Caring for Caregivers
In our years as an anti-trafficking organization, She Has A Name has discovered that those who care for survivors of human trafficking need just as much support as survivors themselves as they holistically love and care for the broken. Dee Dee is a survivor of trafficking who has now started her own drop-in center called Life Beyond the Streets in the Linden area on Cleveland Avenue, a major site for trafficking in Columbus. She Has A Name sent a few volunteers to help her clean out the former storage room at her church to prepare it for serving the women. Tears were shed seeing her dream become a reality knowing that she could love her sisters who were still out on the streets.
That was in July of 2016. In October we invited Dee Dee to speak on our survivor care panel at our annual gala. In preparation for her speech, we asked how members of the community had been supporting her in her work. “I can’t think of anything,” she said, “I get a few likes on Facebook and words of affirmation when I tell people about what I do, but NO ONE takes that first step to actually love their neighbor.” She shared this message in front of an audience of over 200 people on the night of the gala and through the grace of God Dee Dee got the recognition she deserved and the support she had been missing since July. Words of affirmation, pledges to volunteer, and checks written to financially support her ministry were poured out to this deacon of mercy using her story and her gifts to serve those others neglect. At the end of the night we loaded her car with leftover food to serve to the women at the drop in center. She came up to me (Courtney) at the end of the night with a big hug and tears. “I haven’t felt this much love EVER. And I mean that. You don’t even know what kind of joy this brings me.”