Lindsey Ellis our Director of Operations asked me the other day, “In your wildest dreams, 6 years ago, did you ever think The Covering House would be where we are today?”
My response, “Never!”
This question was asked as Lindsey was packing up her computer and training materials to head to Alabama to train their task force. Just a few weeks prior, she was contacted by the FBI in that area to provide training to law enforcement. (Side note, they want her to continue to train them.)
Just a few weeks prior to that invitation to train, The Covering House was contacted by the State of Indiana requesting that we create a contract with them to receive referrals. They too have identified many girls who are victims of trafficking. An Indiana representative drove to our Long Term Home to talk with us and review our program. From that initial meeting a partnership was created. As I write this, we are receiving our first Indiana girl into the home.
A couple more unexpected events have occurred over the last few months: Lindsey will be presenting a paper on caring for sex trafficking victims in a residential setting at the largest conference for residential facilities in 2016, and she and I testified just yesterday at State of Missouri Task Force meeting. (Read and listen here: Scroll down to the second audio link hear my complete testimony http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/slim-resources-high-need-challenge-advocates-human-trafficking-survivors
Over the last 3 weeks I’ve had a Deputy Juvenile Officer and Detective Sergeant from St. Louis ask me if we could possibly consider expanding our services soon.
Detective Sergeant “Pam”(not her real name) of the Supervisor Intelligence Division asked me yesterday, “Dedee, I’m so glad to see you. I want to set up a time to talk with you about how we can work together to get more beds and help more girls.”
My response, “That sounds wonderful. In fact our Board of Directors will be putting together a long term strategic plan starting in October. How many beds were you thinking?”
Me with a nervous laughter, “um…ok?”
My point is this, never in my wildest dreams did I think that The Covering House in 6 short years would be receiving national attention nor needing to expand so quickly. The good news is that TCH team is doing great work and people are noticing and are appreciative. The bad news is that our services are still desperately needed.
As we enter this new phase for The Covering House, I want to say how grateful I am for all those who help care for our girls. The continuous support of many allow us to sustain our services.
However, as we look to expand, we will not only need the continuous support that we now receive, but additional support from others.
I am being asked constantly, “How can I help.” One immediate opportunity is to come to our event
Rock ‘N’ Roll for Refuge. It will be a fun evening and you can also help us cover the cost of caring. Please sign up here.
Until next month, I sincerely thank you.