Fuel for Hope - by Addie Gerlach

Fire needs three things to survive: oxygen, heat, and fuel. It will extinguish if even one of these three things are missing.

Candles cannot spontaneously combust; they must be lit by another flame.

So it is with hope. Hope must be fed to grow. Hope can be ignited by another’s hope, another’s grace, and another’s truth. Hope also needs time to grow.

The candle in my heart was ignited during the Thrill of Hope in December. I was able to learn about human trafficking and raise needed funds. In January, I was able to fuel the flame for hope by attending Peoria Home’s “Day of Hope” Volunteer Information Day.

Walking in, I was nervous; kind of like walking into the first day of junior high, barely knowing anyone and not sure what to expect. I encountered grace. Kind people seeing the big picture, not out to fix anything overnight.

The volunteer training covered topics such as the Peoria Home story and why this organization came to be, how to identify those involved in human trafficking, as well as the law and why some new legal issues might actually make it harder to end human trafficking in our area. Subjects like community and prevention, working in juvenile detention centers, foster care, and how these areas all impact the issue of human trafficking. All topics were approached with grace and sensitivity that this is a complex issue that we will likely not see resolved in our lifetime, but is nevertheless a worthy and high calling to try and make a difference in the lives of women, men, and children who are enslaved. One changed life makes this all worthwhile.

I especially appreciated the session on Vicarious Trauma—defined by Kusum Batey as “the result of exposure to those of us who work with survivors as we are hearing their traumatic stories and bearing witness to the pain, fear, and terror that they have endured.” Basically, those who work with others as they heal from the abuses of their past may likely experience secondary suffering. It’s empathy. It’s understanding. Kusum shared practical ways to prevent burnout.

I found this impactful because, to me, it shows the care Peoria Home has for its volunteers as well as the women who will eventually live in the community. We all are on a path of healing. Through involvement in an organization such as Peoria Home, we will all be impacted and ministered to. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, Peoria Home’s parent, in her book Letters from the Farm states, “I needed the community of Thistle Farms as much as the women coming off the streets needed the community. We all need to feel that love heals (p. 49).”

We all need community and grace. It fuels our hope. It heals. 

Why Peoria Home?

Why Peoria Home?

Our best estimates have shown that around 200 women and girls are sold for sex every night in Snohomish County. These are just estimates because it is difficult to get exact numbers due the hidden nature of this problem. This comes from local law enforcement and best guesses based on number of adds on sex for hire websites. 

1 in 6 runaways are sexually exploited. 

85% of women and girls in prostitution are controlled by a pimp. 

Force, fraud and coercion can look like many things and pimps do many things to keep these women enslaved. To get a deeper look into this read "Girls Like Us: Fighting for a world where girls are not for sale By: Rachel Lloyd

Our goal at Peoria Home is to illuminate a path for survivors of sex-trafficking so that she can reclaim a life of freedom! 

We will fight for these women in Snohomish County to show them hope, healing, love and freedom. We want you to join us in this fight. Please share this video so that more people know what is going on in our community in regards to modern day slavery. 

Follow us on Facebook for upcoming events and get the latest news and information.

If you'd like to give you can do that here as we fight to reverse this sad reality in our community. 

If you'd like to get more involved and volunteer to help end the local sex trade reach out to us here and help us shine a light into this dark world.  

We are passionate about sharing the hope that we have to those who feel hopeless. Join us in this fight today! 

Alone

Alone

Alone.

Whether we are really alone or feeling alone, it is one of the worst feelings we can have as human beings, particularly around the holidays. The despair, anxiety and the sense of loneliness is suffocating.  The darkness of feeling unvalued and abandoned penetratesyour soul. Alone does not feel right. It can lead us down paths either in life or our minds knowing we will never be accepted, and with rejection we do not feel the healing nature of love.

The Lighthouse ~ A Beacon of Hope

The Lighthouse ~ A Beacon of Hope

As a lighthouse stands against the tumultuous seas as a steadfast light – love and hope can be a beacon to those who live in the darkest places of life. Knowing someone cares about you when you feel alone can bring about a glimpse of hope. Knowing someone is concerned about your well-being and your long-term health while you are in the trenches of life’s darkest places can be a light of love. These are some of the reasons Peoria Home has a lighthouse in it’s logo. We long to serve Snohomish County as a Beacon of Hope and Love and Healing.