Now what? That is the question we found ourselves asking back in late 2011. Ronda Grace and I had been friends for over 10 years, both with a heart and passion for women and children experiencing exploitation, oppression and marginalization, and both having been involved in various efforts to help. We were ready to be more intentional, to bring together a community of like-minded individuals and seek out meaningful and effective ways to make a difference. Human trafficking as an international issue and the reality of the slavery that millions were experiencing – in the 21st century – was an issue that we were aware of but it soon became clear that this was not just an international situation. It was happening in the United States – and in our own backyard.
In early 2012 we decided it was time. We gathered a group of committed, faithful women to pray with us and invested in our education, training and trafficking resources. Later that year we began to seek opportunities to raise awareness about human trafficking happening here in New Hampshire. We shared, through a variety of events and individually, with anyone who would listen: friends, churches, youth groups, schools, civic organizations, and even the person at the grocery store. Since that time, we have presented to as few as five people and to as many as 200 or more. We realized early on that change begins with helping people learn about the issue – and that it is indeed happening here. But nothing happens just because we are aware…
As Real Life Giving grew, we expanded our efforts to include discipline-specific human trafficking training for medical professionals, service providers, educators, churches and youth organizations. In 2016 we began a street outreach to exploited and at-risk women and youth in Manchester, NH and have now added a craft class at a local organization which serves lunch and offers other programming to the homeless. Both serve as opportunities to make connections and build relationships with some of the most vulnerable in the city.
We completed our first 10-week mentoring program with trafficking survivors in 2017. Walking alongside women on their journey to renewed hope, restoration and purpose has been a tremendous blessing – and a huge motivator. There is much need – and also much reason for hope. Our dream is to open a daycenter for women where we can continue to help meet tangible needs and further expand upon the services we have available.
This is our story, to be continued…
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Donna is a New Hampshire native who enjoys exploring the region with her husband Rick. She loves creating word art, reading a good book from her ever-growing pile and enjoying a thought-provoking conversation with her family and friends.
Director of Communications
Rachel has lived in NH for most of her life and enjoys talking about big ideas, creating cards for her friends and family, and the pursuit to find the best mac and cheese in New England. In a different life, she would be a stand-up comedian.