Happy autumn, everyone! It’s my favorite time of year!
Firstly, I apologize for being out of the loop. Uffizi recently switched databases, so our financial contributions and our consistent communications have been slowly re-adjusting. Thank you for bearing with us through the change!
I’m learning to practice the art of gratitude for small movements! After continuing to present the Needs Assessment over the last few months, I have realized that the report has provided incentive for County agencies to take a closer look at current responses to child sex trafficking — a positive and rewarding shift.
In a similar vein, after our July hotel outreach in Summerland and Carpinteria, one motel requested further training. Imagine the fascinating experience of walking into a small, dimly lit back room with seven hotel staff present, solely Spanish speakers, all somewhat anxious. A team of us speak in English, translate into Spanish, each attempting to introduce the topic of human trafficking to motel staff. This collaborative moment was both uncomfortable and energizing — I’m continually amazed at the experiences I am privileged to undertake.
While we had success outreaching to Lompoc, Summerland, and Carpinteria, hotel outreach has taken a new direction. After insight from law enforcement, as well as volunteers from our June Lompoc outreach, we are tailoring the volunteer-based outreach in favor of a more strategic fit. A new pilot will first take place in Santa Maria, where local advocates have connected with local hotel owners and managers. We will now train the staff of those hotels individually. This approach was advised by many, and I believe it will be more effective given our community’s current approach and responses to trafficking. I’m grateful that we launched the catalyst for this countywide movement, and now get to interact with its effects!
I am excited to announce a new project that I will be investing time in, one that will engage local churches and the faith community in the issue of human trafficking in Santa Barbara County. I am excited for its prospects, especially because Uffizi has a history of collaboration and bridge building between local government agencies and Church-body. I hope that this engagement with people of faith will prevent exploitation of children and adults, as well as offer resources and hopeful alternatives for survivors. Please email me if you’re interested in learning more!
Thank you for your support of me and of Uffizi Order! May your autumn be full of color.
In the spirit of Shalom,