By Heather Bennett
BeGenerous is hosting their 2nd annual Gathering in the Garden at Point Washington Preserve Pavilion on November 10th from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The event will help raise funds for their first home of The Yellow House Project, and to bring awareness to their efforts assisting victims and survivors of addiction and sex trafficking in the area.
The Yellow House Project is transitional living for women recovering from addiction and abuse from sex trafficking. BeGenerous is hoping to raise enough funds this year to buy a house to turn into a refuge for women in need. While in the home, the women will be a part of a 90-day Christ based program where they receive counseling and start the healing process. There will be an option to stay up to 18 months if necessary.
“We have a starter house that we have our eye on that’s right under $200,000, and it’s here in South Walton,” said Stephanie McMinn, the founder and director of BeGenerous. “Now’s the time for the Yellow House to be established. To fill the gap, to be that bridge we need, because so often what happens is, we have a woman we are working with and there’s no bed available. Not having a safe place to go to make that transition is sometimes a life or death situation for these women.”
It may come as a surprise, but addiction and sex trafficking are very prevalent in the area. Sex trafficking can include force and/or coercion of a victim to be sexually exploited, many times, at the hands of someone the victim knows. Familial sex trafficking is an example of this, where a child is exploited for the exchange of drugs, a place to live, or money. This is different from abuse because the trafficker is profiting from the victim.
Those who work in the sex industry are often victims of sex trafficking. There is a misconception that strippers and prostitutes have chosen their lifestyle, but often they are victims of deeply rooted trauma that stems from years of manipulation, coerced addiction, threats of violence against their families, and physical and emotional abuse endured by the victims. Many women in the area are being exploited in plain sight.
While there are great programs in the area to help women overcome their circumstances, there are not enough places to stay while in transition. “I’m traveling to Alabama, if not weekly, every other week, to relocate girls, and to get them to one of our partner programs,” said Stephanie. “We just really need to get a house as soon as possible. We have so many girls who need help.”
Stephanie has a bigger vision for the program, establishing a social enterprise as their income generating model to support operational expenses and then create a savings account for when the women transition out. The women will acquire work skills, gain confidence and save money to start anew. Stephanie calls it, “All Things New.” She says, “That’s what God does in us. He takes away the old and makes something new and beautiful. Women could garden, repurpose furniture, make pottery and fix jewelry. We hope to help them establish an income, a career, and maybe even inspire them to start their own business.
“This other house we are looking at has the land, raised boxes for a garden, workshops, and about three different sheds for all of these projects,” Stephanie said. While this 10-acre property in South Walton is $700,000, Stephanie’s faith doesn’t waiver. “The Lord led me to this house.”
BeGenerous is a 501C3 non-profit that relies on support from the community through donations. For more information and how to help with The Yellow House Project, and information about BeGenerous, please visit www.begenerousinc.org.
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