, God would make them good somehow.

And He did.

It is the same hope I have for the girls we minister to, that somehow, in God’s amazing power, He will use this for good. Because He is good. And He promised.

Hopefully, one day these two thirteen-year-old girls will not be so different. Maybe one day they could even be friends.

I wanted to show you this picture of some of the items I was able to get for the sweet thirteen year old girl. Many of you are involved in our ministry through volunteering, financially supporting, and praying. My hope is that you would know that you too are making a difference for each of the girls we help. Thank you for helping us help!

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