Lighthouse for Life is here to teach the people of South Carolina about the realities of the current plague of human trafficking, not just globally or nationally, but right here in their own communities. We strive to EDUCATE and raise awareness about human trafficking in order to provide people with the knowledge and tools needed to EMPOWER them to detect the warning signs of potential human trafficking situations in an effort to protect their own communities. Our mission exists to engage the South Carolina community, to increase awareness and to RESTORE victims of human trafficking to physical, spiritual and emotional wholeness through understanding, love and support.
MIDYEAR MINISTRY UPDATE FROM JEN THOMPSON: JULY 2020
Lighthouse for Life is learning how to do happy and sad at the same time. We thought we had already mastered this unique blend of emotions due to the nature of our ministry but the surprising events of 2020 have taken this to an entirely new level.
As many of you know, in 2012 God gave a vision to our founder, Andrea Wind, to see safe homes opened for girls that were rescued from trafficking. She poured her prayers, tears, and time into bringing the vision to reality for the next two years. That may sound like a long time, but if you’ve ever tried to take anything from initial conception to physical reality you know two years isn’t long at all. Andrea and a solid group of other volunteers went to work immediately, forming a Board of Directors and acquiring nonprofit status for L4L by June, 2014. In 2015, I joined the team as a volunteer leader and Andrea took a much needed break. Lisa Kejr was hired in October 2015 as the first full time employee of Lighthouse for Life. Only then did the ministry truly begin to come to terms with how laborious the dream would be to see to completion. For the past 4 years, Lisa and myself have been joined by staff, volunteers, and a ton of community partners. We have seen so many miracles along the way, such as the Lord paying off the property for Karis Home in 2017. Awareness and training opportunities continually presented themselves and the community was very receptive. We were able to navigate the significant regulatory requirements for Karis Home to get final approval, though we missed several “opening dates.” The home actually opened in August, 2019.
Unfortunately, the dream was short lived and within two months we had to pause the program due to staffing shortages. We prayed, grieved, researched and decided to alter our staffing model of care, which required a total rework of all policies, procedures, and guidelines. We were broken hearted but more resolute than ever to follow through with the vision the Lord had given to the ministry.
Since that time, we are continuing to pursue this goal even though we are finding even more hurdles at this time, not the least of which is the COVID pandemic which is disrupting almost everything in our society. Looking back, we can see clearly that there were so many more obstacles than we could have imagined in pursuit of Karis Home. Hindsight is certainly “2020”, but we now have a firm grasp on the complexity and scope of the vision originally conceived by Andrea. We are fully committed to that vision. As an organization, we have created and developed other avenues of ministry alongside and in support of the original vision as well. These initiatives continue to produce great results for the vulnerable we seek to serve.
During the past 6 years we have provided 641 FREE human trafficking awareness and prevention presentations and trainings to over 41,000 people. We have also served over 64 survivors of all ages in various ways. We have been both licensed and contracted by DSS. Growth over the last six months has accelerated even more as we have developed a leadership team that includes a full time Director of Administration, Karis Home Director, Survivor Care Coordinator, and a Contracted Licensed Social Worker. As a final step, we are currently interviewing social workers for the position of Residential Care Coordinator at Karis Home. We have 4 caregivers currently on staff and are in pursuit of hiring several more.
We are adjusting and adapting our events and training seminars like the rest of the world and are excited about the strategic opportunities the Lord has provided over the next 6 months. I cannot thank you enough for your partnership, prayer, and financial support throughout this journey. Together we have provided direct assistance to 60+ human trafficking survivors, 27 of those within the past year. We have also birthed a comprehensive survivor care program that we are excited to see evolving as the Lord leads. We have learned not to set goals without saying “if the Lord wills,” realizing this ministry has unique complexities due to regulatory requirements and the necessity of survivor protection and anonymity.
As always, my door is always open to you and I would love to hear from each of you so that I could provide even further detail about our current operations and plans moving forward. If you have questions about operations, budgets, initiatives, or even if you just need clarification of why past plans had to pivot from their original focus, we welcome that dialogue. Looking forward, we don’t know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds tomorrow and trust Him more fully now than ever before. Together, the best is truly yet to come for Lighthouse for Life.
How can we hope to fight something if we don’t even know that it exists? Despite being the second largest criminal enterprise in the world and the fastest growing, sex trafficking is often misunderstood, overlooked, and ignored. Lighthouse for Life recognizes the critical importance of educating our communities about sex trafficking and how it impacts them. We seek to meet with individuals, families, schools, churches, and civic organizations to share our knowledge of sex trafficking and to empower our audiences with ways they can fight back. Our communities deserve to know what to look for, how to protect themselves and their loved ones, and who to call should they suspect sex trafficking taking place.
If you would like to request a speaker or host an awareness event, Contact us today!
From day one it has been our mission to provide a safe, nurturing environment for victims of human trafficking on their long and difficult road to recovery. After almost 4 years we are so happy to introduce you to Karis Home. We have chosen the name Karis as it is the Greek word for grace and the word home is used intentionally rather than house because we want to provide a Home of Grace. Karis Home is uniquely designed to provide long term restorative care to female survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking between the ages of 12 – 21.
We celebrate how far we have come in this journey with the support of our community and by the grace of God. At this time Karis Home and it’s property is paid for in full as well as fully furnished. Staff members stay there on a rotating basis monitoring alarms, maintaining the property and finishing up last minute preparations as we are ever closer to receiving residents. We are “building this plane as we fly it.” We do recognize the great need to open as soon as possible. However anything worth doing is worth doing well. Thus we are willing to take the time to do this right and lay a solid foundation. When we open we will be only the second safe home specifically for child survivors of human trafficking in South Carolina.
At Karis Home we will strive to create a safe, stable environment while focusing on not only the physical needs of survivors, but also their emotional and spiritual needs as well through a family style of care. We are in the hiring and training process at this time. When fully staffed we will provide an on-site counselor, teacher and team of caregivers along with a team of other professionals all working together to meet each survivor where she is and as she is.
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