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HOPE’S CLOSET Emily Clark, a sophomore at St. Agnes Academy, partnered with the Children’s Assessment Center to create Hope’s Closet, which supplies teens in need with clothes and toiletries. (Photo: Prudence Allwein)
In researching a meaningful service initiative as I was planning my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I was shocked to learn that Texas has more than 300,000 human trafficking victims, including nearly 79,000 youths who have been forced into these situations. I questioned how this could occur to peers my age and decided to somehow respond. At the same time, through my National Charity League chapter, I heard about the Children’s Assessment Center (CAC) and became interested in the CAC forensic unit’s work to identify victims and provide support services.
Since April, in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention month, I have partnered with the CAC to create Hope’s Closet at their facility in Rice Village. With Hope’s Closet, we are able to design, decorate and supply a closet with emergency clothing and toiletry bags for teenagers so they can feel more confident when speaking with their team of counselors, law officers and social workers. Many of them come in with inappropriate clothes or in juvenile detention-issued jumpsuits.
Hope’s Closet launched this summer with 100 backpacks filled with new clothes, blankets and toiletries. I’m very appreciative of the donations of supplies and time that have come from friends and family to kick start this project, and thankful for the support of the CAC. I’m hopeful that Hope’s Closet will help teenage girls who are picked up for crimes and are victims of human trafficking. In addition to the clothing and supplies, I hope that those who receive the bags read the inspirational messages enclosed and know that there is hope and healing ahead.
If you would like to help with the ongoing replenishment needs of Hope’s Closet, please reach out to the CAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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