MIAMI – Kristi House was one of four organizations in the country awarded a U.S. Department of Justice grant for its program for commercially sexually exploited children, Project GOLD. The three-year, $450,000 grant awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will add a community mentoring component to Project GOLD, and expand services to boys, transgender and questioning youth.
In separate news also related to the organization’s work on behalf of child sex trafficking victims, Kristi House’s Executive Director Trudy Novicki was named one of 10 recipients of the international C-10 Award. The C10 Award recognizes 10 global leaders and their fight against the trafficking of children. Sophie Stenbeck Family Foundation, World Childhood Foundation and Reach for Change co-founded the award to support and acknowledge entrepreneurial leaders of the child rights field. The C10 Award Forum will be held November 3, 2014, in Stockholm, Sweden.
“Trudy has made a lasting and profound impact not just for Kristi House, but for all children exposed to commercial sexual exploitation throughout our state,” Kristi House President Juan Trescastro said.
Kristi House began its program for commercially sexually exploited children in 2007, one of the first Children’s Advocacy Centers in the country to recognize children exploited in sex trafficking as victims of child sexual abuse, not perpetrators of the crime of prostitution.
“Trudy truly cares about this community and these child victims,” said State Representative Jeanette Nunez, co-sponsor of the Florida Safe Harbor Act.
Kristi House’s Project GOLD operates a Drop In Center where children receive services to help them escape sexual exploitation. Support groups, education, therapy, enrichment and recreational programs are provided to help exploited girls ages 11 to 19 restore their lives.
Under the new DOJ grant, Project GOLD will develop strategies to recruit, train, support, and maintain community mentors; and provide a comprehensive array of support services to empower girls, boys, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to move past their experiences with victimization to develop their full potential.
New community partners in the program include the Miami Biscayne Bay Chapter of The Links, Inc., one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Survivors’ Pathway is another partner in the project. This Miami organization specializes in counseling and advocacy services for the L.G.B.T.Q.I. and Latino communities, survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking and other types of victimization. Mentors will also come from the Crossbridge Church, a powerhouse, Christian faith-based organization with several locations in Miami, and from among students in the Human Trafficking tract within Florida International University’s Department of Criminal Justice.
Sophie Stenbeck of the Sophie Stenbeck Family Foundation invests in and channels the knowhow of three generations of entrepreneurs into ventures supporting the most vulnerable, women and children.
World Childhood Foundation was founded in 1999 by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, who felt a compelling need to address the social and emotional poverty of children. Childhood works to prevent abuse and exploitation of children, by supporting and implementing projects all over the world. www.childhood.org
Reach for Change, co-founded by the Kinnevik Group and Sara Damber, identifies and supports Change Leaders – exceptional individuals who have; a strong desire to promote children’s rights, an innovative idea to change the world for children, and the passion and the drive to create this change. www.reachforchange.org