After a tremendous year of financial growth in 2020, we realized that the time was right to grow our organization. We are so happy to announce our first full-time hire, Justin Adderholt. Justin will be filling our organization’s long-standing need for a Development Director. He brings 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising and an invaluable voice of consistency to Blanket Fort Hope. In this new role, he will be responsible for building relationships with donors, influencers, and vendors that will help build the presence and scope of our organization in Alabama.
In the beginning of last year, Justin came across our mission through our partnership with The Church at Brook Hills. He was so moved by our presentation, that he reached out immediately to set a meeting with Alexa. Within the next month, they had begun work on updating the brand and making plans for the new website. Since serving in a volunteer capacity for the last year, he has breathed life and consistency into our brand presence while also overseeing the launch of our brand-new website, integrating our brand standards, event promotion, and building relationships through volunteer coordination.
We are excited and confident in his abilities to help Blanket Fort Hope reach its next goal of building the restorative therapeutic center for child survivors. Please welcome Justin to our team!
Not a full month into 2021 and God is already doing great work! We are excited to announce we have made an offer on a beautiful 73 acre piece of property in Shelby County, Alabama! Partially developed with existing baseball fields that will continue to be leased to a nearby Christian school, and the rest ripe for development, we know this is the land God is calling us to!
We are praising God for this special opportunity to develop and build Alabama’s first home to provide dedicated therapeutic assistance to child victims of trafficking. “Fort Hope Ranch” will serve these precious children by providing them with stability, love, therapy, education, freedom, while exposing them to the Gospel truths of Jesus Christ.
We pray you will join us in celebrating this tremendous win for Blanket Fort Hope!
If you would like to make a contribution to our Investing In Hope capital campaign to help build Alabama’s first crisis and therapeutic center for child victims of human trafficking, please consider a one-time or recurring donation directly to our housing fund.
In November of this year, Blanket Fort Hope gave a presentation at a local elementary school in Birmingham, Alabama. Our mission for this event was to deliver knowledge and awareness to school aged children, in the hopes that it would prevent future trafficking abuse. Over the course of 3 days, we gave several 30 minute introductory sessions into the nature of human trafficking, who it effects, and what the children could do to protect themselves and those around them.
Reaching these children would have been sufficient to define this event as a success. But little did we know that we would have two children reach out to us with their own stories of being involved in trafficking situations. (We were able to verify the validity of these stories and caretakers were already aware of these situations.) Below is the letter given to us by one of these victims that highlights the real impact and cost of child trafficking. It is a stark reminder of how vulnerable even children from affluent neighborhoods are, and that this evil respects no age, gender, or socio economic barriers.
3 Quick Stories & Some Advice to My Peers
So, this is not a question, more of a sharing moment and a bit of advice.
1) Last summer, I was 14, and this 18 year old male that I knew personally threatened me for pornography and proceeded to touch & grope me while at work. he then share them [the pictures] with all his friends, even the ones that worked with us. I was afraid and unaware of what to do. Soon, word go around and my dad found out. I had to do a police report and there was an investigation. Turns out, the guy had been doing it to tons of young girls my age over social media. He’s now in jail.
2) I was online and this guy also threatened my (sic) for pornography, and then used the pictures to manipulate me and he told me I had to be his slave & his slut. he made me address him as “sir”. Eventually I reported him on the app and blocked him.
3) Yet again, I was threatened for pornography. The guy then proceeded to edit the pictures with words like “slut” & “whore”. he posted them on many different porn sites. I screenshot the texts, then changed my mind about telling someone because I was too scared. My mom found the screenshots.
These three situations are 100% true. I told myself that I would never be pressured. I’d never send pornography, I’d never cut, I’d never drink. but I did all of them. It’s different when you’re in the actual situation yourself. I felt like I couldn’t be around anyone because I was so ashamed of myself for a very long time. I thought I was a disgrace and didn’t deserve to live. I ran away from home and was gone for 4 hours. Eventually the sheriff found me. I was terrified. I was broken, and I hurt myself a lot. Slowly throughout the past two years I’ve been working on improving my self-esteem, I’ve been more happy and a kinder person. I was also put in a mental hospital for this stuff back in February.
So, don’t be mad or upset with your parents if you catch them going through your phone! They are just trying to protect you. I wish I had listened to them and had realized all this sooner.
Even though you don’t know who wrote this, I am always here if you need to talk.
I love you guys.
Anonymous Student at affluent, over the mountain Birmingham School
If you would like to make a end of the year give to our Investing In Hope capital campaign to help build Alabama’s first and only crisis and therapeutic center for child victims of human trafficking, please consider a one-time or recurring donation directly to our housing fund.
We’ve finally made it through 2020! And while the threat of COVID-19 still looms over 2021, by the grace of our Lord we have come through 2020 on the bright side and in a position of growth. We have big plans for next year and our mission can’t go forward without your generosity.
Our Mission Looking Forward
As in years past, our mission for 2021 remains the same. We are still planning on building Alabama’s first crisis and therapeutic center for child victims of human trafficking. This is our core mission and it will be unchanging until the Lord moves us into the field of caring for these children. At that time, our mission will be to bring joy to children who so desperately need it, while at the same time being sure they hear and have access to the Word of God and the message of Jesus Christ.
We have been very active in our online advocacy this year. We brought on four volunteer professionals in marketing, advertising, web development, and project management. They have helped to rebuild our branding strategy, manage our social media presence, organize our task workload, and complete our brand new website. With all of these advances in administration, we now have the ability to centralize our regular updates and resources, and focus on telling stories from our mission in an attractive way that generates more interest. Our hope and prayer is that this renewed interest in our mission will expand our donor base and see our mission come through successfully.
Consider Setting Up A One-Time or Recurring Donation Today
We made great strides and God opened and shut many doors over the course of 2020. We remain hopeful that our prayers for acceptable land and facility funds will come to us.
We looked at several properties over the course of 2020, none of which panned out. But going forward in 2021, we have our eyes set on the Shelby County area, where our main offices are located. We feel called to this area and trust that the Lord will bring us land and hope for the children.
That hasn’t stopped us from building out concrete plans for administration and a full 9-step onboarding process for the children. We have worked closely with DHR and other industry professionals to ensure our programs, as well as our training and staffing practices, are up to par. Through this successful and positive relationship with Alabama DHR, we are confident future children will be well served.
Our training sessions in our community have been an overwhelming success this year. All in all, we served over 2,500 people at 16 different venues.
The Church at Brook Hills
The Church at Brook Hills Foster Training – to small group foster families
Save Life Tuscaloosa
The Truth About Sex-Trafficking 2 Part Online Sessions
Church of the Highlands Small Group Curriculum – Winter and Summer Semesters
Lifeline Children’s Services
Indian Springs School
Alabama Association of Paralegals
The Chamber of commerce/Trussville
And many other one-off training sessions
In 2020, we were able to reach Probate Judges, teachers, students, government employees, DHR professionals, healthcare professionals, Chambers of commerce, church congregations and small groups, as well as many various individuals through zoom meetings across the state.
We also spoke about the truth of human trafficking on the Behind the Mike Podcast and Breitbart Radio, which allowed us to expand our voice to markets outside of Alabama.
We hope to see this trend in expanding our voice continue into 2021!
This year saw the biggest growth yet for our organization in all areas including in our Investing in Hope campaign for property and housing, training, advocating, staff, events, our board and operations.
Goals For The Future
In 2021 we pray that our “Investing in Hope” campaign for land and housing will be complete so we can start building a beautiful home for these precious children.
Our specific needs are:
1 Million for Property and Facility Investment
$300,000 – The First Next Steps Therapeutic Cottage Investment
$350,000 Staffing and Operation Investment
Blanket Fort Hope exists to bring these children home, please join us in 2021 to fulfill the mission that God has laid before us all. Thank you for your prayers, generosity and support in 2020. I look forward to breaking ground with you all in 2021.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
There are no beds in the state of Alabama dedicated to child victims of human trafficking. In fact, there are fewer than 600 beds in the entire country. Even though Blanket Fort Hope’s goal is to build a crisis center for these children, we very much lean on educating the foster parents who so regularly find themselves guardians of a trafficked child.
The signs are easy to miss. The struggles and the trauma are real.
Due to the sensitive nature and very real dangers of the world of human trafficking, names have been removed from this real story to protect the families of those involved.
Eleven years ago, my husband and I decided to pursue a life as adoptive foster parents. We had experiences with all kinds of children and we knew that most of them came from a system that didn’t want them. This alone would often leave them traumatized and troubled. And we knew that. And sometimes it wasn’t easy.
Then one day we fostered a young lady of 14 years old. While she was definitely a troubled child, we never thought that her trauma would have run into sexual abuse. That was until she disclosed to a Christian counselor at our church that, prior to being placed into the foster system, she had been abused by a family member.
We went about the business of pouring our lives into this young girl, which is something nobody had ever done for her. It didn’t happen overnight, but in time, her exterior, hardened by years of neglect and abuse, began to soften. She started showing small signs of improvement like making good grades and better decisions for herself. We would later adopt this girl and we lovingly welcomed her into our family. She has a future now, she has a hope.
I wonder about some of the other children we’ve fostered over the years. There were others who showed signs of being trafficked; STDs, truancy, sexually hyperactivity, drugs, and tattoos in adolescence. We never adopted those girls and they would all leave our home at some point. But I wonder, was there anything I could have done? If we had just known the signs, could we have gotten them help sooner?
In a small part, it’s this guilt that gives me and my husband a heart to educate other foster parents about human trafficking. We want them to know what the signs are so when a child comes into their home and they are lashing out, they might be able to answer the question, “Has this child been sexually abused or trafficked?” Blanket Fort Hope is absolutely necessary to give these young women a future that might otherwise never come to them. We see their mission, we believe in it, and we trust that the love of Christ will bring hope to the victims they would rescue.
In 2020, we need our communities to hear more than just the statistics. We need to put real stories in front of real people to see real change. If you or someone you know has been a victim, we would love to be able to give you a voice and a chance to make a difference. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you share your story anonymously.