Love146 started as a grassroots response to child trafficking and exploitation, and we’ve never given up on the idea that community members, volunteers, and businesses play a critical part in that movement. As Action Coordinator at Love146, I have seen evidence that the many can mobilize and make a safer world for children when we work together.
This month, for the first time, volunteers in New York State connected with a local business to fund local work supporting our in-depth prevention education curriculum, Not a #Number, designed to help keep vulnerable youth safe.
The Love146 Capital Region Volunteer Team was galvanized in 2012 when they heard our President & Co-founder Rob Morris speak. “These children are not nameless statistics; these are not faceless numbers in far off places,” he said. “They are members of our communities.”
Among the attendees that day were therapists, social workers, and teachers. As Rob spoke, these professionals had a light bulb moment: They realized they served a similar population of at-risk youth, and saw an opportunity to create a dynamic partnership. Working alongside child welfare providers and law enforcement, the Volunteer Team began to connect area youth-serving professionals with the resources they needed to address the problem of child trafficking and exploitation. And they reached out to local businesses for financial support.
New Country Toyota of Saratoga Springs responded.
The Toyota dealership offered to partner with Love146, our local volunteers, and local service providers to bring our prevention education program Not a #Number to Saratoga County. For the month of May, New Country Toyota is contributing a portion of sales for every vehicle sold or leased. Along with a contribution from Toyota USA, the dealership expects to raise about $5,000, and through that effort they will raise enough to fund a local facilitator-led training for Not A #Number.
“New Country Toyota of Saratoga Springs is extremely excited to partner with the Capital Region Love146 team, and support their work to educate and raise awareness of child trafficking,” said Adam Michelucci, General Manager of New Country Toyota of Saratoga Springs. “Through survivor care, education, and training, Love146 has brought the horrific problem of child trafficking and exploitation to the forefront. We can’t thank Love146 enough for all they have done educating the Saratoga community, and look forward to providing any support they need in the future.”
Collaboration between volunteers, community-based sponsors, youth-serving professionals, business leaders, and Love146 makes for a holistic local response to human trafficking. There are men and women from every walk of life who refuse to turn away — people who make it their mission to take action within their own communities. They show us everyday that we can do more than we could ever imagine when we do it together.
For more information about Love146 volunteer teams, contact Action Community Coordinator Heather Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org.