Dear Gracehaven Supporter,
In 2012, Gracehaven has experienced a year of growth, change and excitement. Our communication with you, our supporters, could have been better, and this letter is an important update on how we are serving victims of child sex trafficking and at-risk youth.
Gracehaven began as a dream to open a group home for girls who have been sexually exploited. The home would be able to care for 10 girls at one time. As we came onto the scene, we quickly realized that there was a huge vacuum of services for this population. We also realized that no one else was doing this work. We went into the community with our idea, and quickly realized we had to adjust our strategy to meet the broader needs of the community.
Almost immediately, many social service providers began to request training on how to work with these victims and at-risk children. Children Services, hospitals, teachers, law enforcement, counseling centers all began to seek our help to train them because they were currently working with these children. So at Gracehaven, we began to develop a Training program.
Then, people began to ask us to help with immediate care of children by providing counseling, case management, recommendations and assessments of current victims all over Ohio. So Gracehaven began to develop an Outreach program.
Then people began to invite us to their conferences to speak about child sex trafficking, and we began to develop Gracehaven's Awareness program.
All the while we were still working on the components of our Residential program. It took us awhile to recognize that we needed to expand our program offerings to meet the demand of caring for these victims. We are a lean organization, and while we developed our Training, Outreach and Awareness programs, we neglected to clearly communicate to you how our organization was changing to meet the considerable demands for our expertise.
Let me assure you, Gracehaven is still about a house! We are working hard on all the requirements needed to successfully open our Residential program. We continue to raise funds to provide this care, and we have dedicated staff working daily on the programming and administrative aspects of opening the home.
But through our Training, Outreach and Awareness programs, Gracehaven has become much more than a home. And Gracehaven has been "open" for quite some time. We have been working to care for sexually exploited children for several years now. Our mission did not drift; it expanded to serve the needs of these children and those who care for them. Instead of our original dream to care for 10 girls in the house, we are now able to care for and impact thousands through our current programs of Awareness, Training and Outreach.
Gracehaven also works with the courts to provide recommendations when a victim is going to trial. We provide trauma informed care for victims through counseling or case management. We train whole departments of social service agencies that work with victims and at-risk youth so they can better care for these kids and learn to recognize the red flags. We reach thousands at awareness events to let the general population know this problem is going on in Ohio. Gracehaven is active and alive and open. However, our residential program is still under development. We are committed to opening it. We apologize to you, our supporter, for not communicating better and in a more timely manner with you about what is going on at Gracehaven. Part of our growing pains has been learning how to market ourselves, what our mission is, and how to grow as an organization.
We are so excited about all the things Gracehaven is currently doing - our work with victims and training we provide to those who care for them. Please follow us on twitter at @gracehaven08 and on facebook. Search for "Gracehaven". You can also follow us on our website at www.gracehaven.me. However, it is currently under construction. Look for a new website coming soon!
Thank you for your continued support. Without you, we could not do our work to care for sexually exploited children.
The Gracehaven Leadership