Beauty From Ashes Videos


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October eNews: New Location, Services, Newest Advisor, Equine Programs, OutREACHes & More!

NEW LOCATION:  We have outgrown our office space at the United Way House and are excited to announce that we will be relocating our offices to downtown Fort Myers, on First Street, in 2-3 months.  Until our new executive offices are complete, we have relocated to 13180 N. Cleveland Ave., Ste. 111, N. Fort Myers, FL 33903.  For our current office location, we are in need of a desk, 2 office chairs, 1 full size bookcase, and 3-4 industrial shelving units.  Please call (239) 939-9218 if you can provide.  

SCOPE OF SERVICES:  Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, Florida's 1st and only human trafficking overcomer-led community service agency,  provides over 30 services and programs, free of charge.  Our services include mental health counseling, social services, spiritual counseling, career, crisis, and addiction counseling, case management, mentoring, medical services, relocation, short-term and long-term residential program placement, consulting and referral for governmental and non-governmental agencies, a support system to loved ones of s*x workers, OutREACH & AfterCARE trainings, outREACHes, and more.  For full list of programs & services, CLICK HERE. 

WELCOME DR. DAWN OPITZ: Welcome, Dr. Opitz!  It gives us great pleasure to welcome our latest advisor, Dr. Dawn Opitz, to our FREEdom™ Team! Dr. Opitz is a Psychologist who is experienced with a variety of mental health issues, ranging from depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to schizophrenia, Dissociative Disorder, personality disorders and dementia. In addition to individual therapy, she works with couples and families and has done research on female s*xual addiction. For more information on Dr. Opitz, CLICK HERE.  

EQUINE PSYCHOTHERAPY:  We are pleased to announce that Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries founder and overcomer, Julie Shematz, will be interning for one of the world's leading psychologists in the field of equine psychotherapy, Dr. Sandra Wise.  Ms. Shematz, a senior in the Mental Health Counseling Program at Florida Gulf Coast University, will begin the internship, the final in her Masters Program, with Dr. Wise in January 2013 and is scheduled to participate in graduation ceremonies in May 2013.  Equine psychotherapy, an evidence-based treatment for many of the struggles survivors of abuse face, will be an additional service BFA will providing in the future!  For more information about Dr. Sandra Wise, and her Equine Programs, please visit 

EQUINE-ASSISTED LEARNING & HORSEMANSHIP MENTORING PROGRAMS:  In the two months since Beauty From Ashes™ (BFA) launched our equine-assisted/mentoring programs, we've had 17 participants ranging from 11-years-old to adults, including teen survivors of s*x trafficking.  Horsemanship and Equine Assisted Learning builds trust, self-confidence, communication, self-concept, perspective, self-acceptance, impulse control, social skills, boundaries and spiritual connection.  Group sessions are planned with our "Breaking Free" life skills/support group and the staff and residents of a local, faith-based, residential rehabilitation program.  Find out more about our new prevention and restoration programs and view pictures by CLICKING HERE.

"Meet the Horse-Therapists", by "Inspiration to Change" writer and speaker, Karen Zeigler.
"Journey to Hope" by BFA Hadassah Intern, Natasha Hurt

STRIP CLUB OUTREACH REPORT:  On Saturday, October 13th, two Master's-level counselors, one mental health counseling graduate student, a volunteer and an intern served a home-cooked meal to our "adopted" strip club in Ft. Myers, Florida.  In addition to the meal, the team also gave each woman a gift bag which included beauty supplies, toiletries and information about the services Beauty From Ashes™ provides.  Two women reached out for help after the outREACH.  One of them is currently working on a plan to build a drug-free life.  We are so proud, excited, & blessed to be a part of her journey.  We have done monthly outREACHes to this particular club since 2008, assisting both men and women we've met by helping them build new lives and lifestyles.  To see photos, CLICK HERE.

INNER-CITY OUTREACH REPORT:  Every Wednesday evening an outREACH team attends a weekly worship service at Grace Church in downtown Fort Myers, an area with some of the highest prostitution and drug rates in the county.  After the service, 150-200 meals are served every week, giving our outREACH team a chance to build relationships, share who we are and what services we provide, encourage women that there is hope and let them know they are loved, valued and have purpose.  We are so blessed when we see women we've met and served participate on the worship team.

VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH:  In an effort to recognize the selfless giving of our incredible volunteers, we will be highlighting one of them each month.  This month, we'd like to publicly thank Natasha Hurt.  Natasha attended our National Training in July and returned from Colorado, where she lives, to intern with us in August.  She has worked sacrificially with us in every program we provide and regularly gives us at least 30 hours each week.  Additionally, she assisted this month in drafting this Newsletter, prepared the outREACH meal this month,  and is a regular blogger for us.  She is a faithful servant of the Lord that we are honored to have as part of our FREEdom™ Team.  Thank you, Natasha!  

EVENT COORDINATOR NEEDED:  We are in search of an Event Coordinator whose  responsibilities will include handling all communication regarding events:  appearance contracts, riders, needs, travel, hotel accommodations, as well as updating calendars, social media communication. and public relations.  This is a volunteer position with the possibility of being paid in the future.  Approximately 3-5 hours a week is required.  Residing locally is not necessary.  Please email resume and letter of interest to  No phone calls please.

LIFE SKILLS & SUPPORT GROUP:  On Thursday evenings from 7pm-8:30pm in Central Fort Myers, we provide a life skills and support group. Led by a Master's level mental health clinician who is also an overcomer, this group is for any woman working in or desiring to exit the s*x-for-sale industry, or who has suffered from s*xual abuse, trafficking or exploitation.  For more information and to register, call (239) 939-9218 or email Free child care is provided.

CURRENT NEEDS:  We serve over 40 clients on a regular basis and many others who are contemplating life change, and we need your help to continue being able to do so.  CLICK HERE for our current needs if you're looking for a way you can partner with Florida's 1st and only human trafficking, overcomer-led, community, service agency.

EVENTS:  We truly believe that human trafficking awareness leads to prevention, intervention, and restoration, and since the beginning of 2012, we have participated in over 80 events, reaching nearly 4000 people.  Ranging from 30-90 minutes, our multi-media presentations have been presented to ages 8 through 80+.  Venues include social service agencies, churches, universities, health departments and nursing associations, Girl Scouts and country clubs.  To see our upcoming events, including our National S*x Industry Outreach and Aftercare Training, CLICK HERE.  To schedule an overcomer to speak at your event or to invite BFA, CLICK HERE. 

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.  Our last audit revealed that 92.7% of funding goes directly to program services.  Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift today.  For donations of $35 or more, we'll send you our Child of God CD as our way to say thank you for partnering with us and letting you know how much we appreciate your support.  For secure online giving CLICK HERE or send your financial gift to 13300 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 56, Fort Myers, FL 33907.  Thank you!

MONTHLY PRAYER ALERT:  For details of how to pray for us during the month of October, CLICK HERE.

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We are honored to pray for you and your families! Please send your prayer requests to

WEEKLY GLOBAL PRAYER:  To meet with intercessors locally, call (239) 939-9218 for location.  To join us in spirit from wherever you are and for a prayer guide, CLICK HERE.

Stay up-to-date with the day-to-day activities of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries and latest news on domestic s*x trafficking by following us on Twitter & like us on our Facebook fanpage.

As the impact of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries continues to expand, I am amazed at the day to day operations and success stories.  This work could not be done without you, our faithful supporters.  On behalf of the staff, volunteers, interns, clients, and board, we thank you for partnering with us to prevent, reach, rescue, and restore victims of s*xual exploitation, abuse, trafficking. 

In His love and service,

Julie Shematz
Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers
239.939.9218 | 877.4BFA SOS (877.423.2767) Toll Free Help Line
Physical Address: 13180 N. Cleveland Ave.  Suite 111 | N. Fort Myers | FL | 33903
Mailing Address:  13300 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 56-623 | Fort Myers | FL | 33907 | USA 

"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

"Blue Stallion" Used by permission © Laurie Justice Pace

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meet the "Horse-Therapists"

We hear humans all the time say “My therapist lives in a barn”. Even saw a human once with a t-shirt on that said “My therapist is a horse”. Although it’s somewhat of a joke to some humans we “horse-therapists” take our job quite seriously.  I believe it was the great human Winston Churchill that once said “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” And women too! Although Winston wasn’t smart enough to figure out what that something was, we horses know.  It’s a special gift we have been given by our Creator, a gift that we three  “horse-therapists” don’t take lightly. A gift that we are excited about sharing with the humans that Beauty from Ashes™ Ministries serves. But first we want to tell you a little bit (no pun intended) about how we came to serve Beauty from Ashes™ (BFA) and what you can expect from us in future posts here on the BFA blog.

How we were rounded up to serve

It wasn’t that long ago that the human that owns us took Julie Shematz, Founder of Beauty from Ashes™ Ministries out on a trail ride with Candyman and I. Our owner loves sharing us with other humans because she loves us so. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to me but the smiles, laughter and joy I hear in hers and her guests voices make it all worth it.  Well, most days anyways - there are those days when I’d rather just graze in the pasture and nap in my stall. Little did I know that first ride, that those days would soon be filled with much more important humans to serve.

Our owner has always been pretty generous (especially with the treats!) and it didn’t take too many rides with Julie for her to decide that the humans BFA serve have challenges in life that us “horse-therapists” are quite apt to solve.  Things like trust, understanding, acceptance, responsibility, taking risks that are empowering vs. those that can get ya killed, unconditional love and more! The depth of horse wisdom is pretty astounding if I do say so myself.  So they decided we should hitch up and work together. Since partnering with BFA, it’s only multiplied the treats and loving for my herd, and me.  We were giddy with excitement to get started.

What to expect from us in future posts

When you head out on a trail ride it’s hard to say what treasures you will find. So I suspect this adventure will be much like that with its twists and turns, high and lows. There are a few things I know you can expect so I’ll just outline them for you here:

  • First things first I’ll be introducing myself and the herd and our unique horse-analities
  • A little laughter in pictures and in horse humor are sure to be sprinkled along the experiences and trails. Which to be honest is a lot nicer than what I usually sprinkle along the trail.
  • We’ll endeavor to share the stories, trials, and triumphs of the humans we serve at Beauty from Ashes™ Ministries. 
  • And where it’s appropriate, we’ll share life lessons our human has learned from us horses.

And I speak for the three of us when I say that I hope your visits here to Beauty from Ashes™ Ministries blog inspires to you to be generous to BFA as our human owner has been with us.  We promise to do everything in our horse power to help change the lives of these precious humans, if you’ll promise to do what you can.


The Boss 

Karen Zeigler is an inspirational writer, life coach, author, and speaker.  Author of "Freedom From Worry" she is the founder of "Inspiration to Change".  Inspiration to Change's mission is to inspire individuals and professionals to discover and create Freedom in every area of life.  A graduate of Florida State University, after 20+ years of being an Investment Advisor, following the economic collapse, she pursued Coaching, which has become her life's passion.  For 8 years, Karen was the host of the program Change Radio and is a regular guest on the Testimonies of Triumph television program.  She is also the owner of the Beauty From Ashes™ "Horse-Therapists".  For more about Karen, please visit

To find out more about BFA's Equine Programs, CLICK HERE