From the start, one of the most urgent goals of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University has been to help victims become survivors and to prosper in their recovery.
Now, with the help of a supporter who has provided a matching grant of $150,000, the center has launched a new program called Pathway to Prosperity. It will help trafficking victims reclaim their lives by working part-time at the center, enrolling in college and using their unique experiences to help the center fight trafficking.
“The individuals who made this gift want to remain anonymous, but they believe strongly in the center’s work,” said Keith Pickus
, WSU Foundation vice president for corporate and foundation relations. “Now, our challenge is to maximize the gift’s impact by matching it fully with donations from others who want to help trafficking victims turn their lives around.”
Karen Countryman-Roswurm, the center’s executive director and also a WSU professor of social work, created Pathway to Prosperity to help accomplish a goal she identified as a priority when she founded the center four years ago.
“We need to help those who have been rescued from trafficking situations to also prosper in life and develop themselves,” she said. “Rescuing somebody is meaningless if they don’t have an opportunity to be prosperous.”
The WSU Foundation and Countryman-Roswurm will strive to raise at least $150,000 in the coming months to activate the full amount of the matching grant to fund Pathway to Prosperity for at least three years. As a national leader in the anti-trafficking movement, Countryman-Roswurm will promote Pathway to Prosperity to others whose influence can help broaden its impact.
The goal of Pathway to Prosperity is to equip survivors with the skills, resources and confidence they need to become self-sufficient. The center anticipates selecting two interns each year to work 16 to 20 hours a week for the center, assisting primarily with clerical and administrative duties. Interns also would be expected to enroll in college for a minimum of six credit hours a semester, with all tuition and fees paid by the center. They will participate in self-improvement classes that teach life skills such as managing money, writing a resume and personal and professional etiquette.
One of the interns’ most important responsibilities will be to help develop and implement anti-trafficking projects and programs, drawing from their own experiences to better serve and advocate for victims of human trafficking. If you’d like to learn more about the work of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, contact Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president for corporate and foundation relations, at 316-978-7791 or firstname.lastname@example.org.