My name is Christal and I am one of the new summer interns! You will be hearing from me for the next couple months so I thought I should spend a little bit of this first blog introducing myself. I am a senior at Biola University studying Communication Studies. I’m giving you guys a warning…I’m not typically a very funny writer. However, I am passionate about Project 7’s mission statement, which is: “To ensure everyone around the globe has access to fundamental human needs for a healthy life.” Many of us live incredibly privileged lives and do not realize that with just a little bit of effort, we could help our fellow human beings around the world. With that being said, I am going to explore a major issue that many Americans do not spend much time thinking about—poverty in the United States.
When thinking about poverty, the typical image that comes to mind is homeless people crowded under tunnels and bridges in major cities. However, it is a myth that the hungry of America are confined to cities. In fact, the Brookings Institution released a new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty, which tells of the staggering amount of impoverished people in the suburbs. Statistically speaking, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube tell in the book that in America today, there are 16.4 million people in poverty in suburban communities. According to a report released by the Census Bureau last year, 49.7 million Americans live in poverty. To put that into perspective, that is about 16% of our country’s population. These numbers illustrate just how pervasive poverty is. I know it is absolutely overwhelming to think about, but we cannot allow the bigness of the problem to paralyze us and we cannot demand that this epidemic will be fixed quickly. In fact, it is almost a guarantee that the solution will be slow. However, there are steps that can be taken today to aid a person in need.
To begin, realize the worth of those in poverty as a fellow human being. The norm is to walk past the homeless without a second glance. However, this only perpetuates the false notion that those who have not are not worth the same as those who have. Secondly, get to know the impoverished in your community and pinpoint where their needs lie. Offer to donate goods, services, and time to help your neighbors climb out of poverty. For example, if a child from a low-income home is in need of extra help at school, offer to tutor him. Thirdly, support the homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, and other organizations are actively involved in helping those in need.
I know that we have all heard these steps before, but guys, this is important! Poverty is prevalent in our own country—our communities—and it is time to do what we can. And honestly, if all else fails, pick up some “Feed the Hungry” Project 7 gum or mints!
With like-minded goals as Project 7, and many other socially conscious brands headquartered in Orange County, iSanctuary (International Sanctuary) is striving to make positive changes in the lives of girls rescued from human trafficking. Founded by Stephanie Pollaro and Wendy Dailey in 2007, iSanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rescued girls the opportunity to gain dignity while providing them with the means to become self-sufficient by earning their own income. By teaching survivors to make jewelry, iSanctuary empowers them with invaluable skills while paying them 100% above the fair trade wage. In addition, iSanctuary strives to raise public awareness about the plight of exploited individuals around the world.
When working with survivors of human trafficking, trust must first and foremost be established. These girls who have been traumatized and abused have endured countless betrayals and broken promises. One such girl named Seema stands out in our hearts. She had been with iSanctuary from the beginning and was a natural at making jewelry. Seema was understandably skeptical about all that Stephanie proposed - after all, she had been in aftercare homes for many years and had been disappointed by many unfulfilled promises.
One Saturday afternoon as Stephanie and Sunita (iSanctuary Operations Manager, India) were teaching the girls from one aftercare home to make jewelry, Seema began to laugh quietly to herself. When asked to share her joke, Seema smiled and said, “It’s not a joke, I’m laughing because look at us…we’re making jewelry…I never believed this would happen!” Though iSanctuary staff had been coming to the home to conduct classes for nearly a year, girls were still hesitant to open up and trust. Having Seema share her thoughts with the group was an amazing step towards healing.
There is nothing more powerful than the laughter and smile from a rescued girl. It’s a long journey before it emerges, but when it does, expect dignity and transformation to follow. iSanctuary staff and survivors alike, gain trust for one another within an atmosphere reflected in love, grace, understanding and patience. iSanctuary is humbled to make a significant impact in the lives of the girls and women they serve.
Jewelry and gift items handmade by survivors of human trafficking are available to purchase with purpose® at www.isanctuary.org
Jewelry is handmade by rescued girls in Mumbai, India. Orders, products, and packages are prepared by women trafficked and rescued in Southern California.
*International Sanctuary has served over 250 girls rescued from sex trafficking, and women trafficked into the U.S. from six different regions globally.
For more info, visit www.isanctuary.org
To learn about the signs of human trafficking and modern slavery, call the Human Trafficking Hotline 888.3737.888
We love getting to know people who share our passion for world change. That’s why we were very excited to connect with Erin.
Erin is a senior at King Philip Regional High School in MA. She’s a leader and avid volunteer in her community. Last year, Erin reached out to us and told us about her participation in the upcoming DECA program (an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management). As part of the competition, Erin had to prepare a 30 page manual and present it in front of a panel of judges. Needless to say, Erin chose Project 7 as her topic and she rocked it! With all of her hard work she placed 1st place in districts and states round. Last month she competed internationally where she won a medal for placing in top 10. We are so proud of her!
Thank you Erin for your hard work and your passion for Project 7. We’ve loved getting to know you.
Spring-cleaning! It’s time go through this last year’s accumulation of things. Have you kept every piece of clothing that you’ve bought in the last five years? Has your collection of books begun to weigh down the shelf? Who else could use and enjoy these things? To you it has become clutter. But to another it’s exactly what he needs.
Here are three tips to help you find another man’s treasure while you’re sorting through your things:
The 6-Month Rule
If you haven’t used it recently, you won’t use it anytime soon. If you haven’t worn those pants or shirt in the past six months, you may not wear them in the next six months. A few exceptions to this rule is things that are used yearly—so don’t give up your backyard barbeque you use every summer. Things that you use on a regular basis—cooking utensils, your favorite jewelry, that over-read book—should be kept.
Consider how much space you have to keep your things. If you have a small house or apartment (and you don’t plan on moving anytime soon), you may want to consider creating a little more space, or saving money by getting a smaller storage unit. None of the extra furniture stuffing your garage or storage unit will see the light of day until at least 5 years from now. Wouldn’t it be better used by someone who needs it more than you do?
What is Significant?
Most of us have the typical pack-rat rationalizations. “Oh! But my aunt gave me this—I couldn’t possibly give it away,” we tell ourselves. But the fact is, that the only things you should be holding on to is what your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren would appreciate. Your grandmother’s formal jewelry and your grandfather’s old gun are certainly worth keeping. The old baby clothes could go—but perhaps your daughter would like to keep her old baptismal dress. The rest—that old bike, the old chest of drawers, the old toys—could go to those who have little.
How to Give it Away
Once you’ve gathered everything, there are several options to help you give away your things to those who need it.
- Charities are a great way to get your things to those who truly need it.
- Thrift Stores sell your things at a cheap price and then use the money earned for charity. Not only do your things go to people who need it, but they also generate money for other causes.
- The Curb is surprisingly a great place for your things to be given away quickly. The only downside to this is that you may be just giving your things to opportunists, not necessarily to those who need it.
- Your Friends and Neighbors surely need an item or two. Give your old coffee table to your newlywed friends, or give away your toddler’s newborn clothes to your pregnant friend.
Whatever you give away or to whomever you give, it doesn’t matter. You will be benefitted as well. You will not only have more space, but you will gain that strange gratification for helping someone in need. Take the opportunity during your spring-cleaning to let your extra things become another man’s treasure.
Jami Castleton is a freelance writer who has a passion for giving back and sharing her knowledge with local companies. She writes for companies like U.S. Storage in Arlington.