Name: CeCe’s Hope Center
Age: 3 and a half!
Title: Champion for Traumatized and Exploited Women
Married/Single: I am married to our mission!
Kids: Every young woman we serve becomes part of the CeCe’s Family. We have more than 15 young women that we are proud to call our daughters!
City you live in: I get mail in Tempe, but meet our program participants where they need to be met. I have become really good at FaceTime and Zoom sessions!
A typical day in my life includes… Checking on program participants and evaluating their plans of care, connecting to program partners and collaborators in search of resources and support for our girls, talking with volunteers and donors, and being ready for anything that comes my way!
I was born…With a desire to help young women in that fragile time in their life when they are no longer a child, yet still require a safety net of wisdom, support, and resources. Was your daughter on her own the day she turned 18? Were you? Even if she/you were, chances are you had a family member or responsible adult providing positive influence during the first 18 years, and, likely, they were available after you turned 18 to reach out to for help or advice. We try and fill this need by connecting our program participants to life-changing services and resources and always being there to listen to their worries and their dreams and support their journey.
My favorite thing about Arizona…Is the community that is interested in learning more about the risks and realities of trafficking and wanting to gather to support those who have been victimized.
I’m listening to…Podcasts about innovative and bold steps communities are taking to intervene in the business of trafficking and solve this worldwide tragedy.
My family…Are huge supporters! It takes a village to care for our program participants and we are so grateful for our Family of Hope!
If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…CeCe. She is a young woman who survived a traumatic childhood, successfully transitioned to adulthood and found her happiness. This organization dedicated to her memory and we would love to share with her the many story of success in her name.
One thing I cannot live without…Community. It takes so many hearts and minds to provide the wrap around services and support needed by each of our program participants.
When I was younger, I wanted to be…The bridge to hope for young women who have survived sexual abuse and exploitation. I am still growing into the fulfillment of my founding mission! We must be able to provide housing to the women we serve.
I’m inspired by…The wellspring of courage that lives in each of the women we serve. This courage drives them to overcome the unfathomable and walk forward towards their future.
The one person who motivates me is… Each survivor that doesn’t let the past define their future. They embrace their value and show the world how strong we all can be.
If I could change anything in the world, it would be… If we can’t eliminate trauma, I would like us all to gain a better awareness of it. When we become “trauma-informed,” we better understand ourselves and those around us.
The perfect day would be…Achieving a milestone for any of our program participants. Healing is a journey of many small steps.
My first job was… Establishing what was needed most for trafficking victims, ensuring we were creating a program to serve them best, gathering supporters and leaders who recognized change was needed.
My life…A whirlwind of navigating 2020, but know that we will continue to thrive in order to serve the many survivors who need our support and guidance.
I’m currently working on…Identifying a location for short term housing and securing the resources to make it our home.
Always…Listen, encourage, and lift up those around you. You never what someone has endured in their life.
Never… Judge an individual their past. We need each other to flourish become our best self.
Favorite Quote: I love Loren Eiseley’s story about the starfish thrower. One day, a man was walking along the shore and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. As he got closer, he noticed that it was a young woman, and she was not dancing at all.
The young woman was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young woman paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean”. “Why?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die”. Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”.
At this, the young woman bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, she said, “I made a difference to that one!”
Biggest Dream… My biggest dream is that one day, there will be no need for my services. Children will be safe from sexual predators and traffickers and free to experience childhood and grow into confident and productive adults.
My Pet Peeve(s)… When a victim of trafficking and trauma is dismissed as being too dramatic or given a timeline for recovery. The individual journey for those who have survived this trauma is always unique. No two stories are alike.
More About CeCe’s Hope Center:
Founded in 2017, CeCe’s Hope Center is dedicated to the memory of a young woman who survived a traumatic childhood, successfully transitioned to adulthood, and found her happiness.
Our mission CeCe’s Hope Center it to the lives and future of 18-24-year-old female victims of sexual abuse and exploitation by bridging the gap in available services and support. We focus on women who have aged out, or about to age out, of the foster care or justice system and those recently rescued by law enforcement.
CeCe’s Hope Center bridges the gap in available resources and support for this special population. We meet them where they are, with a hotline, mentoring, case management, and soon, temporary/short-term housing for those that do not have a safe place to live while they build the foundation for their future.