Introducing our 2018/2019 Grant Partner: Love146
“We do not take a ’one size fits all’ approach to the youth in our programs. We focus on the individual child and their needs and desires. We consider their vulnerabilities and cultural backgrounds then shape our programs accordingly. Because of this, what Love146 offers, both domestically and abroad, is unique, effective, and beautiful.”
-Dr. Stephanie Goins, Love146 Director of Program Development & Africa
With offices in Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines, Love146 is working to end child trafficking and exploitation around the world. Their programs address the biological, psychological, social, financial, and spiritual impacts of victimization, and help youth develop strategies to stay safe. In the United States, Love146 also conducts one-time interventions called “Rapid Responses” that provide at-risk youth with information, safety planning, and referral services related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The organization’s Prevention Education program is designed to reach children before traffickers do. Through its “Not a Number” curriculum and other tools, Love146 has impacted thousands of children in classroom and community settings, equipping them to recognize vulnerabilities and protect themselves and their peers from exploitation.
“We do not take a ’one size fits all’ approach to the youth in our programs. We focus on the individual child and their needs and desires.
-Dr. Stephanie Goins, Love146 Director of Program Development
Through an interview with Matthew Miller, Director of Development and Mobilization at Love146, we were able to learn even more about the organization. Miller shared:
“Any youth who is a confirmed victim of or at high-risk for human trafficking is eligible for Love146’s services. As part of the referral process, the referring agency completes an intake packet which must be signed by the youth’s legal guardian. Once the referral packet is complete, Love146 will meet with the youth to provide a Rapid Response. Rapid Responses are provided to youth across the state wherever they are located–in their home, in the hospital, in school, etc. Through Rapid Responses, Love146 establishes a safe relationship and provides the youth with information and safety planning.”
As part of the Rapid Response Program, Love146 has developed a backpack that contains critical resources in helping youths feel valued. The backpack carries a blanket, journal, rain poncho, teddy bear, toiletries, hotline numbers, an emergency phone (that only calls 911), and much more. When meeting with referred youths, Love146 gifts these backpacks to the youths that they come in contact with, providing a starting point to developing a relationship with the youth.
“Many of the youth immediately grab onto the teddy bears and hold them during the Rapid Responses. In going through the materials, youth often say, ‘How did you know I needed [fill in the blank]?’ For some, this can be a simple item such as Chapstick, for others it’s the journal or sketchpad.”
Miller said that Love146 social workers have responded to 378 Rapid Responses in the state of Connecticut. Of these youth, 93% reported learning new information and 88% reported intent to change their behavior as a result of their participation in the Rapid Response.
After the initial contact through the Rapid Response Program, Love146 reconnects with the youths’ referral agents, and several of the youth are then referred for Love146’s survivor programs. Love146’s survivor programs take these blossomed relationships a few steps further by providing long-term, specialized care for trafficked children. The survivor programs first started in the Philippines at The Round Home for girls and The White Home for boys.
Love146 social workers have responded to 378 Rapid Responses in the state of Connecticut. Of these youth, 93% reported learning new information and 88% reported intent to change their behavior as a result of their participation in the Rapid Response.
After the success of these two programs, Love146 brought the philosophy of the program to the U.S. “There are things that are consistent in the Philippines, the US, and the UK, where we also work with survivors, like a child never ages out of our care... There are also things that are very different. In the US, where we have lots of existing well-formed services, what is needed is a continuum of care, someone who can walk a child or youth through those services and be a constant in their lives.”
The U.S. Survivor Care program partners youths with families or homes that provide a loving, no pressure environment. Many of the children have a difficult time trusting after what they have experienced, and it takes time for them to learn that Love146 is there with them for the long haul. “We believe that relationship is what changes the story and creates opportunity for empowerment...a trusted friend and counselor in the context of a real relationship, navigating life, over time, is what creates the opportunity for change.” Because of Love146’s survivor programs, many children have grown into independent, flourishing adults after having experienced human trafficking or exploitation.
“We believe that relationship is what changes the story and creates opportunity for empowerment...a trusted friend and counselor in the context of a real relationship, navigating life, over time, is what creates the opportunity for change.”
Miller stated that the youth they reach, regardless of whether they are in the Philippines, the U.K., or the U.S., are amazed to hear stories of people giving money to help ensure their success. As a Dressember grant partner, Dressember advocates will have the chance to widen their impact, and help Love146 reach and care for these trafficked youths. Remember these youth as you consider registering for Dressember 2018, and consider showing them just how much you care about them by signing up as a Dressember advocate.
Raise your voice against slavery this December!
Commit to wearing a dress or tie every day in December. You'll challenge yourself, expand your knowledge on modern slavery, and be equipped to lead your community in the fight to end human trafficking. Registration is open for Dressember 2018 and fundraising has already started! Be a part of the impact for our local and global partners by creating your campaign page today!
About the Author
Galaxy tights, brightly patterned socks, and a steaming cup of tea in her T. Rex mug often accompany Megan Shupp when she sits down to write. After graduating from Thomas Edison State University with her Bachelor in English and earning a Graduate Certificate in Editing from UC Berkeley, she is excited to use her passion for writing and stories to join Dressember in their fight against slavery.