Safe from the Streets

Monday, September 27, 2010

After decades of being trapped in prostitution, two women from Omaha finally escaped the streets with the help of The Salvation Army.

Today we’re sharing a little bit of their stories, as published by Omaha’s local news channel KETV ABC 7, of how they turned their lives around.

For general information on The Salvation Army’s work to fight abuse and exploitation, click here. For specific information on The Salvation Army of Omaha and its Wellspring Program, visit their website www.givesalvationarmy.org.

Former Prostitutes Tout Program As Lifesaver
Wellspring Program Helps Get Women Off Streets

KETV 7

September 27, 2010

OMAHA, Neb. — Two women, who have been working the streets of Omaha as prostitutes for more than 10 years, said they found a way out through a program sponsored by The Salvation Army.

The women said they realized their lives were going nowhere and were just getting worse. They said they got help from the Wellspring program.

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they wanted to get their stories out.

Delores (not her real name) is about 45 years old. The high school graduate and one-time college student worked the streets for more than a decade.

“While enrolled in college, I just got mixed up with the wrong people and from there it went downhill,” she said.

Delores said she turned to drugs and then to prostitution. She said she couldn’t stop.

“It was a very dangerous life I was living,” she said.

Cece (also a pseudonym) has a similar story.

“It was like an adventure. It was fun. I was like getting this money. It was fast and I really didn’t have to do nothing to get it,” she said.

Cece was a prostitute for nearly 20 years. She said what started out as being fun, eventually proved otherwise.

“Throughout those 20 years, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been raped, I’ve been shot at,” she said. “By the grace of God, I’m sitting here telling my story today.”

If it weren’t for the Salvation Army’s Wellspring program, both women said there is no telling where they’d be.

“Prostitution isn’t a choice,” said Mary Raynovich, the director of Wellspring. “We find that it’s really about a lack of choices.”

Raynovich said she works with as many as 100 women every month. About 73 percent of them have been sexually abused and roughly 90 percent of them are chemically addicted, she said.

But, no matter how troubled some of the women are, Raynovich said they are not a lost cause.

“No matter how long you’ve been on the street, there’s hope. You can get off the street,” said Raynovich.

“I believe that if I reach out and let them (other prostitutes) know that there is hope, they will have something to cling to,” said Cece.

“If it wasn’t for our case manager in the program, I know I would still be lost,” Delores said. “I would still be out there, or dead.”

The stories from women like Cece and Delores have helped the Salvation Army secure a $25,000 grant for the Wellspring program. The check will be presented at the end of October.

News by the Numbers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Friday! Since it’s the end of the week, we’re keeping it simple with an easy-to-read list of news by the numbers. These curt quantities represent a mix…

874 Vs. Unemployment

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look at the pants you’re wearing today. Did they ever do anything to fight unemployment?

If you’re wearing a pair of Dickies’ limited-edition “Detroit 874,” your response will be, “YES!” If not, you can keep your answer to yourself and continue reading…

Dickies just launched the exclusive Detroit 874 style this week. For every pair sold, the company will donate a pair of their Original 874 Work Pants to The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit to benefit the unemployed and workers in need. These pants will serve as the crucial work apparel they need to find and retain jobs.

Dickies has already donated $25,000 and 5,000 pairs of original 874s to The Salvation Army. If all 5,000 limited edition Detroit 874s are sold, the company hopes to double that donation!

You can help today by purchasing a pair of stylish Detroit 874s available exclusively online at www.dickies.com. And don’t worry if your work dress code calls for something different than blue pants – Dickies are great for both work and play!

Thank you, Dickies, for your great idea to help those in need!

With 5 Years to Go, Can We Meet the UN Millennium Development Goals?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today is the final day of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit in New York where world leaders have gathered to track the progress of their objectives and stir up a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to assist developing nations as only five years remain before their 2015 deadline.

The Salvation Army has signed on to a letter with several Christian organizations that urges the US, the EU, and the African Union to show a “clear and strong commitment” to the MDGs . For 145 years The Salvation Army has worked to meet human needs by addressing poverty, hunger, education and other issues, but it will take a clear vision and strong partnership from multiple global entities including governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and the public to make a dramatic worldwide impact as outlined in the MDGs.

A simple, colored pictorial chart lays out the 8 ambitious goals, which are broken down into 21 targets. If only implementing these solutions to the complex global issues of poverty, hunger, and education were as straightforward as the diagram seems to portray!

However, while these goals are aggressive, the UN reports that significant progress has been made. Their report shows that before the global economic crisis, “the depth of poverty had diminished in almost every region,” and while the world’s sluggish markets have slowed this progress we are “still on track to meet the poverty reduction target.”

Other areas need vast improvement, such as achieving universal education and reducing child mortality rates (MDG #4) which are on the decline, but not quickly enough to meet the 2015 target. The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) signed on to a pledge to participate in reducing malnutrition during children’s first 1,000 days – from the time of pregnancy to the age of 2 years – when they are most susceptible to the harmful effects of malnutrition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the 1,000 days initiative in an address during an MDG summit side event.

Do you have ideas on how to meet the 8 development goals by 2015? Leave a comment on the UN’s Ideas for Development blog, where anyone from experts to the regular Joe can post their two cents.

If you’d rather listen to discussion than spark it, you can tune in below the live webcast of the UN General Assembly’s debate.