Beauty From Ashes Videos


Sunday, January 10, 2016

20 Things You Can Do For Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention


1. Refuse to be part of the problem by being apathetic and doing nothing. Be pro-active.
2. Contact your organization, club, and church leaders to facilitate an event to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking.
3. Invite a Beauty From Ashes™ over-comer to share their personal story of triumph
4. Schedule a Beauty From Ashes™ training on how to effectively do outreach and provide survivor-centered services to victims.
5. Read the 2015 Trafficking In Persons Report, so you can be educated and informed.
6. Memorize ONE Phone Number – 888-3737-888.
This is the national trafficking hotline number. If you suspect slavery or exploitation, call this number. To find out more about what to look for, visit
7. Follow us and challenge your friends to do so as well. Repost and share the information we post:  


8. Start following human trafficking news on twitter. Retweet relevant news stories by adding a tag #.
9. Find out if your area has a local human trafficking task force or coalition and get involved. If your area doesn’t have one, contact your Sheriff’s department and coordinate the establishment of one.
10. Contact your local newspaper to see if they are running a story on human trafficking for the month; if not, encourage them to do so and tell them about Beauty From Ashes™.
11. Find out about local slavery abolitionist groups in your area and volunteer your time.
12. Do what you love.
Use your talents to fight slavery. Do an art project and display it in a public place. Use a sports event to raise awareness and funds for the issue. Talk about the issue at a concert, or make it a benefit for survivors. Film a movie on the state of modern-day slavery. Write about the issue and post it on your blog. Take a picture and send what you're doing to Beauty From Ashes™ Founder, JulietheArtist.
13. Take up a collection in your office, care group, Sunday school, or church service. Donate to bring hope through Beauty From Ashes™.
14. Sponsor a fundraiser for Beauty From Ashes™, ideas include: bake sale, car wash, marathon, bikeathon, swimathon, danceathon, walkathon, or garage sale.
15. Ask if your employer has a donor-match program for charity donations. Tell them about Beauty From Ashes™.
16. Businesses, please consider donating a percentage of your profits to Beauty From Ashes™.
17. Sponsor a survivor's basic care needs in a residential facility ($600/month).
18. Sponsor a BFA outreach to victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and human trafficking. ($50-100/month)
19. Sponsor one of our therapy horse's food and care monthly ($100 @ month).
20. Pray. 
For those with a faith perspective, spend some time praying for people directly impacted by slavery as well as those working to fight it.

"The biggest hurdle for those of us who work in the anti-trafficking field is the simple lack of awareness of trafficking as a social issue, as a crime (by understanding the criminal elements, or definition), and understanding there is a pretty strong anti-trafficking response if you just know where to look.

Remember, if one of the toughest hurdles we have as abolitionists is the lack of knowledge about trafficking, one of the most important things to do is inform others." -John Vanek

BEAUTY FROM ASHES™ was founded by an over-comer of commercial sexual exploitation & human trafficking. We have been doing outreaches and providing assistance to survivors since 2005.

Our mission is to prevent, reach, and restore victims of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.  We specialize in providing Equine, Art, and Creative Interventions as effective tools in healing and restoration. 

God is passionate about the fatherless, orphans, afflicted & the homeless.

"Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked." 
Psalm 82:3-4 NASB

All donations are tax deductible. Write check to Beauty From Ashes and mail to 32789 Eiland Blvd., #24, Zephyrhills, FL or give securely online HERE

Thank you for joining us and becoming a slavery abolitionist in 2016.

Passionate about seeing victims & survivors become over-comers,

Steve Shematz, President
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries
Florida's oldest, human trafficking overcomer-led, community service agency.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Maker Award

WGCU awards Beauty from Ashes founder, Julie Shematz, the 2014 Maker: Women Who Make Southwest Florida award. This award is given to women of Southwest Florida who are leaving a legacy and impacting their communities in the most positive ways.

"I'm sitting before you now healed - committed to a process of healing and committed to doing something to help other people. There’s a scripture that says your gift will make a way for you,” said Julie Shematz. That Bible verse literally showed her the way to carry a message to a population of which she once was a part.

Shematz takes gift packages with beauty supplies and information about community resources for leaving “the life” into strip clubs. She and her evangelizing partners tell the manager they are there to offer encouragement and support to the entertainers. They’ve never been turned down.
For seven years, she was a member of the adult entertainment industry, at the mercy of a man who controlled her money and her life. She began working in strip clubs when she was a sophomore in college in Indiana and low on money. That experience – along with a master’s degree in mental health counseling from FGCU and her religious faith – fuel the outreach she does today. She has been married for 11 years to a man she met at church in Fort Myers. She calls herself an “overcomer.”
Shematz, who grew up on a 1,000-acre farm in the Midwest, began the program in 2005 to improve the lives of women and men who often have been sexually abused, exploited and the victims of human trafficking. Beauty from Ashes’ name also has a biblical basis, she said. “It comes from the scripture Isaiah 61: 1-3, which paraphrased is how God is drawn to the brokenhearted and he will exchange beauty for ashes.”
She spent some time as a church bookkeeper but eventually quit to work full time on her ministry. Beauty from Ashes is a national nonprofit now, helping sex workers get out of the business and educating young people to prevent them from falling into it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Beauty From Ashes Summer eNewsletter

We Are Now Based Out of the Tampa Bay Area!

     Greetings from the beautiful area of Tampa Bay, Florida!  We are finally relocated, and although we are still unpacking and settling, God has been divinely connecting me with organizations and individuals seeking professional help for victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking since I started working for The Salvation Army (TSA) back in December of 2013. 
     I absolutely LOVE my position with TSA Tampa Area Command, with a paid staff of nearly 30 persons and an army of volunteers ranging from high school students to senior citizens. I oversee 6 programs that provide 24/7 housing and services to nearly 300 individuals (women, men, and children), many of whom are victims of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking.  All of them are at high risk.  Since I've been there I've been able to facilitate direct and indirect services to 22 survivors, including five men from Honduras and one woman from Hungary, many referred by law enforcement both local and federal.  In June, myself and my team (Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Case manager) approved for four women to occupy our Human Trafficking Unit, allowing it to be at full capacity. 

     The Trafficking Unit is a safe place for women to go 
immediately upon leaving the sex industry where they can receive comprehensive and integrated services in order to help them plan for the next steps in their lives.  Whether that be going into a long term residential home (like our Women's Transitional Housing where employed women and families can stay for up to 2 years), acquiring employment, and/or reuniting with family, they have the opportunity to rest and refocus, with professional help from a treatment team, while staying there.  Ideally, I originally thought stays would be from one night up to three months, but it's apparent now that their time there will be based on an individualized treatment plan on a case by case basis.  It's exciting to see the vision for victims to be given the opportunity to receive the comprehensive services they need in order to recover from the trauma and injustices done to them, finally come to fruition!
     If you are woman who is ready to take the next step in exiting the sex industry and interested in a safe place to begin that journey, call (813) 273-0199. 
Special thanks go out to all our fantastic volunteers for their help in packing up and preparing for the big move! Not only did they help immensely, they made this awesome poster to express their love. We could not have possibly done it without all of your help, and we are so grateful to each and every one of you. Moving is such a stressful experience, and it is great to have everything safely packed and labeled as we unpack and put everything in its new place.  THANK YOU!

     We will continue to provide equine assisted learning and psychotherapy services in the Tampa Bay/Central Florida area. We currently are planning on launching our program at the world's largest women's state prison and at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command.
     If you are a ministry desiring to have your team experience a unique form of learning and team building, call (239) 939-9218.  We are
 currently scheduling group sessions with organizations to introduce them to this creative, evidence based treatment.  

NEW HORSE:  We have added a new horse, Kiss, a seven year old thoroughbred from the Second Chance Farm located at the Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala, FL.  Kiss and Morning Star Spirit have adapted to being together beyond what we could have ever imagined.  Kiss is 16:2 hands and weighs over 1200 lbs.  He's a big boy, very kind and gentle, and the perfect pasture mate to Morning Star Spirit.  He was hand picked by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to be a therapy horse with us and we look forward to him beginning his new career helping people learn and heal. To follow Spirit and Kiss's progress, "Like" Spirit's facebook page

WICHITA, KS NATIONAL TRAINING:  BFA presented our four day training in Wichita, KS April 1-4th to a group of individuals and agencies ranging from sex industry ministries, overcomers, and youth shelter staff, to law enforcement.  The fourth day was at the Hope House's Equine Facility where a demonstration of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy was presented.  Hope Ranch for Women is a residential program for survivors.  For more information about the Hope Ranch for Women, contact Cathy Turner, (316) 640-2627.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRAINING:  The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command will be hosting the Human Trafficking: Sex Industry OutREACH & AfterCARE Training, using the Beauty From Ashes Ministries™ national seminar curriculum, July 16-19th.  In addition to our professionally developed, comprehensive curriculum, we will be featuring guest speakers from law enforcement and organizations doing sex industry outREACH and afterCARE in the Tampa Bay Area! If you're an agency that would like to set up a table at the conference, call (813) 273-0199.  If you want to register for the event, CLICK HERE.  Limited Seating. Group discounts.

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:  As the Director of Social Services at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command, I currently have 5 interns and am channelling all persons desiring to intern with BFA through TSA. If you're interested in interning with one of the first anti-trafficking organizations in the world, TSA, and the first overcomer-led, community service agency in Florida, Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, email me at  We have intern opportunities for Bachelors, Masters, and state registered mental health counseling.  

FUNDRAISING: There are many unique and creative ways to support Beauty From Ashes™ if you are passionate about fighting human trafficking and want to partner with us in the work we do.  Whether it's a bake sale, car wash, Sunday School class project, percentage of your business sales, or organizing a dinner party, 3-5K run, awareness event, etc., please contact us with your fund raising/awareness ideas today!

DONATIONS:  Our program and operational costs are funded through private donations.  Donations go directly to assist survivors and to offset operational costs.  We currently are a volunteer driven non profit.  Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift today.  For secure online giving CLICK HERE or send your financial gift to 13300 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 56, Fort Myers, FL 33907.  Thank you!

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We are honored to pray for you and your families! Please send your prayer requests to
CLICK HERE to sign up for our quarterly eNewsletter.

As Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries enters a new and unexpected season, I am amazed at the opportunities God has granted me to assist women exiting out of sex for sale industry.  It was 12 years ago that God gave me the vision of comprehensive and integrated services, including a shelter and residential program. The vision could not have come to pass without you, our faithful supporters, partnering with me and believing for the impossible. Thank you for your commitment to reach, rescue, and restore victims of sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking.  Together, we are making a difference.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV
In Christ's love and service,

Julie Shematz
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers

"Survivors must be leaders in the development of services, shelter, and response protocols to s*x trafficking.” 
- National Report on Domestic Minor S*x Trafficking


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BFA Relocating, New Program Manager and More!

Relocating to the
County / Tampa Bay Area

We are extremely excited to officially announce the biggest change to Beauty from Ashes™ Ministries  (BFA) since our Founder, Julie Shematz, first began doing strip club outREACHes in 2003. In the course of her continuing relationship with The Salvation Army, the second largest faith-based organization in the world, Julie was invited to lend her expertise for the vision of an emergency shelter for victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking in Tampa, FL. While providing consulting and assisting with writing for a grant, she was asked to be the Interim Shelter Director of their three programs (emergency shelter, men's transitional, and women's transitional, which includes women both with and without children) consisting of over 200 beds.

Naturally, once she had begun serving in this capacity, she started to realize not only the extent of overlap between the homeless population and the victims which constitute BFA's focus, helping nine trafficking survivors in the first eleven days of 2014, but she also was able to bring an enormous amount of resources to bear by virtue of her new role, far greater than had ever been previously possible. Those resources that she didn't immediately have at her fingertips, she was able to leverage through the incredible web of partnerships to which the Salvation Army belongs.

Needless to say, when Area Commanders, Majors Chip and Leisa Hall, began to discuss the possibility of her becoming the permanent Director of Social Services, she came to the realization that this would not be the end of BFA, but rather, the beginning of a new season heralding a time of greater impact and influence than ever before.  Major Leisa Hall, who originally invited Julie to provide consulting for the emergency shelter, is passionate about this marginalized populous as well. This month she received an award from the FBI and state of Oklahoma (from which she relocated 10 months ago) for her advocacy work with victims of trafficking.  The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command announced this week the development of the specialized shelter for victims of sex trafficking. The program will provide emergency shelter and comprehensive services for up to 8 adult survivors.

So, after we have spent over a decade developing and implementing over 30 programs and community services in Lee County, Florida, God is calling us to Hillsborough County, the most concentrated area for sex for sale business in the nation.  Also, the home of one of the most powerful and influential human trafficking task forces in the country.  We know that everything Julie has been through has prepared her and BFA for such a time as this!  It's hard to believe that 11 years ago we were doing strip club outREACHes in Tampa.  Today, there are more than 4 ministries doing strip club outREACH in the Tampa Bay area, with leaders that have been trained by BFA.

Our partnership with The Salvation Army serves to strengthen the mission of BFA to prevent, reach, and restore victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.  Furthermore, it will increase the capacity of our vision that victims be provided with the comprehensive and integrated services they need in order to recover from the injustices and trauma done to them.  

Over the years, the process of providing the much needed services to victims has been laborious and extremely complex. Since Julie has been with The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command (December 6th, 2013), she's been able to coordinate services for 15 survivors.  Those services have ranged from relocation, rehabilitation, shelter, transitional housing, medical, emergency, employment, and dental. The process of coordination, even under the pressure of overseeing 3 programs, 200+ clients, and 20+ employees, was simple and easy.  The best news is that all 15 survivors are thriving!

We hope that you will continue to support us as we transition into this new season.  We plan to relocate the central headquarters of BFA to the Tampa / Hillsborough area in the next 3 months.  Please keep us in prayer as we follow the cloud.  

"And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:" Exodus 13:21

Steve Shematz
Vice President
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries

To support the mission of Beauty From Ashes™ in preventing, reaching and restoring victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking, CLICK HERE.

Tampa Relocation Q & A

You may have many questions regarding the changes and future of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries. We have put together a list of common questions and answers on our website. Click here to go and view them.

Therapy Colt Morning Star Spirit
is Officially an Overcomer!

At the age of 8 months, therapy colt, Morning Star Spirit was diagnosed with Wobblers Syndrome.  This being a condition that most would either give back or put down a newly purchased colt, Steve and Julie Shematz decided to keep Spirit and began the tedious process of controlling his diet and working with him daily to strengthen his hind legs.  After much prayer, hard work, and a patience, they received word Saturday, February 15th, from the veterinarians, that they believe he has grown out of the condition! He shows no symptoms of the disease!  This was what Steve and Julie has hoped and prayed would happen.  Just last week, Julie was able to sit on Spirit's back for the first time. He didn't move his feet at all and stood perfectly still!  Spirit, who now weighs 900 lbs and stands 16h, is also an overcomer!  Thank you to everyone that has prayed for his recovery!  To follow his progress, like his Facebook fanpage.

BFA New Program Manager

Jill Eden is a native of upstate New York,  a veteran of the United States Air Force, and a cum laude graduate of Hodges University.  As a child, her passion for animals brought her to Vet Tech school, but soon after she joined the Air Force and later worked in finance for 7 years.  She returned to school and completed her education, with a bachelor's degree in Business Management.  With that degree, she returned to her love for animals and ultimately pioneered her own successful business in pet service for 8 years.  
In 2010, after committing her life to Christ, she discovered a new passion: helping the helpless. Soon after, she learned about the plight of children and adults caught in sex trafficking, she knew that she had to get involved, and began seeking opportunities to volunteer with local ministries.  When she discovered that Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) used horses in therapy and was an openly Christian organization, she knew that this was the place for her.  It combined her passion for Christ, animals, and the lost.  

She and her husband Bob have been faithfully serving BFA in a myriad of ways since spring of 2013, and as a result of her diligence, she has assumed the responsibilities of being our Program Manager. Please join us in welcoming her to her new role. You may reach her at or by phone at 239-939-9218.

Volunteer of the Month

We would like to give a shout-out to Eslande Dambrevil, our volunteer of the month! Between working full-time and taking classes as a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University, studying Psychology, Eslande has faithfully supported Beauty From Ashes™ since 2012.  She is conscientious, has a great personality and attitude, dependable, and always willing to help, no matter what we ask her to do!   Thank you so much Eslande!  You are a great help to us!

New FREEdom™ Team Members Trained

We welcomed 22 new volunteers in January & February during our two monthly Volunteer Orientations. These volunteers, mostly made up of Florida Gulf Coast University students, have already put in many hours of work and there is still more to do.

Find your place to serve and help fight modern slavery.

Our next Fort Myers Volunteer Orientation is March 8th.  
Registration required.  Limited Seating.

For more information CLICK HERE

March 1st 9am-noon


April 2-5
Wichita, KS

July 16-19
Tampa, FL

Register Online.  Limited Seating.
For more information CLICK HERE 

Interested in having us present our training where you are?  

Sign up to receive our eNewsletter sent right to your inbox and stay up to date with the latest BFA news as soon as it's available. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

2014 National Training

Our next National Training will be held in
Fort Myers, FL
January 8th-11th

Please Register Online. Seating is limited.


January 8-11
Fort Myers, FL

April 2-5
Wichita, KS

July 16-19
Fort Myers, FL

Interested in having us present our training where you are?

Friday, December 13, 2013

December ePrayer Alert

Dear Intercessors,

While the holiday season may be very festive for some of us, it can be very lonely and depressing time for many. Suicide attempts rise around the holidays and it can be very difficult for many victims and survivors due to a number of factors. As you engage in the festivities of the holiday, please keep victims, survivors, and their families in your prayers. Agree with me that they be protected and receive the revelation of God's love and His gift of eternal life this season. Pray for reconciliation of their families, healing of deep emotional wounds, and that the joy of the Lord would be their strength. Agree with me for healthy support systems to be established and maintained, and that they receive the comprehensive services they are in need of to recover from the injustices and trauma done to them.

As we enter into the final days of 2013, I would like to personally thank each of you that have kept the ministries of Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) lifted up. While this year came with accomplishments that were remarkable milestones, it also has been the most challenging in many aspects. Prayer has been and will continue to be the foundation upon which this ministry is built. It has enabled us to do more than I ever imagined possible.

It's amazing to think that we are getting ready to do our 10th annual CHRISTmas OutREACH at our local adopted strip club. We love going in and seeing the familiar faces, excited to see us, and even more importantly, recognizing the absence of the ones who are no longer there, whom we have had the privilege to assist in freeing from the bondages which once held them captive. Please pray for our OutREACH team and the numerous others across the nation, as we carry the light of Christ into dark places this CHRISTmas season.

We would not have been able to deliver the message of the Gospel of Christ, nor accomplished what we have, in preventing, reaching, and restoring victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking, without God's grace and your prayers. On behalf of more than 500 individuals and over 100 agencies that received our services in 2013, the BFA Executive Board, and our amazing FREEdom™ team of over 40 volunteers, THANK YOU for your prayers.

Merry CHRISTmas & Happy New Year,

Julie Shematz, MA
Founder & President
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries

Hug & Groom

Our next "Hug & Groom" event will be on 
Saturday,  December 21st from 9am-12 noon.

December 21st 9am - Noon

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." -Winston Churchill

To view more upcoming events at Beauty From Ashes Minisries, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Volunteer of the Month

This month we are honoring graphic designer
Cynthia Vreeland
for developing our new Equine Program Logo.
She's been working on developing it for a couple of months now and we absolutely love it!
Thank you Cynthia!

To learn more about Cynthia, please check out her website.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

From Victim to Overcomer

From Victim to Overcomer was the second of two human trafficking awareness events hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University Honors Students this fall. The first event was November 21st,The Biggest Little Secret. It featured an interactive carnival on the campus lawn.
The focus of the second event, held on November 25th was on a survivor's journey from captivity to freedom, as well as the role of law enforcement in investigating. Lieutenant Brad Hamilton from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries founder, Julie Shematz were guest speakers.
  To read more about what BFA is doing, CLICK HERE and check out this Month's eNewsletter      

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Julie Shematz Announced As A 2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida

WGCU Public Media
2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida

December 3, 2013….The MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida for 2014 were announced today by WGCU Public Media. Fourteen women were selected from 121 nominees. Nominations were received from the Southwest Florida community from Aug. 1 through Oct. 25. A community selection committee reviewed each of the nominees in the categories of arts, business, education, environment, health & wellness, politics and social justice activism.

             In its second year honoring women who are leaving a legacy and making a significant impact in our region, WGCU will produce video and audio portraits of the MAKERS that will air in April 2014 on WGCU TV and radio. The portraits will also be posted at to inspire generations to come.                        
            The 2014 MAKERS are listed below.  This year’s MAKERS are not listed by category.  The selection committee determined that several of the selected MAKERS are leaving a legacy in more than one category.

The 2014 MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida are:

Rita Bertler, President, Dollars for Mammograms
Sharon Bruckman, Owner/CEO, Natural Awakenings Publishing Corporation
Myra Daniels, Founder, The Philharmonic Center for the Arts 
The Honorable Laura Safer Espinoza, Executive Director, Fair Food Standards Council 
Eve Haverfield, Founder, Turtle Time, Inc.
Martha Hill, Mailbag Editor, The News-Press
Theresa Ink, Founder, P.A.W.S. Lee County
Kimberly Leach Johnson, Firm Chair, Quarles & Brady, LLP
Nancy Lascheid, Co-Founder, Neighborhood Health Clinic
Darla Letourneau, Founding Steering Group Member, BikeWalkLee
Pam Oakes, Owner, Pam’s Motor City
Michele Valencourt, Executive Director, Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda
Gail Williams, Chief Diversity Officer, Hodges University

            MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida selection committee members are:  2013 MAKERS: Andrea Clark Brown, Ellin Goetz and Trudi Williams; Sarah Owen, Southwest Florida Community Foundation; Brenda Tate, Women's Fund of Southwest Florida; Walter Douglas, WGCU Diversity Advisory Group member; WGCU Public Media Advisory Board members: Debra McIntyre, Maria Palacio and Mimi Gregory; WGCU staff: Valerie Alker, Toby Cooke, Barbara Linstrom, Kim Woodle, Amy Tardif and Barbara Steinhoff.

Community partners for MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida are the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the Women's Fund of Southwest Florida. MAKERS: Women Who Make Southwest Florida is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Corporate sponsorships are available. For sponsorship information contact Terry Brennen, at (239)590-2366 or