Week 8: The Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons

August 12th, 2013
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Rebecca and I outside Eat. Dance. Be Free.

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

This final blog post will include my last week as well as my wrap up half week.  I am truly floored at how quickly my summer has gone by.  I have loved every minute regardless of how stressful, scary or frustrating those moments were. Speaking of all three of the adjectives, my event was last weekend! It happened, and people came! I was shocked.  The week before I had every nightmare possible about the event, anything that you could imagine going wrong is what I imagined and 100 things no sane person would think of.

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A group of very talented musicians played all night for those brave enough to dance!

 

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I made the centerpeices myself with flowers from the local farmers market.

Did things go wrong? Heck yes.  Did we recover and still have an amazing evening? Of course.  It was a blast and my friends and family were amazingly supportive.  I met so many fun, interesting and well connected people and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  There were about 100 people there at the peak of the event and the night was sunny and beautiful.  It was over in a flash and I almost passed out in the car on the way home. We had sushi, Asian salads, Asian wings, all kinds of vegetable tempura, pot stickers and much more.  We had drinks of all kinds, people even drank enough to try tango dancing with the professionals that we brought in.  The band played beautifully whenever I stopped running around and actually listened to them. I made all the centerpieces myself and everyone complimented them. The raffle was very successful and our items looked great.  The evening didn’t go perfectly, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

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It is crazy to be writing thank you notes for an event that I feel like I started planning just yesterday.  My boss was very happy with the event and it actually ended up making a good amount of money for our cause! I am very relieved to be done but I have learned so much from this process and part of me wished I could give it another try. I just feel like I could make it even better given a second try.

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From left to right: Rebecca Kotz, Patrick Attkinson, Claire McGuire, Ross Acampora, Jon Okstad, and Katie Solstad

Because this is my last post I wanted to quickly talk about my co-workers and everything I learned from them and then look at the overall lessons I have garnered from this experience. The people who work at ITEMP and The GODS CHILD Project are a pretty amazing group.  I will start with my bosses.  Jon Okstad and Katie Wolfe have taught me an immense amount.  They are so professional, yet never cold. Katie is incredibly sweet and has taught me that honey really is more effective than vinegar, a lesson that has very often gone over my head.  Jon is a taskmaster that GETS THINGS DONE, his commitment to his work and belief in our programs is contagious and he has shown me how powerful leading my example can be.

Rebecca and Ross were the interns who I worked with every week, they were my comrades in the trenches and I will miss them so much.  Ross was great at networking and was constantly giving me pointers on how to better market myself.  I am usually not focused on image or connections and would prefer to just keep my head down and work, I forget how important networking and marketing yourself can be and Ross was great at reminding me.  He made me realize that it didn’t really matter how good I was at my job if I didn’t have the connections or marketing skills to get a job in the first place. Rebecca was an incredible influence this summer as well.  She has a true passion and fire for righting the injustices in the world.  Not only did she inspire me with her own dedication but she also validated my own desire and passion for these issues.  Often times when you are radical about recognizing human rights violations and trying to fix them people think you are a fanatic.  It is an uncomfortable subject that most would rather not talk about and many figure that the problems will just take care of themselves.  Rebecca’s unapologetic attitude about bringing these issues to peoples attention and her drive to fix them made me feel so much more comfortable committing myself to this cause and pursuing it in a fashion that was as dedicated and passionate as I think it deserves.

I have also learned that although no organizations is perfect there are places out there doing some pretty amazing work for those less fortunate than themselves.  I have made connections with all kinds of amazing and inspiring people at this job.  I have figured out that although I don’t want to work specifically with human trafficking victims that I do want to work with those who are having their rights violated.  I have learned an incredible amount about the non-profit world and I am not entirely sure if I want to work for a non-profit or not. I think I will be better suited working in the government trying to fix things in a different way.  I certainly do like the sort of rouge way that non-profits swoop in on a problem and try to do something about it without waiting for all the gears in government to start turning.

I loved Minneapolis and think it is a pretty great city, I would certainly live here again.  My friends from this summer were amazing and I will miss them and the city more than I can express here. It has been an incredible summer and I have the fellowship program at Cornell as well as those here at the Institute to thank for it. Thank you so much.

Week 7: Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons

August 9th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

The event seems to be coming at me at 8 billion miles an hour.  There are so many last minute things to do.  I am like a tornado at work office to office in seconds.  Just call me the Flash.  Seriously though everyone is being so supportive and ticket sales are way up which is amazing and relieving.  Between arranging contracts, branding, marketing emails, sponsorship lunches, and good old fashioned word of mouth I have exhausted every channel that I can think of to get the word out about this event.  I am scheming all sorts of ways to get the guests to donate at the event as well, my hope is that this event will result in much more awareness for our issues and a few more donors.

Coordinating volunteers has proven especially challenging, everyone has an agenda and a preference, all of which make placement and job assignment very difficult.  Add to that the fact that I am young and only an intern and we get a lot of people who don’t want to listen to me.  I have had to play the diplomat many times while I have a million other things to fix.  It makes me sympathize with those people who end up snapping at their volunteers and employees.  People are certainly the hardest thing to manage effectively. There is this incredibly fine line to walk between giving those who you are managing enough leash so that you get the best return on their unique talents and making sure that you don’t have people destroying boundaries and causing miscommunications.

This last weekend was the “Empowered” concert which was put on by the International Abolitionist network to raise awareness in the twin cities for the issue of human trafficking. We were asked to come and present because they were impressed with our earlier presentation at their meeting.   There were about 300 people at the concert and it was a beautiful day for an outdoor event.  Patrick spoke and the organizers of the event were impressed by his energy and passion for the issue.  It is so great to get our name out there seeing as we are still relatively new and unknown in the twin cities. We were also able to sell a bunch of our free trade items that are made in Guatemala and then donated to our program there.

Speaking of fair trade we had an amazing meeting with a sponsor for our event.  I walked into this beautiful art gallery and free trade shop called Regla De Oro which translates to “the golden rule” and asked if they would be willing to sponsor or donate something for the raffle.  They were great, certainly lived up to their name.  They donated some expensive and beautiful items for the raffle and then we had a discussion on ways they would be willing to further support us.  They offered to have a gallery opening for us and said that we could use their space for future receptions for free! They were an amazing contact to make. I found her attitude to be both refreshing and inspiring.  It is possible to be a responsible and civically involved business owner and still do well.

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We are also working on researching and prepping for a really cool speaking opportunity that Patrick is going to in the early fall. There is a conference being held in North Dakota called the Bakken Oil Expo.  This is a huge Expo being put on by one of the companies that is drilling in the northern part of the state and it is going to be required for many of the management and workers to attend.  There will be all kinds of speakers and events and we will be one of them.  They want Patrick to come and speak on the problem of human trafficking and sexual violence in the area and how to design training programs for oil field workers that will actually work.  We have been researching the issue all week and it is certainly shocking how few resources woman and children who are being exploited have in the region surrounding the oil fields.  Furthermore the more we look into the issue the more we see that this problem is especially severe in this region.  The amounts of rapes and sexual assaults as well as forced prostitution in the Williston region have skyrocketed since the oil boom and that puts their average numbers way above the averages for the rest of the country.  It is a good thing that we are going to speak but there is so much more that needs to be done to right this injustice.  That seems like a constant refrain here, that there is just so much to be done and so little time to do it.

Week 6: Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons

August 2nd, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

Planning this event is starting to take over my every waking moment.  On top of that I am starting to have dreams, nay nightmares, about August 11th.  I really had no idea what sort of work and commitment goes into planning an event like this. It is going to be really cool to see everything come together.  All of the stuff that I have ordered for the event is arriving and it is like Christmas.  The wristbands and centerpieces are coming together nicely.

These will be put into all the customers bills at Tiger Sushi until our event!

These will be put into all the customers bills at Tiger Sushi until our event!

Yesterday Becca and I decided to pound the pavement and get the word out about the event by walking around Uptown and talking with people face to face.  It was great to get out of the office and it was a fabulously sunny day.  We hung up about 40 posters and spoke to all kinds of people.  We even got another sponsor for the event and a beautiful fair trade necklace for our raffle.

We also had a lunch meeting at Tiger Sushi (no complaints about working over lunch that day) and figured out the placement of everything for the event. We also discussed logistics with the general manager and dropped off the beautifully designed and printed credit card inserts for them to put out at both of their locations. Ross, another intern, was able to secure the support of a group in town called the Latino Roundtable and that is going to come in the form of an email blast that can reach about 3,000 people.  It is amazing how useful, and at times easy, networking with others can be.  I have recently met and become friendly with a woman who has recently started her own foundation and she has been so supportive and full of great advice.  She has reached out to all kinds of contacts and connections on the behalf of the Institute and put us out there is some very influential circles.

I’m currently in the process of establishing the flow of activities for the event as well as securing volunteers to man the various stations. I have been told that I am not allowed to assign myself a position for the night because I will be running around like a crazy person anyhow.  This did not really inspire confidence but there is always something that goes wrong and you can’t aim for or expect perfection.  If people have fun, awareness is raised and some money is made for the victims of human trafficking I will be more than happy.

But being the event planner means that I have to shift gears really fast and start getting ready for our outdoor awareness concert that Patrick is speaking at and I am being brought along to work on awareness and speaking with people about our organization.  We are bringing along all kinds of fun stuff that was recently sent from Guatemala to sell to people.

Here we are at the festival, sitting in front of one of my water features in Minneapolis.

Here we are at the festival, sitting in front of one of my favorite water features in Minneapolis.

My friends and I went to the Tour de Fat which is a fun bike ride and festival held by New Belgium every year.  It was a blast, they had a dance contest and gave away two free bikes to the winners.  Needless to say, people got DOWN.

Week 5: Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons

July 25th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

This has been an incredible week here in Minneapolis. Work has been absolutely crazy.  We are really getting close to the event that I have been planning and we have FINALLY decided on a design and marketing strategy.  I had no idea the amount of work, planning, and diplomacy that goes into branding an event like this.  There are so many parties to appease and so many changes to be made. I love the final design and although there was plenty of struggle to agree on it, it almost makes me like it more.  This is the poster that we sent to the printer today.

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Contract negotiations with the musicians, the event venue owner, and the ultimate events rentals have also been a struggle. I think that we are getting it all handled, but I will say that I am never going to go to an event without thinking about how much work and orchestration they take.

We also had a gaggle of fabulous volunteers in the office this last week.  It was great to have so many enthusiastic volunteers in the office, it really helps to breathe new life into the organization and helps us to focus on the causes that we are actually working to promote. The volunteers were everywhere stuffing envelopes and sending out flyers for our events.  We also had them writing to returning service teams, personal notes are always well received.  Some of the volunteers spoke Spanish and we had them translating stories that had been sent to us from El Salvador and Guatemala.  We try to send true stories and testimonials to our donors once a month and it was great to have their help with the translations.

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Ross and I have been working on Sponsorship for our event and we have had a lot of success.  I drafted up a Sponsorship framework and Ross (another intern) has really been able to run with it.  He has gotten one private donor and is currently in a meeting with another business executive at Wells Fargo.  I have also been working on prepping for the Raffle that we are going to have at the event and we have been able to reel in some pretty fabulous prizes including tickets to the Guthrie Theatre, dance lessons, personal training sessions, facials, and messages.  I will certainly be buying a few raffle tickets at the event.

The Interdenominational Abolitionist Network was kind enough to invite ITEMP to come speak at their monthly meeting and our director sent Rebecca and I to give a presentation to this group of passionate and caring crusaders.  It was incredible.  They were very receptive to what we had to say, I got to speak all about the legislation and language of human trafficking and after the presentation they were all excited to volunteer and help the cause.  They also asked us to speak and bring information about our organization to an outdoor concert that they were putting on August  3rd.  It will be great to get our name out there in such a big way because we are still so new to the area.

On a personal front, I’m still loving Minneapolis.  I bought a new bike (mine was stolen) and have been exploring the incredible labyrinth of biking trails, paths and lanes that Minneapolis has to offer. I can’t help but think that our country, our environment and our mental state would be much improved if we all biked everywhere.

Week 4: The Institute of Trafficked Exploited and Missing Persons

July 15th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

Got back on Saturday night from Chicago and it was an amazing time!  Full of the Blackhawks craziness, my high school mockers and so many friends from Cornell. It was a fun but stressful time and I am glad to be back at work and sleeping in my own bed.

There is so much to do here! I left right as things were getting started on the Tiger Sushi event and now I am diving right back in.  Yesterday we drafted up press releases, budgets and marketing strategies. I had to pitch the event (with plenty of help from my coworkers) to the Bismarck office and they really seemed to get onboard after our conference Skype.  Now I am just waiting on the designs to come in from a volunteer graphic artist and I will start the hectic promoting for our event. Eat. Dance. Be Free.  is about to be everywhere! This is such an exciting project but it is also very stressful because I have been put in charge of the event, its success and the substantial resources it takes for a non-profit to put on an event like this. My next step is going to be marshaling my volunteer talent in the most efficient manner that I can, I already have two fabulous fellow interns who are helping me with things but I want to tap into the vast network of people out there willing to put in a few hours of work on a project with such a worthy mission.  My other work has been put on the back burner to make room for all of the tasks that I have associated with this event.

Speaking of volunteers this week we are going to be swarmed by them! We got a call yesterday from one of our international volunteers and she told us that she has a group of about 45 high school students who volunteer for different causes each week and they want to make us the charity of the week.  My coworker John and I have been scrambling to put together jobs for 45 teenagers and we have a pretty long list. It will be great to get a lot of these busy work jobs out of the way so that we can focus on other things while at work.  The longer I work for a non-profit the more important the role of the volunteer becomes.  Without people who are willing to give generously and freely of their time and resources so many of the amazing organizations doing critical anti-poverty work, simply wouldn’t exist.

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Don’t mind the low lighting, my boss thinks synthetic lighting is bad for creativity.

We had a new addition to the office, Katherine Wolfe is our newest addition and she seems very sweet and extremely competent.  I also realized that I haven’t posted any pictures of where exactly I’m working so here are a few photos of my office and building.

workingtwincitiesoffice new sign

Week 3: The Institute for Trafficked, Exsploited and Missing Persons

July 9th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

This week has been nuts! But in a great way, things have really revved up in regards to my fundraising event and we have started our flagship DMAC. I have also been out and about in the city and will be leaving for two weeks to take advantage of an opportunity in Chicago.  Busy, busy, busy.

The event that I am planning has really come together this week. I heard back from the venue that I have been trying to contact for weeks and we arranged a meeting, we also included the musical guest in this meeting and it was great! It was a beautiful sunny day and my supervisor Mike and I took off about an hour early from work to meet and discuss our event.  It is official! We will be having our event at Tiger Sushi, a beautiful restaurant with an amazing patio in Uptown.  This is a huge step and after we got this figured out everything is taking off! I have so much to do in the coming weeks!

Lisa is the owner of Tiger Sushi and she is a pretty amazing lady who seems very dedicated to the causes that The Institute supports. She is allowing us access to her entire patio on August 11th from 5 to 9 and catering the whole event in a way that will allow The Institute to make a lot of money for victims of human trafficking.

The gorgeous patio where our event will be held!

The gorgeous patio where our event will be held!

 

The gorgeous patio of Tiger Sushi, this is the area that we will be using for our event.

The gorgeous patio of Tiger Sushi, this is the area that we will be using for our event.

 

Scott Mateo "the talent" looking over the space where the band will be playing.

Scott Mateo “the talent” looking over the space where the band will be playing.

Scott Mateo is a well known musician in the area who puts together bands for various events and he has agreed to work with us.  They were both incredibly kind and our meeting was productive and fun. We all brainstormed a name/brand for the event and it is pretty great, we are calling it Eat. Dance. Be Free.  Now I am working on putting together our social media presence, the multiple rounds of mailings, the volunteer network and trying to find business sponsors. I am working with Ross Overline, a fellow intern, on the media outreach and design of the campaign and am very excited about the direction that we have chosen.  Hopefully the title and feel of the event will be a joyful celebration of freedom while raising money to help those who are not so blessed.

This week we also initiated our strategy to DMAC or Dream Maker Action Committees, this program is a volunteer outreach program that aims to keep volunteers who travel to our various locations engaged once they return and to reach out to new people who would be interested in our cause.  I spent days writing and rewriting a return letter and call to action that we have now sent out to about a hundred volunteers who have recently returned from  Antigua Guatemala, which is pretty cool.

Design Credit to Micheal Johnson and The GODS' CHILD Project

Design Credit to Micheal Johnson and The GODS’ CHILD Project

 

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Rebecca, another intern, and myself are also continuing to work on our upcoming presentations.   One of which is for an abolitionist group that has requested a presentation focused on our organization and the new statistics surrounding human trafficking. The other is really exciting, it is a concert dedicated to raising awareness for the issues surrounding human trafficking and we will be just one of many groups taking part in this event so it should be a great opportunity to network and learn.

I’m still loving the city and all of the cool things it has to offer, I am off on an adventure to teach at a Mock Trial Camp in Chicago for a week, so wish me luck!

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Micheal and I at and outdoor music festival held downtown with the beautiful riverfront district in the background.

Week 2: The Institute for Trafficked, Exsploited and Missing Persons

June 12th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

Human Rights work isn’t really a 9-5 sort of career. This is becoming evident to me as I work side by side

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On one of the only nice days we all went for lunch. Left to right: Patrick Atkinson, Shana Anderson, Rebecca Kotz, Jon Okstad, Michael Johnson, Me!

with people who are as passionate about righting the worlds injustices as I am.  At lunch I got into a heated discussion with Rebecca, another intern at the project, and it led to an exchange of all kinds of materials, movies, books and articles on the subjects that we care so much about.  This summer so far feels like a block on top of a job.  I am learning so much and every night I am sent home with something new to think about and new materials to change my opinion on concepts that I thought I had a grasp of.  Currently I am reading a book called Pornland by Gail Dines and it is certainly eye opening.  As the movement to stop sexual slavery and all other forms of sexual violence against women has moved away from victim blaming (about time)  there is a renewed search for what might cause this problem and Dines believes it has something to do with our cultures pornographic saturation. I’m not sure I am fully convinced by her overall argument but she presents some solid proof that things like rape porn and child pornography have become much more prevalent since the advent of the internet; regardless of societal effect child porn is in and of itself a wrong.  So these are the kinds of happy debates and materials that occupy my free time here, which is fine because Minneapolis has been pretty dreary lately and the weather seems to reflect the tilt of my thoughts.

Things have been bustling and productive at work though.  I am really getting into full swing here and have a bunch of projects in the works at once, sometimes things get a little overwhelming.  I am working on a pretty large grant and have the first draft of my Letter of Interest done except for some hard numbers that I want to plug in.  I’m waiting on the staff in Antigua to scan me some receipts.  Right now is their busiest time, with multiple service teams down at once, so I am not holding my breath on that one.   I have also been arranging opportunities for Patrick and the rest of the staff to get out and about around town to spread awareness.  We have a few speaking engagements along with a bunch of smaller venues in the works and I hope to have even more success with events once the weather clears up.  I am amazed at how much of everyday is spent coordinating.  Finding numbers, addresses and dates.  Figuring out who is in charge of what, and what their resources are, how much decision making power they have and when they will be able to make that decision.  On Cornell’s campus, I remember being able to walk down the ped mall and get everything I needed just by running into people. I love that about Cornell, but let me tell you Minneapolis is a much bigger network. Navigating that network and all of the non-profits and volunteers in it can be challenging, but I think I’m up to the task.

Another one of my big projects has to do with creating a new packet of materials for volunteer involvement and outreach.  One of our biggest programs takes groups from across the country, classes, churches, camps, or community groups and sends them to Antigua to volunteer.  They build small houses, help in Casa Jackson (center for malnourished infants), lend a hand at the clinics or teach in the Dreamer Center.  Everyone comes home inspired and wanting to do more, yet until now we did nothing to reach out to them again.  Jon, the director of benefactor services, and I are trying to fix that.  We are writing and re-writing letters and calls to action, as well as devising a three pronged strategy for how to keep volunteers involved and spreading the word about global poverty and human slavery.  It is going really well and we have the first drafts of our letters done,  I even made a presentation template that can be sent to those who want to give a presentation on what they did abroad to their community members.

After reviewing it, Mike has agreed to teach me how to use Photoshop, I am going to skip from being affronted to be excited by this new tool.  It is super useful and fun to use and I have already started to create campaigns with it.  My first set of banners were made to advertise our charity golf tournaments happening in July and August. I already had a design to work off of so it was a great first project. You can see it here as well as on our webpage, gcpstore.org.

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One of the best parts of the whole week though was when Jon came into my office and asked if I wanted a break from the computer screen to help with some mindless mailings.  I said sure and we went to the conference table to address and send out fathers day cards that had been sent to us from Guatemala.  They were from the orphans and underprivileged children in Antigua too their sponsor fathers from around the world.  THEY WERE SO CUTE.  One little girl made a shirt and tie out of paper that you opened and then wrote a card.  It was pretty cool to see all of the children’s literacy, not to mention the care and time that was put into each card. Here is one example:

fathersdaycard

It says Happy Father’s Day!

On that pretty adorable note I’m signing off from my second post, I wish all the Dads out their a Happy Father’s Day!

Week 1: The Institute for Trafficked Exsploited and Missing Persons

June 5th, 2013

Claire McGuire ’14, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Community Outreach

First weeks are always a whirlwind, and mine was no different.  I arrived in Minneapolis and started work the next day at 8:30am.  Our offices have just been moved and everyone seems very excited about the new space.  My office has a large window with a small yellow bird who likes to keep me company most days.  I was sat down and was inundated with information about the two non-profits that I will spend my summer working for.  The first is called Nuestros Ahijados and it is an international aid group focused on “breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation”, this means that we are currently running programs in 5 different countries that see to the basic needs of the most severely impoverished. Some of the programs include intensive care for infants suffering from malnutrition, a free clinic, numerous schools for children of all ages, and even a homeless shelter, all located in the slums of Antigua Guatemala.

The second Non-profit is called ITEMP or The Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons. The Institute is focused on raising awareness of and putting a stop to human trafficking.  Surprisingly, Minneapolis ranks #8 for most incidents of human trafficking, as the Midwest is a pipeline for traffickers and the border with Canada serves as an easy entry point.  I spend many hours listening to talks given in both Spanish and English about the two programs and have read a lot of materials as well. There are some shocking statistics out there about modern slavery.  There are an estimated 27 to 30 million people enslaved right now. Not only that but the majority of those people are women and children.  The average age at which a child is sold into slavery is 12. Human trafficking is the 2nd largest elicit trade in the world, only eclipsed by illegal drugs.  It is also the most profitable illicit trade as humans  can be sold over and over again and drugs can only be sold once. The more I learn, the more passionate I become about spreading awareness for this horrific injustice. The man who started both Non-Profits is named Patrick Atkinson and he is my boss here in Minneapolis.

They give everyone who comes to work at the Project or the Institute a book that was written about Patrick’s life called The Dream Maker. I quickly read the book in my first week high, and was amazed by all the things that Patrick has done in his life.  Let me tell you though, it is really strange to read a book about someone and then have that someone burst into your office days later unannounced bellowing about how the whole office is going to lunch and everyone should get ready to go! Patrick has a lot of energy and is constantly moving around.  He turned out to not be very intimidating but it was still pretty strange to meet someone that I had already heard and read so much about.

The office is fun and easy going but everyone always stays busy, including me! I have done so much already.  My main responsibilities while here have to do with getting our name out there and raising awareness about the human rights issues that so many victims are struggling with.  To this end I am in charge of planning events for the summer, fundraisers, church gatherings, and speaking commitments. I have also been tasked with streamlining and breathing new life into, a program called DMAC.  It stands for Dream Maker Action Committee and it is the way that The Project wants to reach out to volunteers across the nation.  I am currently working on a packet of materials that would be sent out across the U.S. and would act as a guide for people who want to be advocates for the millions of victims around the world.

I have also been working with grants, finding the ones that apply to the work that we are doing and then writing letters of Inquiry to send to huge Foundations and Donors.  Mike (my supervisor) has also been showing me how to use the plethora of software and sites that Non-profits use these days to stay organized and raise funds.  There are some pretty cool tools out there for those trying to raise funds.  I have also been doing a lot of writing for the website and to donors. My spare time (haha) at the office is used to research the latest statistics on Human Trafficking as well as the prices of the supplies that the schools in Guatemala and El Salvador need.  It is great to be using my Spanish and to be working at a mission that I so firmly believe in.

The Institute has a holistic approach to fighting modern slavery. Not only is there a focus on rehabilitation of victims and prosecution of perpetrators but there is also an expansive effort to improve lives in the places where so many fall victim to predators. By providing shelter, food, education, and medical treatment to the poor we are preventing them from entering into the desperate situations and mind frames that cause people to be taken captive and exploited. I really admire the fact that we are looking at fixing the disease that is poverty and not simply treating the symptoms. This is not an easy task and there are constantly complications, communication is a constant struggle with so many languages, time zones and agendas it is hard to coordinate. There is so much more to say but I will save it for another time.

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