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Bringin’ Back the Blog!

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[/caption]As we are looking forward to 2016, one of the things we’re excited about is bringing new life to our little blog feature here on the website.

We’ll be introducing our spring interns, sharing some insights and highlighting our direct service partners so you can get to know them better.

Be sure to bookmark or add us to your feed reader- and stay tuned!

 

Meet our 2014 Summer Intern!

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Heather1

Hey all-

Meet Heather James, our 2014 Summer Intern! Heather is a student at Newman University, who graduates this year! She is active at Audacity Church, where she learned about ICT SOS. Heather loves dogs and volunteers at the Kansas Humane Society. She is still deciding what she wants to be when she grows up but would love to join her city in the fight against human trafficking.

I can tell you this- Heather is already running circles around me! She’s been organizing our shirt inventory and updating our online store (which was SADLY out of date!), working on some data entry projects and researching a few other things for us. At LEAST once a day I get a text or email asking, “What’s next?”

Welcome to the team Heather- we’re so glad to have you!

Full Circle

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In March of 2011, a newspaper article changed my life. The story was the catalyst for the beginning of ICT S.O.S.  The story was coverage of the trial of a pimp and john in the case of a 13 year old girl right here in our city.  I didn’t know it then but eventually the story would come full circle in the most amazing way.

Last night I got a phone call from one of the EMCU officers involved in the case. When I answered, he said, “I have some news that I think you’re going to be pretty excited about.” He went on to explain that the verdict had just come in for this young lady’s trafficker. 3 counts of rape under Jessica’s Law, 3 counts of human trafficking- guilty on all 6. Justice!

For the past year and a half or so, I have thought about this young woman. I never knew her name, didn’t know what had happened to her. But I thought of her often and she continued to be a symbol to me of all the girls like her that we were working to create a better story for. Through prevention, support to local agencies, awareness and education we hope to create a city where this isn’t allowed to happen to our young women.

Today I got another call. “Do you want to meet her?”

The officer had told her a little about ICT S.O.S. and this movement that had started because of her story. He asked if she’d like to meet me. She said yes.

We made arrangements to meet and I barely made it in the front door before the tears came. I got to share with her what has happened over the last year and a half. I showed her a picture of the 900+ people who ran in the Race for Freedom in September. We talked about the Rock the Market concert, the conference, the O.Z. drop-in center…all of the people in this city who have come together to fight this in hopes that it won’t happen to other girls like her.

“All because of MY story?”

Yes, brave girl.

She is a vibrant, beautiful, bubbly teenager. Because of the work done by the officers, the DA’s office, the social workers, judge and others involved in her case- she has a chance to be just that. A teenager. A girl with a future. A chance to be whatever she chooses.

And for me, all of the many hours of work on events, donation drives, the t-shirts and blog posts and Facebook updates…it all came down to a hug. I got to hug the girl who broke my heart before I ever knew her name. She has a face, she has a name, she has a future. And that makes my heart happy.

 

Stay tuned…

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This site is getting a facelift! Soon we’ll have a new look and an easier-to-navigate website!

We also have some BIG things on the horizon so check back often for announcements.

Hint: Like to run? Like to walk? Circle September 15, 2012 on your calendar!

Be sure to sign up for the email updates in the sidebar.

And if you’re not already- follow us on Twitter & Facebook!

 

Meeting this week!

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February’s meeting is this Tuesday, the 21st. (We skipped the 2nd Tuesday this month due to Valentine’s Day)

We’ll meet at 6:00pm at The O.Z. 1157 N. Emporia.

Our speaker this month is Lynn Gilkey of Urban League of Kansas. She’ll be speaking about their mentoring program.

As always, meetings are open to any and all who want to attend!

See you there!

 

The OZ (Opportunity Zone) is finished!

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Wow! What an amazing day yesterday was! More than 150 volunteers spent Martin Luther King Day volunteering their time, energy and talents to get the center ready to open for business.

Here are some pictures from the day:

 

 

You can also view these photos and tag yourself in them on the ICT S.O.S. Facebook Page!

The local media was wonderful to embrace this project and to help spread awareness of the problems homeless teenagers face. We’re very blessed to have a community that is stepping up to say this must STOP!

The center opens this Wednesday January 18, 2012 from 3-6pm. They will also hold their first weekly group meeting there Thursday evening. This will be the first time many of the kids will see the center that they have named “The OZ” or Opportunity Zone. Risa summed it up best by explaining that it is, “Where some travelers find their brains, some their courage, others their hearts and they all find a way home.”

I could not be more proud of the work we have done. So many people came together to make this happen for our kids. Contractors, laborers, donors, volunteers and people willing to spread the word or say a prayer. All were equally important!

Thank you!

 

Big week for us!

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We have our monthly meeting on Tuesday evening 1/10/12 at 6pm. We’ll meet at the new youth resource center at 1157 N. Emporia. There are still some items needed for the opening of the resource center and we’ll discuss that. We’ll also hear from the CASA program about how we can help as court appointed special advocates.

If you would like to pick up a few items off the wishlist and bring them to the meeting, that would be awesome!

http://www.target.com/ot/list/u6n_NB5d5DYIVbrSVigy2Q

Then…The BIG Move In Day!!

Be sure to register at Volunteer Kansas: http://www.volunteerkansas.org/Opportunities/Opportunity/337:Extreme_Makeover_Day_for_Youth_Resource_Center

We’ll move in the furniture, clean, set up the rooms, and anything and everything else to get the center ready for opening day. Come see all the beautiful work that has been done and help make this an AMAZING place for Wichita’s kids! We’ll also reveal the name the kids have chosen for the center!

It’s been months in the making and I’m so excited to see the center open and serving our youth. THANK YOU to everyone who has had a part in it!