We Rise Grand Opening a Moving Success

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The dangers and heartbreak of sex trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children were front and center at the grand opening of Centerboard’s new We Rise program in the Visionspace Gallery on Jan. 17.

Staff, community, and survivors were on hand to talk about the new program that brings together survivors of commercial sexual exploitation with key community allies in order to prevent, intervene against, and promote recovery from the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

“It was well attended and the program was spectacular as far as telling people the plight of the girls we work with,” said CEO Mark DeJoie.

We Rise has gotten off the ground thanks to the extremely hard work of the staff, as well as a number of important grants from the local community and beyond.

A grant from the Women’s Fund of Essex County includes three years of funding, $5,500 each year to provide prevention services, including running the 10-week My Life, My Choice Prevention Groups. The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation provided a $10,000 grant for the My Life, My Choice Prevention Groups and to educate the community about the sexual exploitation of children. A $12,100 grant from The Boston Foundation will support prevention services, including the My Life, My Choice Prevention Groups, and help educate the community about the sexual exploitation of children. The John W. Alden Trust provided a grant for $12,500 to provide prevention services, including running the My Life, My Choice Prevention Groups and educating the community about the sexual exploitation of children. A $10,000 grant from the Saab Family Foundation will also help fund the My Life, My Choice Prevention Groups and educating the community about the sexual exploitation of children.

We Rise also received a $300,000 contract for two years from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance with a two-year option for renewal to provide community education about CSEC, launch an emergency 24-hour emergency-intervention hotline focusing on Lynn and Peabody with plans to expand, and provide transitional and ongoing supports for survivors exiting the life.

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