The picture attached is from a panel I was on hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church in April. Various partners were invited to help the church hear the concerns and opportunities from the larger community. In the photo, I am seated between Santa Barbara City Mayor Helene Schneider and Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf who were able to give their input as local civic leaders.
I was able to share about Uffizi’s work with friends without homes, at risk youth, and our new partnership with the District Attorney’s Task Force to help prevent local sex trafficking and help local survivors. I was also able to speak to the upcoming work we will engage in along side RISE (Resiliency Interventions for Sexual Exploitation) to help build a faith community collaborative to serve those who have experienced sexual exploitation, and a Creative Housing Solutions Committee to tackle the unique housing needs of survivors. The ultimate goal for the collaborative is to find 12 faith communities to commit long term to hearing about the practical needs of survivors and resourcing these individuals. Our Creative Housing Solutions subcommittee will be looking to find a day center for RISE, and the find apartment units for survivors as the RISE team seeks to provide the needed supportive services.
As many of you may have followed Uffizi for a while and specifically the work of Kyli Larson, who initiated our work, might already know – sex trafficking is happening in our county and with local girls and boys. It is no longer a question, but a reality we have to face. Kyli and I are very excited to bring new support for those who have been traumatized by being trafficked in our county.
We know we need God and need your prayers ultimately for this to be a success. We ask for your prayers and if you have an interest in joining our faith community collaborative or have ideas for our Creative Housing Solutions group, please reach out. Both of these will start meeting in either May or June.
The good news from the panel discussion is that Trinity Lutheran may have an interest in joining the collaborative and become one of our early partners! Please pray for us, and if you have any questions you can always call or email me.