Beauty From Ashes Videos


Saturday, January 1, 2011

January: National Slavery & Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Happy New Year!  Here it is 1-1-11 and President Obama declared the month of January as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Will you help raise awareness about this social injustice?  

Today it is estimated that are 27 million slaves in the world. That is more than ever in history and even though the United States abolished slavery in 1860, there are approximately 100,000 to 300,000 children forced into prostitution yearly in the United States alone! Those numbers are likely to be low due to a lack of consistency in identification.  90% of human trafficking is sex trafficking, 80% of human trafficking victims are females and 50% are children.  Here in the "Land of the Free", the average age of a prostitute is between 12 and 14.  According to the Trafficking Victim's Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, it is considered a "severe form of human trafficking" when a minor engages in sexual relations in exchange for anything; money, drugs, food, shelter, transportation, etc.  Force, fraud or coercion are not required to prove. The adolescent's age makes the act a federal crime.  The United States of America has a national crisis regarding human trafficking and the most common victim is not international, they are our own citizens; our youth.  

Since 2005, Beauty From Ashes (BFA) has been a grass roots organization reaching, rescuing and restoring victim's of commercialized sexual exploitation and sex trafficking; adults and minors.  Dedicated to advocating for the rights of victims and engaging the community through education we are grateful that January has been set aside as a month for raising awareness.  Awareness leads to Prevention, intervention and Restoration.  

Tuesday, 1-11-11, is the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and we are inviting you to pray with us. The body of Christ is vital to the true abolishment of slavery.  Isaiah 61:1 declares that we have been anointed to set the captives free and by joining with us, this a powerful way that you too can become a slavery abolitionist.  You can stand in the gap for the release of the prisoners from all forms of bondages; physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental.  From 9-10 am EST you can join us and others nation wide to pray in one accord for the victims, survivors, over-comers and agencies advocating, reaching, rescuing, and restoring them.  Locally, here in Southwest Florida, we will be meeting together to intercede for freedom at Barry University, Room 500-1.  Please contact Jenni Blye,, or call 239-939-9218 to register. 

Here are 7 things that you can do to become a slavery abolitionist:

GET INFORMED - Read the attached PDF, "Child Sex Trafficking: Definition, Scope, Recruitment and Control, Developmental Impact, Challenges, Intervention, Treatment and Advocacy" by BFA founder, human trafficking over-comer, and Florida Gulf Coast University graduate student, Julie Shematz.  Watch the BFA home page for the latest in domestic human trafficking news.
SIGN UP for the BFA E-Newsletter and stay informed about legislation, trainings, outREACHes, and community engagement.  To sign up, 
SPEAK UP - Share the information by talking about it in person to your friends and family and through social media.  Contact your local press and ask them to do a feature on the topic this month. 
SCHEDULE AN EVENT in your church, school, business, club or group.  For more information on BFA human trafficking presentations, CLICK HERE
VOLUNTEER with agencies like BFA that are on the front lines making a difference.
GIVE OR RAISE FUNDS to support grass root, domestic, anti-trafficking, and victim service provider agencies.
PRAY & FAST that the captives be set free.  For Prayer Guide, 

If we can be of any assistance to help you address this enormous, complex, and multilayered, social human rights issue, please contact us.  We hope that you will join us and others this month in raising awareness about human trafficking.  Together we are better and we can make a difference!  

For more information on human trafficking, visit our website

Passionate for FREEdom™,

Julie Shematz
CEO & Founder 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank You for 2010 & Happy New Year!

JANUARY GIFT ASSEMBLY DATE CHANGED from January 1st to January 8th due to holiday.  Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) typically meets to assemble gift bags and care packages on the first Saturday of the month, however, we will be meeting on the 2nd Saturday, the 8th, from 9am - 1pm for the month of January due to the New Year's holiday.  The meeting is at Barry University and if you're interested in participating and/or contributing gift items, please contact Jenni Blye at or call 239-939-9218.  Meetings will resume the 1st Saturday of the month in February.  

STRIP CLUB OUTREACH:  Saturday, January 8th from 7-midnight, the BFA outREACH team will again be serving a home cooked meal and distributing outREACH gifts inside the locker room of a local "adopted" strip club.  In 2010 we were able to do this outreach monthly and accomplished our goal of establishing relationships that would be extended beyond the club settings.  We currently have numerous ladies attending church and coming to our weekly Breaking Free Support & Life Skills Group.  

BREAKING FREE LIFE SKILLS & SUPPORT GROUP for former and current sex workers will resume meeting on Wednesdays from 1-3 pm at Barry University on January 5th.  Free lunch and complimentary child care provided.  Registration required.  Contact Julie Shematz at or call 239-939-9218 to register.  

YEAR END REVIEW:  2010 has been a year that ended up being exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what we ever dreamed or imagined and we want to thank YOU, our partners for this!  Some of the highlights and milestones were the monthly concentrated  outREACHES that included serving yummy meals to employees of a local 'adopted' strip club.  Partnering with RealOrange, we had our outREACH efforts extended to having a booth inside the East Coast's largest porn expo in Miami and we launched our publicly acclaimed, trend setting, new website.  Barry University became the home of BFA and we were awarded our first grant, a capacity building grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).  We extended our partnerships with safe homes and programs locally and nationally, developed more community partnerships than ever before and gave Human Trafficking awareness presentations in venues that included universities,  public and social service agencies, businesses, social clubs, and churches.  Additionally, we were able to provide continued education credits (CEUs) for a 70 minute, multi-media presentation for healthcare workers.  BFA was announced as the official liaison for domestic sex trafficking with the Lee County Health Department and I miraculously completed my second semester as a full time graduate student studying mental health counseling with a 4.0 GPA!  We distributed hundreds of outREACH gifts and care packages locally and across the nation, that included bibles, inspirational CDs, DVDs, books, and lavish makeup and body care items.  We provided and facilitated intervention and recovery services to more domestic and international survivors than ever before and worked with task forces, coalitions, psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed counselors, service agencies and local and national law enforcement entities to provide and advocate for victim's rights to a comprehensive, continuum of care.  Most importantly, numerous names were added to the Lamb's book of life, countless individuals were inspired that they are loved, valued, more than over-comers, and captives were set free to be all that God destined and planned for them to be!  

I had the privilege of staying at one of the safehomes this week and cannot think of a better way to end the year.  As I watched the women, teens, and staff open their Christmas gifts from BFA, the expressions of joy and excitement on their faces touched my heart deeply.  Hearing the survivor's stories, seeing the progress they have accomplished, recognizing eyes that were once dark with hopelessness were now filled with hope reminded me that THEY ARE WHY WE ARE DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING.  My heart filled with gratefulness to God and for those that have embraced the mission of BFA:  To reach, rescue and restore victims of commercialized sexual exploitation (CSE) and sex trafficking.  THANK YOU!  Together we have seen 2010 be the best year ever for BFA and we are making a difference.  Lives are being transformed from ashes to beauty.  Two words describe 2010: "Building Momentum" and we have great expectations for 2011.

2011 PLANS:  For starters, I have accepted the invitation to be on the planning committee of the National Preventing Abuse Conference and to be a keynote speaker for Women at Risk International's 5 day cruise/"FriendRaiser".  Since 2005 we have been presenting national training conferences locally and across the nation sharing our unique model's of outREACH and in 2011 we be launching our new curriculum that will include training modules for domestic human trafficking awareness,  outREACH, mentoring/aftercare, community engagement, program development, and a force multiplier model, thanks to the federal grant  we received.  Teaming with another lead social service and human trafficking agency, we are already writing for another capacity building grant  and are coordinating with more organizations to reach, rescue and restore CSE and sex trafficking victims.  BFA will also be expanding and saturating our outREACHes into the 7 county region of  Southern region of Florida and will begin doing our first international outREACHes in 2011.  We absolutely know that the BEST is yet to come!  Read more BFA Milestones, CLICK HERE 

On behalf of myself, the executive board, staff, and volunteers at Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, THANK YOU for your partnership with us in 2010.  Together we are better and we have made a difference!  Please consider giving an end of the year, tax deductible contribution to assist us in continuing momentum as we go into the year 2011.  To give, CLICK HERE 

theCALL2XXX:  Join us weekly, locally and globally for prayer to abolish slavery and for the organizations reaching, rescuing, restoring and advocating for the victims.  Fridays 8-9am EST.  For more information and prayer guide:  CLICK HERE  To meet with team locally, contact 
Jenni Blye at 574-855-7215 or

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We care for you and have a team that prays over your every need.  Please send them to



Know that we love you, pray for you and are very grateful for your support and encouragement.  God bless you and yours and have a Happy New Year!  

In His love and service,

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