Freedom

“The way to achieve your own success is
to be willing to help somebody else get it first.”
-Iyanla Vanzant

About 6 months ago, I ran into a friend who had a passion. In her field, she met young women who were broken. I’m not talking about broken bones. They were lost. Empty. Defeated. They had been victims of human sex trafficking and were ready to start anew.

For those of you who aren’t aware, human trafficking isn’t something that only happens over seas. It is happening right here in our own neighborhoods. Innocent young women all over the world are being lured into this hateful, abusive industry. Their bodies are being sold against their will, and time and time again they are being defiled and disrespected.

Hearing that she had two young women she was nursing back to health, wanting to show them love and normality, I knew I wanted to help. It just so happened that I was in the process of planning a photo shoot at Kith, a women’s clothing boutique in downtown Redlands, and we needed models. Kith is unique in that it caters to women of every color, shape and size. The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. There was no coincidence here – God knew what he was doing.

Upon meeting these girls the day of the shoot, I fell in love. Despite what they had experienced, how tormented their lives had been as young women (one of them got pulled into the “business” at the age of 14) they were beautiful – inside and out. To see these young ladies, pulling their lives back together piece by piece was an inspiration.

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Domonique has just moved into her own apartment, is continuing her schooling and is aspiring to be a model.

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Tiara is also working hard to complete her schooling and to get a job.

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At a glance, we would have never known what they were going through. I would have never thought that not that long ago, they were trapped. But seeing these two young women standing tall, confident in themselves, and ready for the next chapter in their life brought joy to my heart.

My friend Julie cares so deeply about these ladies. She is constantly reminding me that there is more to life than what meets the eye. Someone always has it worse. Someone always needs more than we do. So who are we to sit back and do nothing?  As women, it is OUR job to empower the younger generations . It is OUR job to uplift our sisters and encourage them – no matter their story.

Cheers to a life full of loving, encouraging, and supporting one another, as we all climb together to the top of the mountain of success!

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A HUGE thank you to Gina Lee for the beautiful photos and Kith for all of the gorgeous clothes and accessories!

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