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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.

JM Hurricane November 24, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Attention Democrats, liberals sex trafficking is a REAL WAR on women! It's NOT making you pay for birth control pills. I'm glad some people still know who and where the bad guys are and the real harm that's being done to women. 12 year old girls are being bought and sold, nationally and globally, but it's more important 30 to 40 year old grown women get free condoms somewhere. Amazing, just amazing!
hilton joseph November 24, 2012 at 08:21 PM
For the last commentary from Jm Hurricane, Democrats and Liberals know that this is a real problem . your ignorance is appalling . Condoms are not only for birth control and the problem of trafficking is a worldwide problem for both females and males . Politics are not the issue here. The bad guys are there and we all need to recognize that this is a crime that we all need to pay more attention to. Birth control is a woman's choice if she is able to make that choice, but it is important that YOU do not make the choice for anyone outside of your immediate family and allow others to choose for themselves. I am working hard to prevent trafficking in Georgia and you should be as well. I applaud Wellspring and their programs. I am sure you need to be more understanding and have more compassion, and not place blame on the Democrats and Liberals .
JM Hurricane November 25, 2012 at 08:20 AM
Hilton Joseph, I respect your entire writing. However, why should I pay with taxes, birth control? Why can't a woman abstain from sex or buy her own birth control. I don't get it? Help me please, I'm ignorant on this topic.
JM Hurricane November 25, 2012 at 08:27 AM
I also fully believe in keeping Planned Parenthood. They do GREAT work. Most aborted children are sons and daughters of the under class. Good work, Keep it up. Actually, step it up you are not exterminating them faster. Actually send them to Bergen Belsen or Treblinka, much quicker. You like that.
JM Hurricane November 25, 2012 at 08:48 AM
HMMM, I forgot, Mauthausen, Sobibor, Birkenau, Thereiensdat, Natzt-weiler Struthof, Dachau, Flossenburg, Ravensbruk (notorious for destroying minorities), Sachensberg, Rige-Kertswald....OH, have we forgotten about extermination.
Patrick November 25, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Yeah, cuz we all know Planned Parenthood and all the health services, cancer screenings, STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception and adoption services they offer are EXACTLY like Nazi death camps. Yep--no diffence at all. Jeez...
JM is the smartestest ever November 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
...as a rule of thumb, the first person to compare an opposing point of view to Nazi genocide will be the dullest knife in the drawer. Weird that these points of views don't attract more women voters. Keep up the reasonable rhetoric JM.
glupumba November 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM
What happen to good job for raising so much money to help nurse the physical, mental, and emotional wounds that will need years to repair.....IGNORE all the other rants

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