Westside gala raises more than $80K for survivors of sex trafficking
Wellspring Living, a metro Atlanta-based national leader in the fight against childhood sexual abuse and exploitation, will utilize the donations to provide comprehensive healing care to girls and women through education, individual and group therapy.
The more than $80,000 raised during Wellspring Living’s annual charity gala this month will be used to rescue, restore and renew the lives of sex trafficking survivors in Atlanta.
The donations will provide comprehensive healing care to girls and women through education, individual and group therapy, and life skills classes in Wellspring Living’s Wellspring for Women, The Empowered Living Program and Wellspring for Girls. The Nov. 9 event was staged at The Foundry at Puritan Mill, located on the westside at 916 Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.
At the gala, donors heard from Wellspring Living graduates, Pastor Leonce Crump, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, British-bred musician Kevin Rowe, and Atlanta-based actors who shared excerpts from Bowley’s new book, "The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking."
“The outpouring of support for these women and for Wellspring Living was incredible to see,” Mary Frances Bowley, founder and president of Wellspring Living and former kindergarten teacher, said in a news release. “We were honored to have Pastor Crump and our partners in the fights against the exploitation of women and children join us for a night to raise awareness and spread hope.”
Charles Black, Allie Crain and Jennifer Dorrell delivered dramatic readings from the book, expressing the tragic realities that many girls in Atlanta and in cities nationwide are fighting night after night. The abuse, not isolated to poverty, occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines and within all religions and at all levels of education (childhelp.org). One excerpt described how a woman who volunteered to simply cook finally broke through to a girl who had been silent and closed off after earning her trust over pancakes.
Two graduates of Wellspring Living were honored during the event with the “Butterfly Award” to recognize their continued transformation. Like a butterfly, recipients of this award have been transformed and have taken positive steps to foster healthy relationships and good decision-making on their journey to abundant living.
The night’s theme, "The White Umbrella," inspired by Bowley’s book of the same name, represented how individuals and communities can be engaged in the quest for justice by standing beside survivors and holding a white umbrella of purity and protection over them. The gala concluded with a call to action from Bowley, the night’s keynote speaker, urging attendees to stand up against the injustice in our communities through showing how one person, one donation, or one action can make a difference in the life of a hurting woman.
To learn more about the realities of human trafficking and to find more information on Wellspring Living and how to help, please visit http://www.wellspringliving.org.
Wellspring Living has three comprehensive healing programs that focus on the holistic restoration of sexual abuse and trafficking survivors. Women and girls are offered education, therapy and counseling in safe and secure environments. Wellspring for Girls is offered to girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who have been sexually exploited while Wellspring for Women is designed to help restore women aged 18 or older from abusive relationships or neglect.
The Wellspring Living Transitions program includes the Empowered Living Program and Independent Living Program; both programs will empower women to live on their own and pursue careers and give them valuable life-skills training.