Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) Event on June 28

Screen shot 2013-06-17 at 1.05.46 PMThroughout my tenure here at Fordham University, I’ve learned about many great non profit and advocacy organizations in New York City. One such organization is the Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), which serves girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.

GEMS, which has a relationship with Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service’s Institute of Women and Girls, was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, who had been sexually exploited as a teenager. GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and to develop to their full potential.

Any notion I ever had about prostitution was completely changed one day when I covered a Fordham / GEMS event where a young girl talked about how an ex-boyfriend forced her into the lifestyle and GEMS helped her get out. It’s a form of human trafficking, though not in the traditional way people tend to think of trafficking in developing nations.

GEMS and Fordham’s Institute of Women and Girls are co-hosting an event called, “Before,” on June 28, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. You can RSVP here.

“Before” is an evening of original monologues written by GEMS staff and fellows preformed at Fordham University’s Pope Auditorium. There will also be a survivor created art show and light refreshments.

For more information, visit GEMS website here.


Reuters: Red Cross response to Sandy fails to meet expectations

This excellent article by Reuters reveals “a gulf between what many people expected the [American Red Cross] to do in times of crisis and what it actually delivers.”

Key points:

Like Hurricane Katrina victims, Hurricane Sandy victims feel let down by the charity.

From the article:

— The sense of letdown is all the more stark because the Red Cross, the fifth-largest charity in the United States by private donations, is viewed by many as the place to donate money when there is a major disaster at home or abroad. 

— Part of the perception problem may be the massive media and advertising campaigns that the Red Cross runs when there is a disaster.

— These campaigns appear to give the impression that the charity can be all things to all victims. Many of Sandy’s victims said in interviews that this was their view before disappointment set in.

— Frustration with the Red Cross is palpable throughout the Occupy movement.
“The Red Cross is useless,” said Nastaran Mohit, who runs the Occupy medical clinic in the Rockaways with volunteer doctors. “They come to me every day asking, ‘How can we help?’
“I say, ‘Send me people.’ And they tell me they’ll get back to me.”

Read the entire article here.