Wow, what a difference a year makes... As I sit back and reflect on 2016, the Safety Compass inaugural year, I am profoundly humbled at the growth, and rich blessing that we have experienced as an organization, thanks to all of you.
In our first calendar year of formal existence we took a rural grassroots effort that operated from my kitchen table, and turned it into a best practices model of culturally specific advocacy, emergency response, and case management for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and young adults in the Willamette Valley. Through partnerships with other reputable organizations including Liberty House and the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, we were able to help establish a CSEC sub-committee within Marion County’s Child Abuse Response Team. We built a partnership with Horses of Hope to provide Equine Assisted Advocacy and Skills Training for survivors at a world class stable in South Salem. We co-wrote, and were awarded a large 3 year federal grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (VOCA) in collaboration with the Center for Hope and Safety. This amazing partnership will allow us to seamlessly house adult survivors of this crime, within a trauma informed housing model. We built and formalized a partnership with A Village for One to do community based mental health with our program’s participants. We created and implemented an 8-week support group curriculum. We maintained and enhanced a wonderful working relationship with Compassion First (CF), who has been our largest fiscal sponsor organization, and we trained their staff and volunteers. We simply cannot overstate our gratitude for the mentorship and encouragement of CF, as they have been a large force behind our growth this year.
At the heart of all this effort is our prioritization of direct service support for survivors healing from the aftermath of the trauma of commercial sexual exploitation. This year Safety Compass was also able to serve many survivors, both in-person and over the phone. Our numbers have given us a tangible argument for the dire need for this kind of services in this region. This year (Calculated since April, the month we officially became a non-profit), we were privileged to serve 29 unique and valuable survivors in a crisis intervention capacity, as well as an on-going case management capacity for all who desired to access on-going support. A total of 1, 495 direct service/ crisis-contacts were made with these survivors. We had 7,230 non-crisis related contacts, we did outreach to 47 organizations and trained 475 people.
We met one young woman who stated; “I heard about advocates years ago, and was always hoping I might be able to have my own. I’m so glad you finally came for me”. We met another teen who had been trafficked across the United States and said that she didn’t think she would ever be able to make any friends because she had so much anxiety around meeting people, for fear that they might kidnap her. When we first began working with her it was almost impossible for her to even venture out to attend school. Now this young lady is enthusiastic about working with her advocate and session instructor during equine assisted therapy each week and speaks regularly about how horses have allowed her a reason to want to brave the outside world, and how these safe interactions give her hope that she might be able to make human friendships one day.
None of this would be possible without you. Our Board gave countless hours this year to do the exhaustive work of formalizing our 501c3 status. Our volunteers gave selflessly behind the scenes to make sure survivors received birthday presents and Christmas gifts. Our donors helped lift the Safety Compass vision off the ground and gave it wings so that victims of this terrible crime could receive the healing support they deserve. We are so incredibly grateful for your support. On behalf of the amazing survivors we serve, thank you for joining us in this journey to restore and heal this community one child at a time. We cannot wait to see what 2017 has instore for us.
With a grateful heart,