Beauty From Ashes Videos


Thursday, July 3, 2014

2014 Maker Award

WGCU awards Beauty from Ashes founder, Julie Shematz, the 2014 Maker: Women Who Make Southwest Florida award. This award is given to women of Southwest Florida who are leaving a legacy and impacting their communities in the most positive ways.

"I'm sitting before you now healed - committed to a process of healing and committed to doing something to help other people. There’s a scripture that says your gift will make a way for you,” said Julie Shematz. That Bible verse literally showed her the way to carry a message to a population of which she once was a part.

Shematz takes gift packages with beauty supplies and information about community resources for leaving “the life” into strip clubs. She and her evangelizing partners tell the manager they are there to offer encouragement and support to the entertainers. They’ve never been turned down.
For seven years, she was a member of the adult entertainment industry, at the mercy of a man who controlled her money and her life. She began working in strip clubs when she was a sophomore in college in Indiana and low on money. That experience – along with a master’s degree in mental health counseling from FGCU and her religious faith – fuel the outreach she does today. She has been married for 11 years to a man she met at church in Fort Myers. She calls herself an “overcomer.”
Shematz, who grew up on a 1,000-acre farm in the Midwest, began the program in 2005 to improve the lives of women and men who often have been sexually abused, exploited and the victims of human trafficking. Beauty from Ashes’ name also has a biblical basis, she said. “It comes from the scripture Isaiah 61: 1-3, which paraphrased is how God is drawn to the brokenhearted and he will exchange beauty for ashes.”
She spent some time as a church bookkeeper but eventually quit to work full time on her ministry. Beauty from Ashes is a national nonprofit now, helping sex workers get out of the business and educating young people to prevent them from falling into it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Beauty From Ashes Summer eNewsletter

We Are Now Based Out of the Tampa Bay Area!

     Greetings from the beautiful area of Tampa Bay, Florida!  We are finally relocated, and although we are still unpacking and settling, God has been divinely connecting me with organizations and individuals seeking professional help for victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking since I started working for The Salvation Army (TSA) back in December of 2013. 
     I absolutely LOVE my position with TSA Tampa Area Command, with a paid staff of nearly 30 persons and an army of volunteers ranging from high school students to senior citizens. I oversee 6 programs that provide 24/7 housing and services to nearly 300 individuals (women, men, and children), many of whom are victims of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking.  All of them are at high risk.  Since I've been there I've been able to facilitate direct and indirect services to 22 survivors, including five men from Honduras and one woman from Hungary, many referred by law enforcement both local and federal.  In June, myself and my team (Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Case manager) approved for four women to occupy our Human Trafficking Unit, allowing it to be at full capacity. 

     The Trafficking Unit is a safe place for women to go 
immediately upon leaving the sex industry where they can receive comprehensive and integrated services in order to help them plan for the next steps in their lives.  Whether that be going into a long term residential home (like our Women's Transitional Housing where employed women and families can stay for up to 2 years), acquiring employment, and/or reuniting with family, they have the opportunity to rest and refocus, with professional help from a treatment team, while staying there.  Ideally, I originally thought stays would be from one night up to three months, but it's apparent now that their time there will be based on an individualized treatment plan on a case by case basis.  It's exciting to see the vision for victims to be given the opportunity to receive the comprehensive services they need in order to recover from the trauma and injustices done to them, finally come to fruition!
     If you are woman who is ready to take the next step in exiting the sex industry and interested in a safe place to begin that journey, call (813) 273-0199. 
Special thanks go out to all our fantastic volunteers for their help in packing up and preparing for the big move! Not only did they help immensely, they made this awesome poster to express their love. We could not have possibly done it without all of your help, and we are so grateful to each and every one of you. Moving is such a stressful experience, and it is great to have everything safely packed and labeled as we unpack and put everything in its new place.  THANK YOU!

     We will continue to provide equine assisted learning and psychotherapy services in the Tampa Bay/Central Florida area. We currently are planning on launching our program at the world's largest women's state prison and at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command.
     If you are a ministry desiring to have your team experience a unique form of learning and team building, call (239) 939-9218.  We are
 currently scheduling group sessions with organizations to introduce them to this creative, evidence based treatment.  

NEW HORSE:  We have added a new horse, Kiss, a seven year old thoroughbred from the Second Chance Farm located at the Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala, FL.  Kiss and Morning Star Spirit have adapted to being together beyond what we could have ever imagined.  Kiss is 16:2 hands and weighs over 1200 lbs.  He's a big boy, very kind and gentle, and the perfect pasture mate to Morning Star Spirit.  He was hand picked by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to be a therapy horse with us and we look forward to him beginning his new career helping people learn and heal. To follow Spirit and Kiss's progress, "Like" Spirit's facebook page

WICHITA, KS NATIONAL TRAINING:  BFA presented our four day training in Wichita, KS April 1-4th to a group of individuals and agencies ranging from sex industry ministries, overcomers, and youth shelter staff, to law enforcement.  The fourth day was at the Hope House's Equine Facility where a demonstration of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy was presented.  Hope Ranch for Women is a residential program for survivors.  For more information about the Hope Ranch for Women, contact Cathy Turner, (316) 640-2627.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRAINING:  The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command will be hosting the Human Trafficking: Sex Industry OutREACH & AfterCARE Training, using the Beauty From Ashes Ministries™ national seminar curriculum, July 16-19th.  In addition to our professionally developed, comprehensive curriculum, we will be featuring guest speakers from law enforcement and organizations doing sex industry outREACH and afterCARE in the Tampa Bay Area! If you're an agency that would like to set up a table at the conference, call (813) 273-0199.  If you want to register for the event, CLICK HERE.  Limited Seating. Group discounts.

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:  As the Director of Social Services at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command, I currently have 5 interns and am channelling all persons desiring to intern with BFA through TSA. If you're interested in interning with one of the first anti-trafficking organizations in the world, TSA, and the first overcomer-led, community service agency in Florida, Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, email me at  We have intern opportunities for Bachelors, Masters, and state registered mental health counseling.  

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.  Donations go directly to assist survivors and to offset operational costs.  We currently are a volunteer driven non profit.  Please consider giving a tax-deductible gift today.  For secure online giving CLICK HERE or send your financial gift to 13300 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 56, Fort Myers, FL 33907.  Thank you!

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We are honored to pray for you and your families! Please send your prayer requests to
CLICK HERE to sign up for our quarterly eNewsletter.

As Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries enters a new and unexpected season, I am amazed at the opportunities God has granted me to assist women exiting out of sex for sale industry.  It was 12 years ago that God gave me the vision of comprehensive and integrated services, including a shelter and residential program. The vision could not have come to pass without you, our faithful supporters, partnering with me and believing for the impossible. Thank you for your commitment to reach, rescue, and restore victims of sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking.  Together, we are making a difference.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV
In Christ's love and service,

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