News - Alumni and Students Help Restore Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking

Alumni and Students Help Restore Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking

by Rachel Heston-Davis Alumni and Students Help Restore Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking

Greenville University students and alumni have found that planting the seeds of Godly work can reap unforeseen benefits.

Back in 2012, when a few University alumni and Greenville residents formed a monthly “task force” to raise awareness in Bond County about human trafficking, they never imagined their efforts would grow into a ministry for survivors of trafficking and an opportunity for university students to serve and learn.

That ministry, the Eden’s Glory home, now offers survivors of human trafficking a two-year residential treatment program to heal from their experiences, anchor themselves in Christ’s love and start an independent life. Partnerships between Eden’s Glory and members of the University continue to bear good fruit for both parties.

A Growing Vision

In 2012, Bond County resident and pastor Ginger (Jordan ’03) Coakley began a task force to raise awareness and provide education about human trafficking. She gathered a small team of concerned residents, some of them Greenville University alumni. Soon, the task force felt called to create a residential treatment program for survivors.

Greenville University alumni held seats on the advisory board and board of directors as plans for Eden’s Glory solidified. It took nearly two years to develop the program and secure donations, but the Eden’s Glory team found a house to host the program and hired a small staff of trained workers. 

From House to Home

The building needed paint, yardwork and other maintenance.

“Our vision was that we wanted a place where you walked in, and it was home. It wasn’t a shelter; it wasn’t a clinic. It was beautiful. It was welcoming. It was inviting,” says Annie Schomaker, co-founder and now director of development for the ministry.

In time, the partnership with Greenville University expanded beyond alumni to include student volunteers. Annie remembers a buzz of activity, with volunteers “sewing curtains, planting a garden, planting trees . . . just kind of giving the place a facelift.”

Transformed from a house to a home, Eden’s Glory has served 11 different women since its launch and has the capacity to host up to four women at a time. The women receive trauma therapy, off-site health care, spiritual guidance, education and job training, opportunities for exercise, nutritious meals, exposure to mentors and access to creative activities.

A Continuing Partnership

Alumni and other community members continue to serve on the board, and student interns routinely roll up their sleeves to assist the ministry. Eight Greenville University interns have served Eden’s Glory so far. Most are recommended through the University’s social work program. As a licensed clinical social worker, Annie oversees their experience and provides the evaluation needed for internship credit.

“[The students gain] a good understanding of trauma and the effects that has on the brain and the body,” Annie says, “but then [they] also walk out with a sense of how to develop a program; what goes into running a nonprofit, how to supervise and coordinate volunteers and how to engage community.”

Students gain hands-on work experience, and Eden’s Glory gains valuable manpower. Most importantly, residents of the program gain connections to loving, Christ-centered individuals ready to serve them.

Not bad for a small seed planted years ago by a handful of alumni.

Get Involved

Annie urges anyone interested in the mission of Eden’s Glory to inquire about the many opportunities for involvement. Contact Annie at annie@edensglory.org, or Ginger at ginger@edensglory.org.

Staff are also available for speaking engagements or educational training in how to fight human trafficking.

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Major In Social Work at Greenville University 

Many G.U. interns are the grateful recipients of donor-funded scholarships. Support these servant leaders with a gift today. Thank you.

Eden's Glory Facts by rach.h.davis

This story was published on June 21, 2018




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