Meet Carlos Rivera

If anyone could change the world purely based on smiles and enthusiasm, it just might be Carlos Rivera. This first-time advocate has dived headfirst into Dressember with no signs of hiding his heart for justice and excitement for the challenge.

Carlos is a freshman at Northern Virginia Community College who recognizes his privilege of living a life untouched by human trafficking, in which he and his three sisters exist safely and are free to pursue their own aspirations, unlike those trapped in modern-day slavery. After hearing about Dressember, his mind was consumed by the issue, its victims, and how he could play a role in the conversation.

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Overcoming Shame: Mai Ling's Story

Mai Ling was a normal teenage girl from China. While she had big dreams for her life, she lived every day covered in shame. Shame because she was a girl. Shame because she was the youngest child in her family. Shame because she believed she was not good enough. Shame because she thought she would never accomplish anything.

But in the midst of it all, she still longed for the day she could be an adult, live on her own and have an amazing job. So the day she was told about a job opportunity in the beautiful country of Greece, she thought all of her dreams were coming true. She packed up all of her things in China and moved her life to the other side of the world in the hopes that her dreams would finally begin.

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Ten Thoughts of a Dressember Advocate

Whether this is your first year advocating with us or you are a seasoned professional, there are some moments that come with Dressember that are uniquely Dressember. In what other situation are you able to join thousands across the globe in an advocacy movement through fashion? From the awkward to the amazing, you’re not alone in this journey. Here are the ten thoughts common in the Dressember advocate experience.

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Namaste and Crochet

At Dressember, we believe that everybody has a role to play in bringing justice and peace to the world. Today on the blog, we are hearing from Dominique Calvillo, the founder of Namaste and Crochet. Dominique is using her knack for crocheting to shed light on the importance of art therapy. Conversations with Dominique will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to breathe a little deeper and love a little more.

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Meet the Designer: Marissa Heyl

We recently released a kimono on our web shop in collaboration with Symbology. Symbology "employs women artisans from India and the West Bank, each bringing beautiful cultural artforms to their collections. Symbology aims not only to produce beautiful clothing but also to preserve traditional art forms in each garment — from Indian block printing to Palestinian weaving and Native American embroidery." The custom kimono features Symbology's signature baby cacti print in black & ivory on one side and a vintage poppy flower in a soft cream & grey on the other. The styling options are limitless--throw it on over a crisp button-down and your fav jeans for a casual getup, or pair with a dress for a night out. Plus, it is just the right weight to keep you toasty during the chilly months. Today we're introducing you to the designer of this gorgeous reversible kimono, founder of Symbology, Marissa Heyl.

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Trapped at the Kiln: Justice Served

BANGALORE, INDIA – On March 10, 2017, justice was served for 12 former bonded labor slaves, as the wealthy brick kiln owner who had once trapped and abused them was found guilty for his crimes.

Back in 2010, this kiln owner had personally recruited impoverished women and men from small villages several hours outside Bangalore. He promised the families good wages to work in his kiln, but instead forced them to labor more than 12 hours a day for only a fraction of their promised pay. One of these families was Roopa's whose story of rescue we highlighted this Monday.

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The Pursuit of Justice: Dressember Internship Stories

This summer, between my junior and senior years of college, I worked an internship at an insurance brokerage and risk management consulting firm. I was trying out the 9-to-5 grind but was mostly after work experience for the old resumé. I didn’t feel like I was actually using my specific skills or gifts, nor was I finding passion and joy in my performance. I was grateful for this gig to pay the bills, but I could tell this direction wasn’t the right fit. I felt like a small child surrounded by a forest of trees so tall I had to lean my head all the way back to see the tops. I wondered, “What was out there for me?

One day in June, a metaphorical breadcrumb dropped in my path in the middle of my lunch break. It was an e-mail from the Dressember Foundation that read, “We Want YOU: Call for 2017 Interns,” and it was like a small beam of light flitted across my face. I blinked. I hadn’t read past the subject line, but my mind was racing.

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The Truth about Child Labor

As I type these words, my daughter rests quietly in her room after a full, playful day at preschool. She comes home with colorful pictures to hang across our mantle and the knowledge of new letters and numbers to scribble on her chalkboard. She’s able to just be a kid, with room to learn and grow mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s her right, yet for 152 million other children globally it’s not even a possibility.

Children have a natural curiosity and magic about them, because there is something special about the freedoms that come with growing up and learning about the world. Sadly, child labor is a very real global issue that’s hindering the life and positive outcomes for so many. The International Labor Organization estimates that of the 152 million children laborers in 2016, 73 million of those are in hazardous work that is dangerously impacting their mental and physical development.

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Found in the Sex Trade: Milena's Story

She met her in drug rehab. Milena had finally made the choice to get help and get off drugs. She had gotten clean through a center in the Netherlands, found a job, got her own apartment and was on the way to creating a new start and a new life for herself.

Not long after she began heading in a healthy direction, a friend from rehab called her. She wanted to have coffee and catch up. Milena traveled to a nearby town to meet her old friend. But what she didn’t know was her so-called friend had ulterior motives.

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Setting Goals and Meeting Them: RuthAnn Deveney

Dressember advocates often find creative ways to advocate. One advocate, RuthAnn Deveney, has spent the past three years going beyond the challenge of wearing dresses to wearing the same dress for the whole duration of December and setting monetary goals enough to fund 10 rescue operations.

RuthAnn first joined Dressember in 2014 because of her familiarity with International Justice Mission, one of Dressember's partners.

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