Beauty From Ashes Videos


Monday, May 27, 2013

Open Door at the World's Largest Women's Prison, New Therapy Horse, Art & Horse Camp, Training Nursing Students & More!

I was deeply touched by the opportunity to share my testimony and discus s*x trafficking with over 300 female inmates at the world's largest women's prison, the Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala, FL on Tuesday, May 7th.  Not only was I greeted by women that I had met during strip club outREACHES, one of the first women I saw was a former Department of Corrections client I had through my internship at the Salvation Army!  Over 200 of the females I spoke to are ages 15 - 21 and over 25 waited to speak to me and asked me to pray for them afterwards.  Almost everyone of them self identified as survivors of trafficking.  Research tells us that those that haven't been abused, exploited and/or trafficked are high risk to become victims.  Many of them requested transitional assistance and someone to write to them and encourage them in their faith while they are incarcerated.  If you are interested in being a pen pal or mentor to these minors and young women, please contact me.  Amazingly, after I presented and met the warden, I was given an open invitation to speak anytime!  I committed to speaking quarterly until I complete my graduate studies and will be developing an art therapy program for the facility.   Additionally, they provided a tour of their Equine Facility for Retired Thoroughbred Horses.  Discussions have begun in also developing a equine assisted learning and therapy program for the women in the equine program.  To watch a powerful video of this wonderful program, CLICK HERE.

Thoroughbred horses are typically bred and trained young and extremely hard for one thing only, winning races and money.  For every "Orb" (Kentucky Derby Winner) and "Oxbow" (Preakness Winner) there are thousands of thoroughbreds broken down from training with shattered hopes they might be champions.  Sadly, most of their fates end in slaughter houses rather than winner's circles.  There are programs that rescue these horses and provide them with a second chance.  It is only appropriate that one of our therapy horses be a rescue given a second chance.   Meet Song of Greatness, an 8 year old, retired thoroughbred from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation located at the Lowell Correctional Institute.  We will be transporting Song of Greatness back to North Fort Myers in the next couple of weeks.  He will be joining our other Therapy Horses.  Click here for more information on our Equine Programs.

We have only a small number of places left for our Art & Horse Summer Camp, for ages 7 through 17!  We are only accepting 6 individuals per one week session, July 22 - 26 and August 12 - 16.  Camp will run Monday through Friday 8:30am - 1:00pm.  Attendees will learn about art and produce it through discipline based art education, as well as be taught basic equine care and handling.  On Friday, we'll have an art and horse show where students can show their creations and skills to parents and loved ones.  All proceeds will go to our Art & Equine Therapeutic Programs. For more information and to register, CLICK HERE.

Only a few seats are left!  If you haven't registered, do so quickly.  We will be presenting our faith based, best practices, model of reaching and restoring individuals from the sex for sale industry on July 17 - 21st at Barry University in Fort Myers, FL.  Limited Seating. For more information and to register, CLICK HERE.

When I started doing strip club outREACHes in 2002, there were less than 5 ministries nationwide doing this unique type of outREACH.  Today, there are more than 170 worldwide and every weekend there are teams of individuals going into strip clubs taking His light in darkness.  Because of the difficulty of trying to keep up with so many ministry's, we are highlighting them every weekend on our Facebook fanpage.  If you are interested in finding out who, where and what is happening, check it out and thank God for so many individuals and churches who are boldly going where only a few once did!

On Wednesday, May 22nd, we will be presenting on human trafficking to the nursing students in Immokalee, Florida at the Lee Technical Center Nursing Students.

To schedule Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries at your event, a training or presentation, or an overcomer to share their testimony, call (239) 939-9218 or email

This month we'd like to acknowledge Tamara Thompson (TJ) for her selfless contributions to our ministries.  Whether it be mucking and scrubbing stalls, exercising our therapy horses or personally assisting me and Steve Shematz in moving, two words describe TJ:  faithful and dependable.  Thank you TJ for all the ways you've blessed Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries and me personally!

We need a refrigerator, picnic table, gently used and new riding boots, and volunteers!   CLICK HERE for our current needs if you're looking for a way you can partner with Florida's 1st, human trafficking, overcomer-led, community, service agency.

If you are passionate about fighting human trafficking and want to partner with one of the nation's pioneering ministries in this specialized field, there are many unique and creative ways to support Beauty From Ashes™.  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!

Our program and operational costs are funded through private donations.  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 May, CLICK HERE.

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

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 ministries of Beauty From Ashes™ and the latest news on domestic s*x trafficking by following us on Twitter & like us on our Facebook fanpage.

As I enter into the third week of my final semester of full time graduate school at Florida Gulf Coast University, I am simply grateful for our partners who have embraced the vision and mission of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries since 2005.  I am extremely grateful for those who have stood with me as the ministry has grown, expanded, and refined our services to survivors of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.  Thank you for partnering with me in the development of the ministries of Beauty From Ashes™, where victims become overcomers.

With sincere appreciation,

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