Thanksgiving! It is my very favorite holiday and time of the year. It is a day for us all to pause and remind ourselves of the things in our life we are thankful for. However, I have to admit that simple practice can be difficult with all that is going on in our world today. Our phones and TVs shout to us daily what is wrong – so very wrong – in our world. Fires, shootings, conflict, homelessness … the trafficking of humans. The issues are big. The pain is terrible. The hopelessness real. So how do we remain thankful in the midst of it all? How do we count our blessings when so much is wrong? As I pondered this myself, I decided to ask some of our residents and staff at Courage House the very same questions. I was surprised their answers mirrored the one I came up with. They – we – were thankful for the people in their lives.
It seems when bad things happen in this world or to us individually, we begin to pay attention and notice the good people in our lives – the people who love us, encourage us and push us in healthy directions – the people we call family; whether they are our biological family or the people we choose to have in our lives. It seems, in the face of adversity and pain our hearts remind our heads of what and who is truly important; even if we disagree on politics or religion. It’s people.
As we are all reflecting on that very fact, we wanted you to know that the girls and staff at Courage House call you a part of the “courage” family – those of you who have followed us, liked us, supported and prayed for us. Here is a letter one of our residents wanted me to share with you…
I came to Courage House when I was 16 years old. I was being held in Juvenile Hall and was scared to death and I had to testify against a horrible man in the coming months. I just wanted to run away. I remember being a super stuck up brat when Stephanie Midthun (Community Relations Director for Courage Worldwide) came to visit me in Juvenile Hall and invited me to come live at Courage House.
Before that moment, I never believed anyone really cared about me or about my situation. A couple days later I had another visitor from “courage”. This time was a young woman named Liz, a thriving survivor of human trafficking. She shared her story with me and I fell in love instantly. I agreed to come to Courage House right then and there. So I was then released to Courage House on ankle monitor to ensure I would testify – which I did with over twenty people from “courage” being there to support me.
When I walked through the doors of Courage House, I was welcomed “home” with open arms, smiles, hugs and genuine love. Courage House definitely helped me find myself and helped me gain the strength I needed to testify. They definitely showed me that I was way better than just someone being sold for sex. I left Courage House because of a very immature teenager mindset. I cared more about having a cell phone than I did about being safe and loved. But they never stopped loving or caring for me.
I am now 23 years old with a 3 year-old son of my own and again calling Courage House home. With their support, I’m doing better than I‘ve ever done in my life. Thanks to Jenny (Courage Worldwide Founder/CEO) for never giving up on me and always giving me the love and support I needed. I appreciate all the help and support from everyone involved with Courage House – it is my home.
I really want to thank the donors for helping us young girls, victims of sex trafficking when you really did not have to. It means so much to each and every one of us. You not only changed our lives but you saved our lives.
Changing the world one individual at a time. That is our mantra around Courage Worldwide. Thank you for making that possible for Jamisha and other young women who call Courage House home.
My thanksgiving blessing for you this year is that you are surrounded by friends that feel like family and family who feel like friends.
Happy, happy Thanksgiving,