Grace Haven Over the Edge To End Child Sex-Trafficking
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Maria Lilly


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Maria Lilly

The Edger

This newsletter features Maria Lilly, who is an alumni Rappeller with Over the Edge. Maria is very dedicated to the mission of Gracehaven and utilizes her occupation to spread awareness on trafficking, Gracehaven, and Over the Edge. There is a bridge connecting two buildings at work where she promotes Gracehaven, OTE, and to grow her team! This year, she has planned a "Lunch and Learn" with the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) to promote awareness on human trafficking and to gain their support for Over the Edge.

What led you to become a rappeller for Over the Edge? A guest speaker came in to talk to my team at work about Gracehaven and the Over the Edge event. I hadn’t heard of either organization and didn’t know how prevalent sex-trafficking was. I was floored to learn that 1,100 YOUTH are trafficked in just Ohio each year! I didn’t realize the magnitude of the problem. I was one of those ignorant people that assumed this only happens in far-off countries (like Thailand) and those involved made a choice to be a prostitute. I had no idea it effected so many children, that they are preyed upon, groomed, and in many cases coerced or threatened into sex-trafficking! After learning this and listening to the survivor tell her story, with tears in my eyes, I raised my hand to sign up to rappel. As crazy as it sounded, I knew I needed to take action. Another colleague seemed interested in rappelling so I recruited him to form our small two-person team. When I returned to my desk, I felt sick to my stomach for at least three hours and couldn’t get the details of the presentation out of my head. I knew I made the right decision, as crazy as it seemed, to rappel. 

What leads you to continue to rappel each year? I remember how I felt in May 2016 while sitting in that conference room and back at my desk. I felt so many emotions. I was horrified, disgusted, and deeply saddened that innocent children are trafficked for sex! These are our children! How can we let this happen?! How does this kind of evil exist in the world? There are people that want to recruit children to engage in sickening sexual activities. There is a market where people are paying to receive these services from children! How can they live with themselves?! It’s not right. It’s not okay. It must be stopped!

Why does Gracehaven and OTE matter to you and/or the community? I was deeply affected by the presentation. It was enough of a call to action for me to get involved. Gracehaven is critical to our community to not only assist in the rehabilitation of our youth victims, but also educate and bring awareness to this despicable crime that effects every socioeconomic status. This is a problem for the “haves” and “have-nots.”

 







My Progress:

 122%

Goal: $1,250.00
Achieved: $1,527.50



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