August 23, 2022
The thrill of seeing your friends after a summer apart, the glossy shine of new textbooks, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils…the back-to-school season was always my favorite time of year. I can still remember the butterflies in my stomach that I would get the night before my first day in a new class. I loved learning and school felt like my passport to the land of all things new and exciting.
The reality is, school is a more than a place of learning for many. For thousands of vulnerable kids across the country, school is a lifeline — it might be the only safe place they know. For those who are at risk for, or may have experienced exploitation, school could be the only place someone might be able to recognize their pain, respond with the right resources, and begin to walk with them on the road to healing. We know schools play a critical role in this fight.
This school year, I’m filled with hope. Our team has been able to support school districts across our state in their anti-trafficking efforts. Five districts are now screening kids from elementary to high school. From Southeast Texas, along the gulf coast, to the plains of West Texas, kids are heading back to teams who are championing their safety this year.
Recovery ultimately begins with connection. Kids need to connect with folks who care and can help. Conversely, individuals working with these youth need to connect with the right tools to identify them and respond quickly. None of us can tackle this issue alone.
Are you working with a school district that’s not yet screening for trafficking? Let’s connect.
Tally Jorn, LSMW