AWC Berlin is participating in 2020’s “16 Days” campaign by posting stories on gender-based violence to inform and inspire action. Follow the series on our blog and social media and let us know what actions you’re taking.
Editor’s Note: In 2016, as part of our blog series in support of “16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence,” we posted “The Story of JACK,” letting members know about an organization that serves survivors of human trafficking living in Berlin.
The Story of JACK Updated
by Karen Castellon, AWC Member
In April 2019, AWC Berlin offered an Auction of Talents (AOT), hosting more than one hundred members and their guests who raised over €16,000 for JACK Berlin by bidding on special events that featured members’ talents, from cooking to sailing to photography. The AOT special events began the week after the auction with a traditional German Kaffeeklatsch. The various talent events continued through spring and summer with generous hostesses and engaged participants enjoying, among many options, guided boat and bike rides, food-and-drink-themed gatherings, and ended in the fall with a Mexican dinner and an iPhoto workshop. The first event of its kind for AWC Berlin, the Auction of Talents brought members together in a unique mix of fellowship and fundraising, the result of the organizing acumen and energy of then Philanthropy Chair Stephanie Biery, as well as the work of former President Janel Schermerhorn and the Board.
AWC Berlin’s donation supported two primary initiatives for JACK: security and childcare. The security initiative focused on creating a safer environment for program participants, their children, and teachers. This included storage lockers to secure personal belongings, new window coverings to create privacy while in the classrooms, and an improved lock system to increase security while in the building. The childcare initiative for children under the age of six whose mothers take classes at JACK focused on providing an updated environment. The renovation of the childcare center in the basement included creating a space for napping, repairing the plumbing in the unreliable sink, adding heaters for the winter months, cleaning the carpet, repainting the rooms, and adding storage at a safe height.
To kick off improvements to the childcare center, the local USA Girl Scouts Overseas troop of Brownies collaborated with AWC Berlin by holding a fundraising event, using the money raised to give JACK a toy cabinet with bins for the childcare area. A troop leader and her daughter helped to assemble and set up this new furniture for the children. Organized by the Director of Community Outreach, Molly Brown, the Club hosted a painting day during which members volunteered to assist with painting and other projects in the childcare center. Funds were used to buy a much-needed laptop computer and two whiteboards to replace the old chalkboards. One of the large whiteboards was installed in a classroom, and the other was a portable model that could be moved to different spaces.
Auctioning the talents of our members to support an organization helping women in our own community to help themselves and their families was a gratifying experience for all involved. Whether a member offered a talent or learned from the expertise of another, we all benefitted and played a role in improving the lives of formerly trafficked persons.
Breaking the Cycle Of Human Trafficking
We’re proud to have been able to help JACK serve its clients, survivors working to reclaim their lives. When we confront gender-based violence in the form of human trafficking, we recognize that collaboration between survivors and volunteers through organizations like JACK is key to breaking the cycle.
There are numerous tools available to combat human trafficking. Pick an area, find a tool, and take action.
Call to Action
- Share this post on your social media.
- Listen and learn from The CNN Freedom Project.
- Get involved with groups like JACK Berlin that help survivors of human trafficking.
- Shop for holiday gifts that are ethically sourced and display the “Fair Trade” logo.
- Learn more about ethically sourced products at End Slavery Now.