By: Abby Shaffer
For some reason the holidays always seem to catch me by surprise. This year is no different. It is possible the later than usual warm weather overshadowed the constant “I wants” by my kids. I find it hard not to look forward to the holidays when I see it through my kids’ eyes. The extra family time when everyone is off work and school. Seeing extended family we haven’t seen in awhile. The sweet treats that only come out once a year. And of course the presents.
As I came to grips that indeed the holidays are upon us, I couldn’t help but think of the kids. But not my kids, rather the kids that will not be able to celebrate the holidays as they are meant to be celebrated: the hundreds of thousands of kids estimated to be trafficked every day nationwide and here in Indiana. And I think about the young girls that Ascent 121 has served over the last year – did you know there were more than a hundred girls in Ascent 121 programs this year?
It breaks my heart to think the love that encompasses the holiday season will not be felt or properly received by trafficked kids. These kids are held in bondage – sometimes physical, sometimes emotional – while my kids and I will be surrounded by the warmth and glow of the season. There most likely is no light of awe and wonder in trafficked kids’ eyes anymore.
After volunteering for just short of a year with Ascent 121, my perspective has changed on much…much I have taken for granted. I am thankful my kids are able to hug family members and friends without fear. They are able to freely give and receive love. My kids are having a childhood that no one has tried to take away.
Ascent 121 has been trying to repair the lives of trafficked teen girls since 2013. I would ask as you all gather around your tables this holiday season you say a prayer for Ascent 121, the girls they are currently helping, and if you can please donate to continue the important work they are doing. They are being Jesus’ hands and feet for these young ladies and spreading awareness in hopes to end trafficking.
Abby Shaffer is a volunteer with Ascent 121. She is a stay-at-home mom with a background in public relations and broadcast news. Her hope is to help Ascent 121 educate and make people aware of sex trafficking in order to combat the crime.