Human Trafficking Awareness month

From the Director
Betsy Huggett, Executive Director

Happy New Year to everyone out there! We have had an amazing holiday season here at Diane Peppler Resource Center. The outpouring of support for our families was amazing beyond belief. We are so grateful for everyone who thinks of us during the holiday season. But now the holidays are over and our services have not ceased to operate. I am grateful for the staff who worked during this time and provided the best Christmas and New Year for the clients we are working with. Their commitment to our movement comes with no little amount of dedication.

January for us means a focus on Human Trafficking Awareness month. The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. Our focus here is on sexual exploitation. This is being done in many ways and is here in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

What sexual exploitation or commercial sex trades can look like here would be ads for modeling careers, waitressing, nannies, and “One Day Only” recruiting. These “recruiters” are sex trade workers or pimps. They will promise big things like money, clothes, technology items, and trips. They will take them to places like Grand Rapids, Detroit, or Flint. They will blend in with the environment by meeting in places like casinos, restaurants, or shopping centers. They will advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Backpage, or flyers posted around town.

Diane Peppler Resource Center, in conjunction with other members of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force, is hosting one of several educational events throughout the Upper Peninsula. On January 22, 2018 from 10:00am until 11:30am at LSSU Art Center Theater, we will have Leslie Hagan from the Department of Justice and Todd Wilton from Immigration and Customs Enforcement presenting some basic information regarding what we can do to help stop human trafficking in our area. If you can’t make that one, there will be another presentation in Bay Mills on the 22nd from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at the Bay Mills Casino Horizon Conference Center.

We look forward to seeing everyone there. I truly believe that together, once we learn what to look for, we can stop people from perpetrating human trafficking on the unsuspecting citizens of the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

White Out Hockey Game

Jessica Miles, Violence Prevention Educator
With this wonderful winter wonderland that we are living in right now I wanted to extend an invitation to attend the Lake State Lakers and Diane Peppler Resource Center for the White Out Violence game on January 12th. The game starts at 7 pm on Friday the 12th, where we will be giving out long sleeve shirts to the attendees. My hope is to turn the inside of the Taffy Abel Arena white like there was a hole in the ceiling and the snow covered all the seats.

The White Ribbon Campaign was started in Toronto, Canada in 1991 by a group of men and boys to end violence against women and girls, promoting gender equality, a new vision of masculinity, and healthy relationships. White Ribbon campaign is now in over 60 countries around the world and is one of the largest movements. The White Ribbon Campaign asks men and boys to never commit violence, stand up, and speak out against violence against women and girls. By attending the game and wearing the free shirts you are showing your support during our White Out campaign to end violence all together. We want all to be the change that society needs to end violence.

We will have informational booths and stands to visit with people and get more information. We are also always in search of volunteers that would like to help. Stop at the Diane Peppler Resource Center table and take a short survey to enter our drawing to receive the prize which will be announced during half time. I hope all can make it to show your support to end violence.

Seasons Greetings

Letter from the Director
Betsy Huggett

Season’s Greetings to All! I can’t believe the holidays are already upon us. We are 2 months into the new fiscal year and time seems to be flying by. We are busy with preparations for our upcoming Children’s Christmas Party, Board of Director’s December meeting, and our staff celebration. In doing all of these things, we keep in the forefront of our minds that there are families who are not together at the holidays and that things are sad at home. We do our best to make sure the holidays here for our in-house clients are safe, happy, and full of hope for the future. We couldn’t do any of these things without your help.

I would like to take a moment to ponder on some thoughts that always get to me this time of year. I miss home. I have lived in the same house for 12 years. It is my home with my husband and our animals. But what I miss is the nostalgia of my childhood home. I miss not falling asleep on Christmas Eve because Santa was coming. I miss my grandma sleeping on the sofa in our living room, facing the Christmas tree, and telling us kids to “get back in bed” when we would try to sneak a peek at 4:00am. I miss all of my brothers and me being under the same roof. I miss my mom and dad saying we can open presents after they have their coffee and then learning to make their coffee to hurry the process. I miss my cousins coming over to play games. I miss my dad playing his guitar and singing for us. That is Christmas and home for me. Whenever I hear, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” I always get tears in my eyes.

The families who stay with us over the holidays do not have home for Christmas. Our families will forever have Diane Peppler Resource Center as part of their future Christmas stories. “Do you remember that time we stayed at the shelter for Christmas?” That is going to be part of someone’s forever Christmas memory. We have the opportunity to show these families the kindness that everyone deserves. These families are seeking a new normal for themselves. As they traverse through the difficult days ahead, hopefully they can put the painful days behind them and move forward into a brighter outlook.

We believe in the magic of Christmas. We believe if you have been good all year, Santa will bring you something special. We believe that Santa knows where you are, even if you are not at your home. We need some special people to be Santas for our clients. If you would like to help be part of someone’s Christmas story of their time at the shelter, please give me a call at (906) 635-0566. All Santas can apply.

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