So many special and wonderful things are happening in the lives of trafficking survivors because of your support! Here's just a glimpse of everything taking place in Eye Heart World.
SOCIAL MEDIA REVAMP
We know we have a really important mission and message, so we're constantly working to find the best ways to get that message out to you and so many others! So, we’ve decided to revamp our social media outlets to better represent the exciting things going on within Eye Heart World. This revamp includes:
- Renewing our monthly newsletters so that you’re in-the-know about the incredible ways Eye Heart World is growing in Wisconsin & Alabama
- Increasing our social media presence on Facebook and Instagram (be sure to follow us!)
- Giving you a glimpse into our services provided at the Rose Home in Wisconsin and the Rose Center in Alabama
- Equipping you with information and resources to increase awareness and knowledge of domestic sex trafficking
- More to come!
Thank you for your continued support and generosity. Because of you and so many others, we're seeing trafficking victims find freedom and hope. Your gift is literally saving lives.
YOUTH SERVICES INCREASING WITH EXCITING NEW PARTNERSHIP
At Eye Heart World, we’re fighting to build communities where sex trafficking cannot thrive, and we’re doing that through awareness efforts, prevention programs, and recovery services. In the last few months, we’ve received more referrals for exploited minors than ever before. We know that the average age of entry into sex trafficking in the United States is 12-14 years old, so we recognize that in order to be effective in our fight against sexual exploitation, we must bring our awareness, prevention, & recovery resources to at-risk, vulnerable, and exploited youth.
As an organization, we prioritize awareness and prevention efforts with at-risk and vulnerable youth through our Heart Tour curriculum. The Heart Tour is a 6-week program where young girls learn about trafficking and develop skills to protect themselves from exploitation in a way that is strengths-based, encouraging, and fun. We’ve had great success with this program within local schools, after school programs, and community organizations.
With that being said, our increase in referrals for exploited minors has led us to consider how we can reach more exploited youth with our recovery services. Fortunately, Judge Naman – the Circuit Judge for the Juvenile Court of Mobile County in Mobile, Alabama – also sees the value of bringing our services to exploited youth. We are so excited and grateful to announce a new partnership with Strickland Youth Center in Alabama. With this new partnership, we are given the opportunity to go into juvenile detention and facilitate the services that we typically offer on an outpatient basis at the Rose Center – including case management, individual trauma therapy, and trauma-informed group therapy.
It is our hope that this new partnership would ensure that these young survivors are receiving specialized care as they begin their journey to recovery.
CREATIVITY COMPLEMENTS RECOVERY
Many of our participants use creative outlets -- such as music, visual arts, creative writing, etc.-- to help them along in their journeys.
Research has shown that engaging in creative activities can be a significant part of the healing process -- encouraging mindfulness, relieving anxiety, and decreasing stress.
(Rose Home Participant playing her beloved guitar.)
In the past, we’ve had incredible volunteers put on art workshops, writing classes, and craft days with our participants. These events are always huge successes because they allow our participants to relax mentally while still encouraging their healing journeys - encouraging mindfulness and helping manage stress levels.
Unfortunately COVID-19 has prevented us from having many in-person workshops this year, so we’ve had to get creative with our creativity! This month, our Rose Center Therapist hosted our first virtual art therapy session with some of our participants, and it was a hit.
We look forward to more in-person and virtual creative days ahead!
PTSD AWARENESS DAY – JUNE 27TH
PTSD Awareness Day originally began as a movement within the military community to bring awareness to those who suffer with PTSD and those who love someone suffering with PTSD. Since then, PTSD Awareness Day has grown to be recognized by other groups and organizations.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that people may develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or life-threatening event. Traumatic events that could lead to PTSD include life-threatening accidents or injuries, childhood abuse, physical assault (robbery, mugging), sexual violence (abuse, rape, harassment, trafficking), natural disasters, war exposure, mass disasters (such as terrorist attacks), intimate partner violence, and more. Traumatic experiences are, unfortunately, relatively common. Studies show that about 50% of Americans will experience or witness a traumatic event in their lifetime .
It’s important to consider that experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event does not mean that a person will develop PTSD. While more than half of Americans will experience or witness a traumatic event in their lifetime, less than 7% of Americans will experience PTSD in their lifetime . An individual living with PTSD may suffer from debilitating experiences related to their trauma - including hypervigilance, agitation, flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, loss of interest or pleasure, intrusive thoughts, emotional detachment, withdrawal from friends or family, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts. PTSD is a very serious mental health concern.
When most people think of PTSD, they think of traumatic experiences like military combat – and it is absolutely true that our veterans are a population that is especially at-risk for developing PTSD. Studies have shown that somewhere between 12-20% of veterans experience PTSD [3-4], which is 2-3 times the national average.
At Eye Heart World, we serve women who have experienced multiple traumatic events. Studies have shown that among individuals who have experienced traumatic events, survivors of sexual violence have the highest rates of PTSD. Approximately 33% of individuals who have survived sexual violence will experience PTSD, which is nearly 5 times the national average .
This is why trauma awareness and trauma-informed care is crucial to our programming. Eye Heart World staff members and volunteers are trained to understand how trauma impacts an individual. With that knowledge, we can provide trauma-informed services that build secure, trusting bonds with our participants and help them learn that they are more than what they’ve been through. Within the program, our in-house therapist uses evidence-based modalities such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) to assist the participant in exploring and resolving their past trauma.
As we recognize PTSD Awareness Day, we solemnly reflect on the fact that our participants are survivors. If you’d like to give a special $27 donation toward trauma-informed care in honor of PTSD Awareness Day on June 27th, click here.
FUN ROSE CENTER IMPROVEMENTS IN PROGRESS
Sometimes staff bonding looks like painting a giant chalk wall!
Some fun improvements are coming to the Rose Center! Some of our staff spent a recent Friday afternoon painting a large chalk wall in the Rose Center lobby. While it’s still a work in progress, the plan is to have a big monthly calendar on the wall that can display our therapeutic events, a place for a quote of the month, and plenty of space for our participants to grab some chalk and add their own touch to the wall.
Below you’ll find some photos of the work we've done! :)
Gradus, J.L. (2019). Epidemiology of PTSD. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp#:~:text=Prevalence%20of%20PTSD%20in%20Veterans,-National%20Vietnam%20Veterans&text=The%20estimated%20lifetime %20prevalence%20of,study%20was%20conducted%20(8).
Kessler, R.C., Berglund, P., Delmer, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K.R., & Walters, E.E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6): 593-602.
Kang, H.K., Natelson, B.H., Mahan, C.M., Lee, K.Y., & Murphy, F.M. (2003). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-like illness among Gulf War Veterans: A population-based survey of 30,000 Veterans. American Journal of Epidemiology, 157(2):141-148.
Tanielian, T. & Jaycox, L. (Eds.). (2008). Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
Kessler RC, Rose S, Koenen KC, et al. How well can post-traumatic stress disorder be predicted from pre-trauma risk factors? An exploratory study in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. World Psychiatry 2014; 13:265.