Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

As I write this, it is a Thursday afternoon; the office is uncharacteristically silent. Amongst the usually rambunctious staff members who all share one large, open office space there is a feeling of quiet contentment. This morning marked one of the most exciting events in the office all summer. The 15 staff members, joined by the 6 young women currently participating in our Summer Jobs program, were honored to be visited by Robert Kraft. He is undoubtedly best known as the owner of the New England Patriots, but to us here at My Life My Choice we know him for his recent generous donation to support our Survivor Mentoring Program through the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. This morning we all met with Mr. Kraft to further discuss the incredible work that My Life My Choice does. Last spring, 6 girls in the Leadership Corps learned motivational interview skills and shared their stories with each other. They then worked with photographer Bob Nickelsberg and Element Production to create a video featuring their voices and photographs. The result was a powerful display of their strength and courage in having enduring such abuse and, most importantly, surviving it. Having the opportunity to share this video with Mr. Kraft, and to cement his commitment to being an ally in the movement to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children, was incredibly moving. Please watch and share to spread awareness and join the movement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It-OXIhGbxU

Spending this summer surrounded by such strong, passionate women fighting for such a worthy cause and watching young survivors growing into leaders has been truly inspiring. I have been so fortunate to be part of this organization and to be able to immerse myself in many different aspects of what we do, from grant writing and researching prospective donors and foundations, to writing thank you letters and helping with our social media accounts, to collaborating with our Associate Director to create a Powerpoint for keynote addresses. I can confidently say that I have achieved my goal for the summer to observe the various facets of a non-profit. I can absolutely envision myself working for an organization of this type in the future. Working with the demographic of teenage girls specifically has been at times quite a jarring experience for me; I am, at most, a couple of years older than some of these girls, and younger than a few. I have always been aware of the fact that it is merely by good fortune that I have not been faced with the challenges and abuse that these girls have encountered. Their spirit and perseverance ignites within me such a strong desire to continue to work for social justice and to spread awareness of this and similar issues and to continue to be part of the movement to affect real, positive change in the world.

Written by Lauren Otterman, BC Class of 2017

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