For example, Lots going on including our upcoming "High Tea Celebration" located at The Williamsburg Lodge April 4th from 3:30-5:30! RSVP by April 26th, 2020 REGISTER TODAY, and please don't miss the in-between happenings.
These include a Volunteer Training on Trauma February August 8th, 2020 at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church Williamsburg VA 23185 from 10AM-2PM (lunch will be served)
Interested in teaching the ladies baking or cooking? We would love to have volunteers show off their skills and spend time at our virginia location. Also looking for volunteers to help us with yard work (ie. raking leaves etc) as we are in the process of creating a prayer garden. Together we can make change. Inquire on how to do this at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at (757) 346-5344
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"Evening Of Wine & Roses" Gala to tackle human trafficking with long-term victim help January 25th 2020
Since January, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Why not have a better idea than to have our festivities!!!! Latisha's House Foundation, a Williamsburg based non-profit will put an area wide focus on sex trafficking victims well beyond the once-a-year observance. Dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking find safety, empowerment and a positive future through a long term safe house, Latisha's House invites the community to its 7th annual black tie optional "Evening Of Wine & Roses" Gala.
While most services and beds for human trafficking victims are 30-90 days, Latisha's House is one of the few houses nationwide providing long-term residential, medical, psychological, holistic and educational support to female survivors.
"We hope to curb the scourge of sex trafficking in our community by helping victims. The dollars you invest in Latisha's House will help us carry out our vision of changing one life at a time, and changing the world for future generations," said Elizabeth Ameling, Founder and Executive Director.
Thank you to all that attended our previous event Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Country Club in Governor's Land, Williamsburg, Virginia. We thank you for your support!
Good news!!! The dates been set for next years gala January 30th 2021 at The Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg VA, 23185 from 5:00PM-9:00PM
Enjoy an evening of wine & roses with live music featuring the British style band from Richmond -- the Hullabaloos, silent and live auctions, exclusive champagne and wine, a cash bar, hors d'oeuvres and a 5 star, 5-course plated candlelight dinner.
Tickets and Sponsorships can be secured online.
In 2019, the gala raised $100,000 for women who are survivors of sex trafficking. Funding last year went to education - college and vocational school; emergency medical and mental health services for the women at the safe home. The agency hopes proceeds from this year's event will break $125,000.
Founded in 2014, Latisha's House was birthed after encountering and rescuing a young girl named "Latisha" on the streets of Chicago from her trafficker during a youth mission trip from Virginia.
Since its opening, 63 women have graduated from the program, 40 pimps have received prison sentences, 30 children of trafficking victims have been helped or reunited with their mother, and 90% of women completing the program, received their GEDs and pursued vocational education or college paid for by Latisha's House Foundation.
Latisha's House thanks its current presenting sponsors of the Valentine's Gala: Kaufman and Canoles, Tidewater Orthopedics, Property Adjustments, Inc., Pearson Toyota, Virginia Beach Justice Initiative, Compass Wealth Strategies, Heather Cordasco, Mid-Atlantic Technology Services, Latisha's House Board of Directors: Steve and Marcia Hibbitts, Rev. Charles and Leith Mullaly, Mary Ann Lemere, Gail Gilden, and Lillian Woolfolk. Other sponsors include: Commonwealth Exterminating, Inc and Dr. Sandhya Rajasekhara, Indus Psychiatric Services.
Sex trafficking in Virginia has been on the rise, with Hampton Roads surpassing Richmond this year as one of the largest areas for sex trafficking. (File Photo /courtesy of Google)
by Alexa Dorion - Published in WYDAILY - Jan 23, 2018
Latisha’s House is a long-term residence for women who have escaped sex slavery.
Many women who come to the home have a variety of medical issues, and more than one woman has had teeth missing, according to Elizabeth Ameling, executive director of Latisha’s House. This can really set them back, she said.
“One day a woman at the residence saw me and forgot she didn’t have front teeth,” Ameling said. “She smiled at me then immediately covered her smile with her hand when she remembered. She won’t really heal until she can truly smile again.”
Latisha’s House opened in Williamsburg in October 2014 after the creator encountered a prostitute on the streets of Chicago, according to the foundation’s website.
Originally, Latisha’s House was discreet, for fear of endangering the women’s lives with too much publicity, according to Ameling. Over the years, the foundation found that getting the word out actually helped because the community has been supportive.
At any given time, the residence houses five to seven women. The foundation provides medical care and dental care and teaches social skills; they’ve put three women through college to earn four-year degrees.
All of this takes money, though.
It costs more than $1,000 per month to cover medical and dental costs for the women, according to Ameling. And while the foundation has a lot of medical volunteers, it still isn’t enough.
To help offset some of those expenses, Latisha’s House will host its fifth annual gala on Jan. 27 at the Two Rivers Rotary Club in Governor’s Land. The theme this year is “Winter Wonderland.”
“It’s a great event to get people together and educate the community on the need for a trafficking house in the area,” Ameling said.
Last year, the event raised approximately $70,000 for the foundation. Since the first year, the number of guests has risen from about 125 to almost 200.
Still, the fundraiser costs almost $20,000 to put together, Ameling said. Typically the location is rented free of charge, but Latisha’s House pays for items such as food and decorations — and the foundation spends all year raising money to cover those expenses.
The cost is worth it, Ameling said. Each year, new people attend and some are doctors or other professionals who then decide to donate their time and skills to the foundation.
One year, Ameling said, they were lucky enough to catch the attention of a doctor with expertise in tattoo removal.
“A lot of people don’t realize how important tattoo removal is to the women,” Ameling said. “Most of the women have been tattooed by their pimp because it is an identifier. It’s modern day slavery, a claim to ownership.”
Individual tickets to the event cost $150 and include a four-course dinner, wine, champagne, live music and a silent auction. Also, stories from some of the residents will be read aloud to the guests.
Ameling hopes that hearing about the women who live at Latisha’s House, and their experiences, hopes and dreams, will shatter some stereotypes.
“There are lots of misconceptions about prostitutes,” Ameling said. “People believe it is the woman’s decision and that she can leave if she wants. But trafficking is not about prostitution; it’s about someone controlling another person for money.”
For more information on volunteering or donating, visit Latisha’s House online.
Help Hampton Roads, Virginia Win a $25,000 Grant for Latisha’s House Foundation to Rescue and Restore Victims of Sex trafficking. Vote Now
State Farm Neighborhood Assist® Announces The Top 200 Causes
Including Latisha’s House Foundation – The Only Hampton Roads cause.
Williamsburg, Virginia (August 16, 2017)– Communities across the United States answered the call from State Farm® to submit causes that would make a positive impact in their neighborhoods. Now Latisha’s House the only Hampton Roads cause making the top 200 needs your help by voting for them to bring money to their supporting communities. From Aug. 16 through Aug. 25, anyone with a valid email address can vote for their favorite cause at www.neighborhoodassist.com to help bring a $25,000 grant to each of the top 40 vote-getters.
Two thousand submissions were received through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. At least one cause was received from every state. The State Farm Review Committee selected the top 200 finalists.
Virginia has 6 causes in the top 200, but Latisha’s House Foundation, a trauma informed safe house that rescues and restores victims of sex trafficking in the Commonwealth is the only cause making the top 200 in the Hampton Roads, Virginia.
The 200 causes have until Aug. 25 to rally votes and anyone voting is allowed up to 10 votes per day. On Good Neighbor Day, Sept. 28th, the top 40 vote-receiving causes will be announced at www.neighborhoodassist.com and a $25,000 grant will be awarded to each of the affiliated nonprofits.
“Neighborhood Assist is another example of State Farm successfully turning caring into doing in communities all across the U.S.” said Kellie Clapper, State Farm Assistant Vice President. “The communities themselves play an important role in inspiring people to rally and vote for these important causes.”
“Latisha’s House Foundation is pleased to make the top 200 out of 2,000 entries, But we absolutely need the rallying support of Hampton Roads and the citizens of the Commonwealth to vote to make us the top 40,” said Elizabeth Ameling, Executive Director of Latisha’s House. “We receive no public monies, and we are together ‘changing one life at a time, and the world for future generations’ by rescuing and restoring victims of sex trafficking with your vote”
For a complete list of the top 200 causes or to vote for the Latisha’s House cause, go to www.neighborhoodassist.com and click on “Virginia” and select “Latisha’s House Foundation” starting August 16.
About Latisha’s House Foundation:
The Latisha’s House Foundation a 501 (C) 3 has a unique place in the community. It provides a safe, residential home for young women who are victims of human sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. The overriding mission is to rescue women survivors and restore their shattered lives to wholeness by providing: Long term housing, Educational support, Assistance in recovery from substance abuse, Trauma based counseling, Medical intervention, Structure, guidance, life-skills and job training. In conjunction with more than 25 community partners, Latisha’s House is committed to increasing the opportunities for these female survivors to holistically build new lives with dignity, purpose, value, independence and free choice.
Latisha’s House second, but equally important, mission is to educate the public and legislative leaders about the realities of human sex trafficking at all levels: local, state and national. (According to the F.B.I. this is one of the most lucrative and fastest growing crimes in our nation. It is NOT “victimless”. It is pervasive at every level.)
About State Farm™:
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its nearly 19,000 agents and nearly 70,000 employees serve more than 84 million policies and accounts – more than 81 million auto, fire, life, health and commercial policies, and more than 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 33 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
Human Sex Trafficking: Have you ever heard any child say, “Guess what Mom, when I grow up I want to be a Prostitute”? A special message to Nurses.
In 2010, the FBI estimated that there were almost 300,000 women and children trafficked in the United States each year. These are Americans citizens! This is a $150 Billion dollar, tax free industry! It is the second fasting growing crime in this country. Prostitutes are victims of these crimes.
Yet, sadly, since 2007 the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline has received only 14,544 calls (1-888-373-7888). Why is this? Having knowledge that such a resource even exists is unknown to sex trafficked victims. To get help, to make a phone call is not possible for most victims as communication is strictly controlled and monitored by the pimp who has all the power. Perhaps, we nurses should have this phone number posted in areas where women in your care can see it. Perhaps, when we suspect our patient/client may be such a victim, we should hand them a phone!
News Flash! The F.B.I. data shows that in the United States BOYS make up 33% of all sex trafficked victims! While the average age for girls first being trafficked is 12-14, for boys that first trafficking experience starts between 7-8 years old! Commercially exploited children in our country have almost universally been sexually abused as children and enter prostitution with a history of complex trauma. Their families have been absent or dysfunctional. Several young women with whom I work were identified by teachers as abused (i.e., a 7 year old who wouldn’t change gym clothes because of bruises all over her body). There was a mixed reaction from teachers. Some did follow up with local child protective services. Some called parents. One young woman told me “My teacher was concerned but my mother denied any sexual abuse but then said ‘well, she is so suggestive around my husband’; I was 6 years old!” Many girls tried to tell an adult but many were afraid. Some shared that “I have told people and nobody believed me”. Some were placed in foster homes, and believe it or not, they were molested and recruited by their pimps from the foster care system.
What can we nurses do? This seems so much bigger than we can handle as individuals. We can develop a much more acute awareness about the realities of human sex trafficking right in our own environment. When you hear or suspect human sex trafficking may be occurring to the patient sitting before you, believe them! They very frequently display a fearful, distrusting affect because many times they have tried to tell and NOT been believed. Offer them your belief. Former President Jimmy Carter wrote an editorial in the Washington Post (May 31, 2016) entitled: “Curb prostitution, punish those who buy sex rather than those who sell it”. I recommend reading this. Carter describes the “Nordic Model” which is a system that treats purchasing and profiting from sex as major serious crimes. That might be something for which nurses in small or large groups, such as AWHONN in a Chapter or Section, can advocate at their own local or state level.
Just imagine the impact it could have if the men in your community who are purchasing sex were prosecuted and exposed in public as the criminals they actually are. We have heard “but he is a pastor” and “but he is on city council” and their reputations would be destroyed. Women and children who are sold for sex face more than ruined reputations, they face ruined lives! As health care providers and patient advocates we must begin to work vigorously with our own elected officials to change the unacceptable and shocking status quo. Did you know that trafficked children are treated as criminals in many jurisdictions even though under Federal law those under 18 years old are classified as victims?
My state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, was the last state in the country to pass a stand-alone human sex trafficking law (2015). Now, anyone assisting, or working to traffic, sell or purchase prostitution can be arrested and charged. This law became law because of the incredible tenacity and diligent work of a very few advocates working with their local legislators. They provided both Representatives and their constituents with education on this issue.
Healthcare teaching has always been a strong focus for nurses. The public looks to us to educate them and the public trusts nurses to provide solid, honest information. My “own public” sat in disbelief when we first started talking about sex trafficking right here where we live and work. I heard comments like “No way, this is a lovely community. Not here!” As they learned the realities they were initially horrified… but now are very energized to help in any number of ways. Do not forget to educate parents. They need to know that when young teens, girls and boys, meet other “youth” on the internet they are often opening themselves to traffickers. When middle and high school kids sext and post photos they can and do become easy prey to predators.
If your community doubts the very idea of sex trafficking in your town, send them to a website called “Backpage”. It is a trafficking website that lists ads for prostitution. In my small size city there are more than 20 ads a day! “Plenty of Fish” is another site that purports to be a dating site. We have had some of our trafficked victims “hooked up” on this site with “clients” purchasing sex. If a nearly naked woman is advertising to come to a hotel room to provide a “massage”, read between the lines. If the face is blurred, it most likely means the girl is a young minor. If you look…unfortunately you will find human sex trafficking right in your own backyard.
Overwhelmingly the young women with whom I work had dreams of growing up to be moms or lawyers or teachers or doctors or nurses. One girl had seriously and sincerely wanted to be an astronaut. No one ever dreamed of growing up to be a prostitute! They were brought into the “life style” as young minors. They did not choose the life and do NOT benefit financially (a common misconception). Once used, these victims are humiliated, shamed, embarrassed and trapped in a system they despise but have no idea how to escape. (They each seem to know of a girl who tried to escape who either “disappeared” or who was re-captured with their photo posted on line with her head shaved and tattooed by their pimp.)
NURSES CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE if we just start working together to:
There are 3 million nurses in our country. I believe that together we have the power to change hearts and minds so that our local communities and our nation understand the realities of Human Sex Trafficking. I serve on the Foundation Board of a home for victims. Our motto is: “Changing one life at a time and changing the world for future generations”. I have experienced the first goal actually succeed with individual young women. Won’t you join me in meeting both goals?
Leith Merrow Mullaly, RN, MSN is an experienced maternity - newborn nurse, having worked at the bedside, in administration and education. She was clinical faculty at the University of Virginia. She is a published author, nationally ranked speaker and former national President of AWHONN (Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses). She serves on the Latisha's House Foundation Board.