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Non-Denominational Courage Conference in Raleigh, NC on October 20-21

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Have you or a loved one been impacted by abuse within Christianity? The Courage Conference is a non-denominational event in Raleigh, NC on October 20-21, 2017

… that will offer a judgement-free place for survivors of abuse (and those who love them) to gather and hear inspiring stories from other survivors about moving forward in boldness and healing. The event will also educate pastors and church leaders on the topic of abuse and introduce them to safe practices and resources for their faith community. The Courage Conference offers a unique opportunity to hear from advocates and trained professionals through inspiring keynotes talks, Q&A sessions and workshops in addition to connecting attendees with local and national resources, so you don’t have to do this alone. As a bonus, enjoy a healing music performance by Natalie Greenfield. Read More

Technology to Deter Buyers and Reach Victims – Webinar September 21

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Please join CEASE Network for their upcoming webinar, featuring Robert Beiser, Executive Director of Seattle Against Slavery and CEASE Seattle Core Team member. During the session, Robert will showcase Chat Bot and Victim Reachout, two cutting-edge tools developed in collaboration with Microsoft volunteers. Chat Bot and Victim Reachout were built to deter potential buyers of illegal commercial sex and support service provider outreach to victims of prostitution. Chat Bot provides law enforcement with the ability to place bots in decoy ads which interact with—and send deterrence messages to—thousands of potential and current sex buyers. Victim Reachout allows service providers to connect potential trafficking victims to essential exit and recovery services in their area.

We hope you can attend to learn more about how the integration of these pioneering digital tools will help accelerate the work of disrupting and deterring sex buyers and provide a critical mechanism to reach victims of sex trafficking, in real time.

This webinar is open to the general public.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET

Log-in information will be sent to
your email upon registration completion

Register Here

About the Speaker
Robert Beiser is the Executive Director of Seattle Against Slavery (SAS) and CEASE Seattle Core Team member. After several years at Microsoft, he left the tech world to work in the nonprofit sector as a social justice advocate. His role with SAS began in 2010 as the volunteer Public Awareness Campaigns Manager. Robert holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from UW and travels the country speaking on technology and human trafficking.

Remembering John Zvara

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With heavy hearts, we pass along news that John Zvara, a friend, Boston leading light, and co-founder of three schools in the city–Park Street Kids, Park Street School, and Boston Trinity Academy–died peacefully surrounded by family on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. A memorial service will be held at 1 PM on Saturday, September 23rd at Park Street Church.

Until just a few months before he passed, John was passionately and actively involved with Park Street Church and these three schools. Recognizing this, in lieu of flowers, John’s family requests donations be made to these organizations. Gifts may be made by clicking the links below and specifying “In memory of John Zvara”.




Our prayers and blessings go out to the whole Zvara family and gratitude to our Creator for this fine human being who touched so many and always had a twinkle in his eye and a vision brewing in his heart. We will miss you John! Read More

Join Opportunity International for 2017 National Summit in Chicago October 27-29

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Join more than 200 entrepreneurs, business executives, philanthropists, corporate/nonprofit leaders, and local, national & international dignitaries in Chicago October 27-29. Learn more about Opportunity International’s high-impact investments in education around the world. Read More

Leadership Transformations Celebrates 14 Years – Benefit Concert with Fernando Ortega on October 21

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Fernando Ortega is a gifted musician, singer, and songwriter. His approach to music breaks the boundaries of the Contemporary Christian genre, to include elements of folk, classical, Celtic, Latin American, world, and rustic hymnody. Also evident in Fernando’s music are thematic elements of world–weariness, uncertainty, doubt, and mystery, each of which has been forged in the crucible of his experience as a sojourner of the Christian faith, acknowledging in a uniquely musical way the difficult tension Christians face on this side of eternity as they live in the space between despair and hope. Click below for a few audio samples of Fernando’s songs. Read More

Partnering to Take Rape Crisis Counseling To Global Scale

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We are pleased this month to hear from Elie Calhoun, Co-director of Code Innovation, about the launch of a new app that responds to the global epidemic of sexual violence by teaching users how to “do” rape crisis advocacy in any health center to help get survivors the emergency medical care they need. Elie is an inspired global changemaker with whom we have the good fortune of partnering to not only scale impact but also to use technology to amplify the work of social change. Follow her at @eliecalhoun.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the deadly floods in Sierra Leone and South Asia, our minds are drawn to disasters and the suffering of displaced people. UNICEF child protection experts say that in emergencies, the first planes on the ground don’t belong to humanitarians but rather human traffickers, there to steal people before anyone registers they’re missing.

While trafficking often seems far away, sexual assault isn’t: we all know a survivor, or like me, we are one ourselves. The statistics are harrowing. We know that one in three or four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, depending on her background1. For the LGBTQIA population, the numbers can be as high as one in two and for men, the number is still as high as one in six.

According to UNICEF, “the displacement and separation of families and communities place women and girls at increased risk of violence and abuse2.” The emotional, mental and physical health consequences of sexual assault remain with a survivor for life and affect their relationships, work and life opportunities. We all know this, even if it is rarely spoken about.

But trauma can be treatable and the natural post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression that often occur after sexual assault or intimate partner violence can be treated: the sooner the better. We know that having a trained advocate present during the critical hours that a survivor navigates the emergency health care system dramatically increases the likelihood of their full recovery, as well as their willingness to navigate the criminal justice system3.

While logically, there is no shame in being the victim of a crime, our social, health and justice systems often treat survivors as criminals. Even in rich countries, when rape survivors seek medical care and legal justice they are often traumatized a second time by their encounter with an uncaring and uncooperative system. In countries or contexts where rape is likely not to be treated as a crime, survivors face a second ordeal in their attempt to seek care and justice.

Rape Crisis Counseling gives someone the knowledge to support survivors in their community. This information is simple but currently not accessible. I had to train for 40 hours to become a certified New York State Rape Crisis Counselor after passing a drug test and psychological screening and promising to volunteer monthly for two years.

It is my committed belief that this information needs to be available to everyone, so I am partnering with a global coalition, including the DC Rape Crisis Center, the oldest in the United States. Together, we’re creating a free and open source digital platform that shares Rape Crisis Counseling methods with whoever needs it, wherever they are.

My company, Code Innovation, takes high-impact solutions to poverty and inequity and uses exponential technologies to take them to global scale. There is a pattern to finding something amazing and making it into a digital platform, and we’ve been working on this for almost a decade in the international development space. In fact, our best practices and lessons learned contributed to UNICEF’s Innovation Principles which then became the Digital Principles. As early signatories, we pledged to create solutions that are free and open source because we believe that solutions like these need to be in as many hands, as quickly as possible.

I decided we needed to scale rape crisis counseling by making a digital platform when I read my friend Jina Moore’s article, “An Aid Worker Was Raped in South Sudan and the UN Did Nothing About It”. I asked a few hundred women’s rights activists on a global listserv if they thought a platform with this content would be a good idea and got strong support in reply.

Now, thanks to the Imago Dei Fund and the partnership of the first rape crisis center in the United States, the DRRCC, we are at work finalizing the training primer content of the first version of our platform. At Code, we are leading over a dozen global women’s health and human rights organizations in a co-creation process for the content, which was itself open sourced from the DCRCC, the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape coalition and the US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. We have translations of the app and platform lined up for Arabic and Farsi, and we hope to expand to many other languages in 2018 with the support of future partners.

From my side, I’m committed to creating a multilingual platform that guides survivors and their advocates in how to get life-saving medical care in a system that currently discriminates against them. When we publish our first version on the app stores later this year, we’ll get feedback from volunteers and women’s rights organizations. Our vision is that networks of volunteers and organizations take this training and empower us all to respond more adequately and appropriately to survivors in our community.

With your support and the app in-hand, we can change how the health system responds to gender-based violence. We can support survivors as they navigate the road to recovery and justice. Thank you for caring about this issue and for reading my story.

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“Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
Desmond Tutu