“When my plans didn’t work out, I went back to the only thing I knew… selling my body for money.”

Unfortunately, Jessica* isn’t the only girl to say these words. In fact, there’s an epidemic of hopelessness that’s plaguing young women, and unless we intervene and offer hope, they may not see any way to leave the life of sex trafficking. This isn’t just a 3rd world problem; it’s in our communities right now.

Denver is the #2 city in America for trafficking.

Meet Jessica…

When my stepfather began sexually abusing me and I told my mom, she didn’t believe me. Instead, she blamed me. They divorced, but the relationship with my mom only deteriorated. I felt unsafe, unheard, and unloved. So when I was 14, I ran away to live with the only person that had ever made me feel safe — my ex-stepfather.

He was in a gang, so I got involved too. I started dating a gang banger, and while he hurt me, I figured he’d at least protect me from others. But what I didn’t realize was that my boyfriend had turned into my pimp.

When I saw him kill a girl for trying to leave him, I knew I was trapped. Four years passed. I eventually escaped and took refuge with two drug addicts because I had nowhere else to go. When I became pregnant, I knew my life needed to change. I wanted something better for me and my daughter.

Hope Academy of the Denver Street School has opened its doors and is working to make life better for girls like Jessica escaping a life of entrapment. We fill educational gaps, provide equine and other forms of therapy, facilitate intensive counseling, and show them the love of Jesus.

For 30 years, we’ve been a beacon of light in Denver for youth at-risk of failing in life. This new campus gives us the opportunity to serve even more hurting youth in our city.

And thanks to our “Double Your Donation” campaign, you have the chance for your dollar to make even more of an impact this summer. For every dollar you donate, a dollar will be matched– up to $50,000!

Will you help us continue serving the hopeless? We need you! Your support makes all the difference.

*Name changed to protect student’s identity.

Originally written 07/16/2015