Less than two weeks ago the Wichita community was reminded how close human trafficking really is to each of us. The arrest of 7 individuals, one as young as 19, for sex related crimes in our community is a stark reminder how closely connected we each are to one of the largest criminal industries in the world. Human trafficking has many forms and many faces, and organizations throughout Wichita are working together to raise awareness about the crime, its nature, causes and damage to victims.
Raise My Head Foundation is relatively new to the Wichita community.
In 2014 after learning that sex trafficking was an issue in Wichita, founding director, Vicki Bond began a journey to bring a place where women can heal to the community. “We are the only 2-year restorative residential program for women who have self-identified a need and desire to transition out of lives of sex-trafficking and abuse into a healthier lifestyle,” says Vicki Bond. Raise My Head Foundation is simply women helping other women.
In order to be viewed as effective, programs for victims of sex trafficking should meet the basic and universal human needs for safe housing and sustainable employment. RMHF contributes to the broadening of the definition of trafficking “victims” and what their needs are in terms of healing and re-integration into healthy communities. We strongly desire to see more groups and communities actually doing “the work” with survivors and not just meeting to discuss how it might be done. Creating partnerships with already existing community service providers and obtaining a residence for housing needs is fairly straightforward—in our experience these methods result in rapid, positive outcomes for individual women.
As a community, the women of RMHF have adopted 24 principles and beliefs to live by. The most important principle is love is greater (#loveisgreater). Love is greater than the violent past we have survived. Love is greater than the abuse we have endured. We believe there is hope. We believe restoration is possible. We believe there should be sanctuary, based on the ideal of community, for women on the streets ready to live a life of freedom and health.
RMHF is supported by community and takes no state or federal funding.
We stand as a witness to the truth that in the end, love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the streets.
Recently RMHF was blessed with the addition of Executive Director Pat Jones to help lead us into the next phase of growth. “The women have been working diligently on the launch of The Cottage Collective coming this fall,” says Pat Jones. “From concept to reality, the women have played an integral part in creating a business featuring handmade, natural body & home products from which they will continue to learn an invaluable skill set that is applicable in both business and everyday life.”
How to get involved with Raise My Head Foundation:
The Cottage Collective will debut at this year’s Boots & Barrels Gala on September 22, 2018. The Gala is a wonderful opportunity for the community to get to know the women, to see what Raise My Head Foundation has been able to accomplish with your support, and learn about our future direction. With plans to reach more women through a second residency already in motion, there is a need to also grow our community of volunteers. Whether it is transportation for the women, group work days at the house, or getting more deeply involved in some way, every willing heart is needed and appreciated. If you are interested in getting involved or attending Boots & Barrels Gala 2018, please visit www.raisemyhead.org or follow along on Facebook.
One of residents recently said: “If a woman is given a community of trust, support, acceptance and unconditional love, in a Christ-centered environment, a woman can find her way home to restored relationships and a peace that only God understands.”
Raise My Head Foundation is a strong vision and we are on a mission to combat not only the present trafficking circumstances, but also to alter an entire culture—a culture that allows circumstances such as these to exist.
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