Beauty From Ashes Videos


Friday, June 17, 2011

Your Self-Esteem

Where does your self-esteem come from?  

Does it come from other people - their opinions, their views of you, their comments, and how they treat you?  

Does it come from your abilities and what you are able to do? 

Does it come from your accomplishments and what you know you are going to accomplish?

Many people have such a low self-esteem, or opinion of themselves.  They do not think very highlly of themeselves; therefore, they do things that are harmful to themselves - like hurt themselves, or overeat or undereat, or speak negatively about themselves, or even live in a lifestyle that is harmful to them.

I too, struggle at times, some days more than others, with my own self-esteem.  But, I have something many do not have. I have the knowledge of knowing that my self-worth does not come from myself.  Instead it comes from God.  God finds me valuable and worth it.  He found me valuable enough to send His only son Jesus to die for my sins. He found me valuable enough to let me hear the message of redemption.  AND, He found me valuable enough to give me a choice between His love for me, or to continue on the path I was on.

He found me valuable, and He still finds me WORTH it! 

I have had times when didn't find myself worth it.  I have been guilty of comparing myself to others, thinking that I'm not good enough.  I have thought - well, I'm not pretty enough, or skinny enough, or smart enough, or witty enough, or ..... Anything, in myself, just didn't seem enough. 

The great thing is, that there is NOTHING within myself that is enough.  NOTHING.  However, when I said "yes" to His ways and His plan and HIS gift of salvation, I found that my value really wasn't in who I thought I was, but in who GOD thinks I am. 

I forget this from time to time, though not as often as I used to do so. I have come a long way, but I take hope that He will continue to remind me of my value to Him, and I don't have to depend on who I think I am.  For truly, within myself, I am just NOT enough.  But HE is!

Col 2:10........... I  am complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power.

Tamera Thompson grew up in South Alabama, where she graduated high school and then later worked as a youth minister there while in college. Later, she went on to attend Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL and graduated with her Bachelor’s of Education degree in Secondary English.

She has worked in the public school system as an English teacher and a writing teacher. Tamera resides in South Florida and is a volunteer with Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries. Additionally, she loves to write, she loves to sing, she loves her two boys, and she loves Jesus more than anything else in the world.

6/22 WEBINAR: Reducing Demand for Commercial Sex

HHS Rescue & Restore to Host WebEx Training
“Reducing Demand for Commercial Sex”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is hosting a series of free, online WebEx training sessions on a variety of topics related to human trafficking.  The information session on Wednesday, June 22, will focus on how to reduce demand for commercial sex and address the following:
  • San Francisco's First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP), commonly known as the "John School";
  • Benefits of the FOPP for the community and the criminal justice system; and
  • Intervention services for prostituted adults.

Ms. Kristie Miller, Administrative Manager
Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project
The Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization with one primary aim: to bring an end to human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of children and adults. SAGE contributes to this goal by raising awareness about trafficking and CSE issues and by providing treatment services for survivors. 

Ms. Miller has worked for the SAGE Project since 2002, where she had the privilege of being personally mentored by renowned CSE expert and SAGE Project Founder Norma Hotaling. Currently SAGE Project’s Administrative Manager, Ms. Miller coordinates and moderates San Francisco's FOPP.

How to Register: 
To register for the Wednesday, June 22th, 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) training session, please click on the link below (or place it into your Internet browser):
Multiple participants from an organization are encouraged to register one individual for the session; participants can view the training through one computer and a speaker phone. 

For those of you not familiar with WebEx trainings, all you need is access to a computer, the Internet, and your phone. 

After you register, the WebEx system will send you a confirmation e-mail with login information for both the web and the teleconference portions.  Please save the confirmation email because it includes the following information:
  • Toll-free phone number and participant passcode for the audio portion of the training session;
  • and Web site link and passcode (same as the phone passcode) so you can view the PowerPoint (ppt) presentation as it is being presented.  The ppt will advance automatically during the training session. 
As part of the WebEx session, you can ask the presenter questions.  Once on the call, the technician will guide you on how to ask questions orally.  The speaker will answer questions during the last 15 minutes of the presentation.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Strip Club OutREACH Report, Care Packages, TRAFFICKED Radio Interview, Mensa & More!

STRIP CLUB OUTREACH REPORT: On Saturday, May 11th, the BFA outREACH team served a home cooked meal of lasagna, mixed vegetable salad, rolls and eclairs to the employees of our local "adopted" strip club. Gift bags were distributed that included Magdelena DVD by the Jesus Project, hair and beauty supplies to employees and female customers. The team was welcomed into the club by management and had the opportunity to love on the employees and pray with the manager. Tears, hugs, and encouragement were shared as the message of love, hope, and truth was delivered. To view pics, CLICK HERE

CARE PACKAGES GIVEN TO SALVATION ARMY:  BFA presented the Fort Myers Salvation Army, the largest center in the nation, with 80 care packages for the female residents.  This populace are high risk due to homelessness, abuse, and addictions.  Each care packaged included human trafficking awareness information, bibles, and hair and beauty supplies.  To view pics, CLICK HERE

TRAFFICKED INTERVIEW WITH JULIE SHEMATZ:  To listen to this week's Here Women Talk Radio interview with BFA Founder and CEO, Julie Shematz, CLICK HERE.  Julie is Dotti Laster's second guest and discusses the development of collaborative, creative intervention programs and her mental health counseling internship with the Salvation Army.  

MENSA SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED TO OVER-COMER:  To read Julie Shematz's winning essay for Mensa CLICK HERE


FGCU HUMAN TRAFFICKING PRESENTATION:  Julie Shematz will be giving a Human Trafficking and Beauty From Ashes Ministries multi-media presentation at Florida Gulf Coast University on Thursday, June 23rd at 1pm.  The presentation will be to the Foundations of Civic Engagement Class in LIB 441. 

SCHEDULE BFA FOR AN EVENT:  BFA provides education, in services, and trainings on human trafficking for social service agencies, universities, churches, groups, businesses, and clubs.  To schedule a speaker and for more information, CLICK HERE

BREAKING FREE LIFE SKILLS & SUPPORT GROUP:  Wednesdays at Barry University 1-3pm.  For women who are currently in the sex industry and for those who have been in it.   Child care and lunch provided.  Registration required.  Contact Julie Shematz at or call 239-939-9218 to register. 

BFA CURRENT NEEDS:  Want to help and get involved with Florida's first and only survivor led human sex trafficking service agency?  CLICK HERE for details.  

BFA JUNE PRAYER REQUESTS:  For details on how to pray for BFA clients, staff, and our programs, CLICK HERE

WEEKLY GLOBAL CORPORATE PRAYER:  Join BFA 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

BFA PRAYER TEAM:  To sign up, send your name, city, state, and country to

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We care for you and have a team that prays over your every need.  Submit your prayer request via our website CLICK HERE.


BFA FACEBOOK FAN PAGE & TWITTER:  :  Become a fan on the BFA facebook fanpage and follow us on Twitter.  Get informed and raise awareness by reposting and retweeting!

2010 AUDITED FINANCIAL REPORT:  In 2010 92.7% of all giving and income to BFA went to Program Services. Because people believe in our mission and vision, we had approximately 10,600 in kind items given and 5000 hours of services donated.  We use funds to meet the needs of the marginalized population we serve and to advance the kingdom of God.  This audited report demonstrates that BFA is committed to the highest standards of stewardship and financial accountability.  We want to thank our partners for assisting us to Educate the community, Advocate for, Reach, Rescue and Restore victims of commercialized exploitation and human sex trafficking. To view our 2010 Audited Financial Report, CLICK HERE.  

DONATIONS:  Your partnership is vital for us.  We currently rely on private donations to provide Program Services. Please consider becoming a partner by giving a tax deductible gift today.  For  $25 or more we will send you our  Child of God CD.  For secure online donations, CLICK HERE or mail your check, cash or money order to Beauty From Ashes, 13300 S. Cleveland Ave., Ste, 56-623, Fort Myers, FL 33907.

"Thank God for darkness that is turning into day." -Smith Wigglesworth

Committed to His service,

Julie Shematz, Chief Executive Director & Founder

Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers

Monday, June 13, 2011

FREE WEBINAR 6/14: Stolen Childhoods: Understanding the Sexual Exploitation of America's Children

FREE Webinar Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT

Presented by Alesia Adams, Territorial Services Coordinator Against Human and Sexual Trafficking, Southern Territory of The Salvation Army. The presentation will address the myths and realities of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in America. The workshop will discuss the impact and the attitudes toward this epidemic and how popular culture influences and reinforces these views. Learn how the normalization of sexual exploitation is conditioning our society to believe prostitution is socially acceptable. This will be a far-reaching presentation that will cover the broad spectrum of issues from family prostitution to how rap music is poisoning our youth. Hear about social psychological analysis of strategies used by pimps to manipulate women and young girls to participate in prostitution. This truly eye opening presentation will leave you wondering how our society has reached this point, and why nobody is speaking out about this phenomenon.

To sign up:  CLICK HERE

Awareness leads to Prevention, Intervention, and Restoration.

Julie Shematz, Chief Executive Officer & Founder
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers

2011 Mensa Scholarship Winning Essay by Julie Shematz

On Sunday, June 12th I was awarded a financial scholarship from Mensa, the High IQ Society, for an essay I submitted. I knew it was a long shot to win, but after consulting with my scholastic mentors, I decided to give it a chance. I had no idea what Mensa was and realized the type of organization it was when my husband (who has supported me 110%) displayed a look of concern and doubt when I asked him to read my proposed essay. You can imagine how shocked and surprised we were when I received the call that my essay was picked with 9 others (out of hundreds of submissions) to send to nationals and then when I received the call that my essay was chosen from thousands of entries as a winner!  I ended up being one of four award winning essay winners from the region and the only graduate student recipient.   
I would like to publicly thank my husband, Steve Shematz, for his faithful support of my educational and professional endeavors. Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. Richard Maybee for pushing me to accomplish things of which I never thought I was capable and Sherry Lex-Heinrich of Barry University (Financial Aid Advisor) for encouraging me to apply for the scholarship. Of course, I extend my thanks to everyone that has prayed for and supported my healing journey and the development of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries. Together we have come a long way and I am very excited about the future. Lastly, I want to thank Mensa for the prestigious scholarship award. Below is my winning essay and it was not titled, however, I think it could be appropriately named, "From Pain to Passion: Why I'm Doing What I'm Doing". 
            I am pursuing a Master of Education degree in the Mental Health Counseling Program from Florida Gulf Coast University as an academic goal in my life.  This degree will provide professional training and credentials to my career goal of providing services to victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking. 
            In 2005, I founded the not for profit, public charity, Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) Ministries, Inc.  We work with victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and trafficking locally and nationally.  Our purpose is to EDUCATE the community, ADVOCATE for victims, implement REACH, RESCUE and RESTORE programs and provide safeHOMES (residential recovery homes).
            I am the CEO and oversee all operations of BFA.  Currently, all staff are volunteers.  We meet and assist with victims’ practical needs by providing them and their families with support, life skill development, assistance with education, job placement, relocation, short term and/or residential housing, as well as addiction rehabilitation. We assist individuals in the transition out of and/or away from destructive and emotionally damaging lifestyles by providing guidance and direction for situations brought about by their choices such as substance abuse, pregnancy, occultism, prostitution, abortion, etc. We help them to deal constructively with the consequences their decisions to be involved with this industry and lifestyle have produced.  Teaching them responsibility, character development and how to daily maintain a stable and productive life is our objective.  It is also our purpose to network with and support other organizations dedicated to the same and/or similar goals in assisting individuals and families that desire a healthier lifestyle.
            In late 2002, when I was able to break free from the bondages of modern day slavery, I determined in my heart to do something for the countless others I saw hopelessly feeling trapped and abandoned by family and society.  Recognizing that victims are in desperate need of long term, holistic, comprehensive services in order for them to have the opportunity to become over-comers of this social injustice has inspired me to pursue this career goal.  The complexity of the trauma that has occurred in these victims warrants specialized mental health care.  I know from my own experience of being a survivor of human trafficking, what the benefits these, rarely acquired, services served me through out my healing journey.  In my experience of working with survivors over the past five years, as a service and aftercare provider, I have recognized the need for sound counseling, boundaries, program development, and consulting that addresses education and self care of caretakers.  It is my aspiration to also provide these services to assist aftercare workers in equipping them with longevity in serving the victims and survivors.
           From my greatest pain has come my most profound and significant mission in life.  My organization’s vision is that domestic victims will be given the opportunity to receive the services they need in order to recover from the trauma and injustices done to them.  My purpose is to acquire a mental health counseling degree and licensure because it will better equip me to accomplish this goal and professionally qualify me to work with this extremely wounded populace.  Achieving this goal will also bring credentials to the organization as it serves the community through education, advocacy and implementation of outreach, prevention, intervention and restoration programs.