When we decided to volunteer for Beauty from Ashes for our Civic Engagement class, we didn’t know what to expect. None of us had heard of the organization before, and we had only a vague idea about human trafficking.
We certainly did not know about how prevalent it is in the United States. We were especially surprised to learn that Southwest Florida is one of the most afflicted areas in the country.
The media in this area does not cover the human trafficking problem nearly enough. Our professor and most of the people in our class were very surprised at how serious the issue is in this region.
This week our group prepared gift baskets for victims of sex trafficking. We found it very satisfying to help members of our community who had been subjugated. It wasn’t easy work, but it helped us feel like we were accomplishing something. We know we are helping make Fort Myers a better place. This experience is making all of us appreciate how easy our lives are.
Victims of sex trafficking really need our help, and we can really help by increasing awareness of this issue as well as helping comfort the victims with things like gift baskets.
When our group learned we had to spend time out of class volunteering, we were wary of what we would experience.
However, even though we have only spent one week working with Beauty from Ashes, we feel that we have learned a lot already. At first we didn’t understand why the university we would require a class that included out-of-class work. All college students are very busy, and most students don’t understand how important it is to help people. However, I know I can speak for our group when I say that we are starting to learn this.
In addition to the time we spend at the Beauty from Ashes office, we are planning a separate awareness campaign. It is still in the early stages, but our group is planning to inform people about the problem of human trafficking in Southwest Florida. We will focus on educating fellow FGCU students, but we will also inform the community at large.
In conclusion, our first experiences volunteering for Beauty from Ashes were very positive. We learned how important it is to help others. We also learned that unfortunately, sex trafficking in this area is a huge problem. It’s going to be a huge challenge to eradicate this practice from this area, but we are looking forward to helping Beauty from Ashes accomplish this.
Alex McMillan & his civic engagement group at Florida Gulf Coast University