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Beauty for Ashes
Beauty for Ashes Isaiah 61 is the only women's drop-in center: “a hub” in the State of Michigan and serves nearly 200 women per month. Physical freedom is not the end of the journey for a victim of trafficking and exploitation. Taking steps forward into the unknown can seem paralyzing. In our Empowerment Center, we walk with her during this critical phase. We seek to dignify her worth and humanity and to empower her as she makes choices, reaches for goals, receives healing, and prepares for the new adventure that God has planned for her. We offer many options on the path to freedom. We encourage her to dream. We invite her to set goals for the future. We meet in small group settings and teach various programs to meet her needs to move forward. Each of these clients receives next-step referrals for supportive housing options, rehab services, personal care items, laundry services, showers, a hot lunch, life skills, and opportunities to receive discipleship through Bible study. This empowerment center is a response to the need within the community to provide a safe place for the ladies to make an exit plan to regain control over their lives.
Founder, Dana Oliver, began research in 2012. Established in 2015, on its second executive director and third location for expansion. The saddening reality is that we even NEED a larger space. Every weekday we hold classes to enhance the client's ability to regain skills and self-worth. Before diving into our empowerment center information, we must talk about the second part of our ministry, Street Outreach.
On Street Outreach, we go to the areas in Flint that are often suffering from poverty, violence, and neglect. We place ourselves in these areas to reach out to the sexually exploited and to pray for the transformation of these communities. We also pray that the cycles of poverty, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and exploitation will be broken. When we locate an exploited woman, we offer escape and healing through several options and steps. An important first step is meeting each individual where she is and building trust with her. We desire her to know that she is a precious human being and that her value is not found in the exploitation of her body or the money made from that exploitation. We seek to let her know that we are there to meet her where she is at in her life and that she is valued and loved, not judged. We offer a free lunch and a Hope Bag with personal hygiene products to everyone we meet on Street Outreach. We meet exploited individuals in the places of their greatest pain, shame, and desperation. We can share with them glimpses of the true freedom that comes from living for a greater purpose. For many, the opportunities to have a childhood, a family, and a voice, were stolen at a young age. The choice they make now to walk out of exploitation is the first step they will take toward rebuilding their own free will. Understanding the dignity of our free will is a gateway to experiencing the beauty of the love of Christ. A person who has been demolished by the ugliness in this life can only be rebuilt by the beauty found in Christ. We invite these women to come to our Empowerment Center where they can drop in and we can meet some immediate needs. Most importantly we provide a space where they belong and can receive emotional support. If the ladies we meet need immediate care and would like to go to a safe house or a drug rehabilitation center, our team has been trained to take the proper next steps.
Once trust has been built and we have the honor of serving these women at our center they get to experience a couple of different types of classes. Our Restoration Monday workshop includes rebuilding each client's self-worth and identity. On Mondays, we spend time investing in the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. The fundamental truth that has been distorted from having a broken identity. Our ReCreated Wednesday workshops focus on utilizing art and creativity and discovering hidden talents inside each of our clients. We have seen clients discover hidden talents and lost passions as they begin to dream and believe in themselves again. Our Redemption Friday afternoon workshops are implementing real-life applicable applications in creating and sustaining income, housing, employment, and business opportunities. These workshops are imperative to each person becoming self-sufficient and taking the next steps towards freedom. Beauty for Ashes has built reputable relationships in our community that are recognized by professionals to bring education and workshops to the clients. Real estate, business ownership, health care, painting, boundaries, jewelry making, handling emotions, and communication skills. Each of the clients goes through our intake process for aftercare services and prioritizing the needs are based on level of safety and willingness. We make referrals to safehouses, rehabs, and if needed personal protection orders (PPO).
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