A safe place to lay your head at night is something that many have grown up comfortably with, but to a survivor of human trafficking, it is an invaluable privilege that has not always been granted. Alabaster Jar Project’s Grace House offers a solution to this problem. It is a safe house provided for up to six survivor clients of Alabaster jar where residents have their basic needs met, are protected at an undisclosed private location, and are free to safely start their new lives.
Once residents’ basic needs are met, the healing and rebuilding process can begin. Because Grace House is funded by donations, vocational and educational opportunities are now ready, available and encouraged. Residents are encouraged to find work or jump-start their education with a two-year plan in mind. If finding work is a priority, they are guided in the job searching process, and once employment is obtained, residents have the ability to save money for up to two years. Vocational opportunities through Alabaster Jar Project are also provided with a plan in the works for a survivor vocational network to be in place under the AJP umbrella. If education is a priority, residents are guided through the scholarship application process and have help signing up for financial aid at the local adult schools and community college. They are set up for success all while maintaining a safe and comfortable home.
But the house is much more than a safe house; it is a community. New survivors in the house are surrounded by mentors and survivor leaders who can provide their guidance and support to them as they work to rebuild their lives. Grace House offers weekly bible studies and other group activities, and dinners are routinely shared and often prepared together by the house residents. GH residents are encouraged to support each other in order to build a community of survivor sisters.
Many survivors suffer from trauma symptoms including nightmares, anxiety attacks, and hypervigilence, and symptoms can be at their worst when they first decide to leave the life. Grace House is a safe haven to residents where they can deal with trauma without having to worry about meeting their basic needs and can focus on healing. There are pantries stocked with food, warm beds in fully furnished rooms, a house manager staff member on duty at all times, and there are night lights in all halls of the home. Something as simple as a night light can make a restless night full of nightmares into something a traumatized person can cope with and overcome.
Grace house is available to eligible survivors for up to two years and is designed to usher them into their new life. It’s not the final goal in the revolution, but it’s an important step towards independence and true freedom. Our house is more than a symbol of rehabilitation. It’s a home. If you would like to make a donation to help Alabaster Jar’s Grace House, please visit the donation page on our website: alabasterjarproject.org/donate
By Amanda Moon Ellevis, San Diego Journalist