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17935 Sky Park Cir
Irvine, CA, 92614
United States

(949) 752-7788

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Blog

Sanctuary #5 is Launching in OC

Lindsey Malcolm

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Work Space:

We are putting the last touches on our new space and there are several important items that we are still in need of. You can find a list of those on our Target registry. (We would gladly take similar items that are gently used as well).


Tutoring:

If you have skills in tech or are able to teach computer literacy, we are still looking for a volunteer who can teach computer skills 2-4 hours per month during work hours.
If you have questions about the program or about volunteering, contact ocsanctuary@isanctuary.org 

Attend International Women’s Day Event:

Join us on March 7 in Irvine to hear more about our program, impact, and volunteer opportunities.

Event details:
6:00  -  8:00 pm
2850 Kelvin Ave. 
Irvine, CA 92614

Participate in the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting:

On February 27, International Sanctuary’s Board Chair, Susan Cramm, and US Program Director, Dalaina May, will be presenting the the program to the Task Force and interested community members. Meetings are open to the public.

Meeting details:
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Waymakers
1221 E. Dyer Rd. Suite 120
Santa Ana, CA 927052

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Lindsey Malcolm

Recently, a young woman entered our doors in Orange County seeking help after escaping from her captors. Years of trauma were evident in her eyes and spirit. However, while she was physically free, her mind was still caged. In our eleven years fighting human trafficking, we have found that escaping is just the beginning of freedom.

Healing from trauma is a multi-year process with two steps forward and one step back. Frustrating, painful, difficult, hopeful, and joyful, the journey is long but worth every moment. That’s why we at International Sanctuary and PURPOSE Jewelry focus on holistic care, providing community, education, job training and a path forward to our participants who all have their own stories. Financial independence, hope, dignity and freedom give these women and girls a future and the knowledge that they can take care of themselves and and strive for independence.

Millions of women around the world do not know that the doors to their future are just waiting to be opened. Facing the difficulties of severe poverty, illiteracy and cultural devaluation, leaves them more susceptible to being exploited and re-exploited by traffickers. When International Sanctuary entered the fight, we found a gap between the assistance given to women in aftercare homes and reintegration into the workplace. We work to fill that gap by providing a loving workplace where women enter a community of trust, encouragement and empowerment.

At a first glance, our program provides steady income for women to support themselves and their families. However, it’s the incorporation of education, health and community that sustains our mission to empower girls and women escaping human trafficking to embrace their true identity and worth.

We walk along these individuals on their journey offering help, not handouts, because empowerment is about knowing that you have the efficacy to care for take care of yourself.

When you support International Sanctuary, you help open the doors for women and girls around the world.





This Giving Tuesday: Give the Gift of Empowerment

Lindsey Malcolm

I remember the Christmas when my sons were 5 and 6 years old. As usual, there was a big build up to Christmas. We participated in all the things that makes Christmas - especially a Christmas with children, magical. We had the elf doll that showed up in a new place every morning and the holiday cooking baking parties and the nighttime Christmas light drives through town complete with cocoa and blankets. We searched for the perfect gifts for our friends and family and were especially excited to see our kids’ faces when they opened their presents.

To be honest, when all the wrapping paper was strewn around the room and the boys were already squabbling over their new toys, I felt a little hollow. It seemed like somehow in our efforts to make their Christmas magical, we forgot to teach them what the real Christmas magic comes from. Rather than imparting the joy of giving and the importance of community, we inadvertently taught them that the holiday was all about them.

That Christmas, I promised myself that the next year would be different. And it was. When the next Christmas season rolled around, my husband and I spent time thinking through how we could teach our kids about the true meaning of Christmas, about community and service, about social responsibility and compassion. As Black Friday came and went and Giving Tuesday came around, the solution waved its hand at us. We decided to donate to an organization that we loved with a mission that we respected and values we shared. I wrote a thank you letter with a brochure from that organization to my sons and wrapped it in a box and set it under the tree. It was a gamble. Would they appreciate the idea? Would they even understand the significance?

On Christmas morning, one of my sons picked up the box labeled with their names and unwrapped the letter:

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Dear Boys,

Thank you for sharing your Christmas with others this year. Instead of another gift for you, the money for that gift was donated to an organization that helps girls around the world who are slaves. It helps these girls be free and stay free so that they can live happy and safe lives like yours. For this gift this year, you aren’t receiving something for yourselves, but rather passing it on to someone in need.

It was simple and… they loved it! One of the boys said it was his favorite gift because it made him feel “good inside” that he got a little less so that someone else could have something much more important than a toy. They understood, and I have to say that it was an incredibly satisfying Christmas knowing that the meaning of the holiday had not been lost in all the lights and traditions and presents under the tree.

It’s been 5 years since that Christmas, and that idea has become one of our most beloved family Christmas traditions. Every year, my husband and I thoughtfully consider where we want our family donation to go, and we keep it a secret until the boys find out on Christmas morning who it is that our family has cared for this year. It’s been an incredible teaching tool because as we’ve given to things like disaster relief efforts or significant social problems like human trafficking, homelessness, and war refugees, we’ve also been able to educate our kids about these things in a gentle and hope-filled way.

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Give to girls and women escaping human trafficking

New Video: Through Her Eyes

Lindsey Malcolm

Please view, Through Her Eyes, a poignant video that highlights the stories of three women from our Sanctuaries and their paths from trafficking to transformation.

Shot from their perspectives, this short film offers a first-hand account of the trauma and abuse experienced by millions on a daily basis. Though just a small glimpse, this insight into trafficking further highlights the tremendous courage and strength these women must possess as they make their journeys to freedom.

International Sanctuary’s core components of community and employment are emphasized as a firm foundation in which survivors are able to rebuild their lives. An accepting and loving workplace community is vital for these women to not only gain practical life skills, but also to build a sense of safety and self-worth.

It is our sincere hope that this video will help you see the incredible impact you can have on the lives of women escaping human trafficking. Each time you give to International Sanctuary, you are allowing women around the world to step into new lives of hope, dignity and freedom.

Jon Nyquist, the videographer for Through Her Eyes, has been a long time supporter of International Sanctuary. Over the years, he has worked on several projects featuring all four Sanctuaries, and has a passion to help fight human trafficking using his unique talents. Having visited each location, he has a deep insight and understanding into how each Sanctuary operates and has created a trusted connection with the participants. To view more of Jon’s work please visit http://nyquistcreative.com/



UGANDA UPDATE

Lindsey Malcolm

Great progress has been made in the Uganda Sanctuary over the past quarter! 20 women escaping human trafficking are employed full-time in a safe, loving environment. They continue to enhance their skills. All women are eligible for promotion in July! 

 

FOCUS ON COMMUNITY

Mary was honored for her Heart to Serve by International Sanctuary this month. One day, the ladies were sitting around the table working on beading and chatting about life. One of the original women started to poke fun at one of the newer women at the table who was struggling with the task. Mary immediately jumped in and defended her, "I remember when we all started. We were so bad. These new ones are faster learners than us, and they are doing so well!" Her ability to see how far each and every woman (including herself) has grown in the program, as well as step in to ensure unity remained within the group warmed all of our hearts.

Mother's Day

Lindsey Malcolm

At 9am, the doors of the Sanctuary in Kampala, Uganda open and Charlotte* is one of the first women to enter. Work does not begin until 10am, but Charlotte arrives early every morning to sweep, gather materials, and complete small jobs that ensure everyone begins work on time. No one has ever asked Charlotte to do this.

When we understood what it takes for Charlotte to get to the Sanctuary an hour early, her heart for service became clear. Living nearly an hour away from the Sanctuary, her morning begins early enough to get herself and her children out of bed, dressed, and fed in time to catch public transportation to her children’s school. Once her kids are settled, she takes another public transport to the Sanctuary. Charlotte gives her full attention to her work until 5pm, then she cleans her station and begins the long journey home, collecting her children on the way. At home, her work resumes; she helps her children with homework, provides financial support for her parents, and helps her siblings follow their own dreams of education and opportunity.

There are so many wonderful outcomes from our long-term, holistic program, but the most important may be the multi-generational impact it offers. Because women have meaningful employment, stable income, and a safe community to heal, they are able to provide for their families in ways that were once out of reach.

International Sanctuary is honored to work alongside amazing women like Charlotte. Moms fill our organization, from top to bottom, as employees, artisans, and volunteers, and we are undeniably better for it.

If you’d like to honor a special Mom in your life, consider giving a donation in her name. Still looking for a perfect gift? PURPOSE Jewelry just released the ever-popular Jasmine Necklace in a brand new color - blush! - for Mother’s Day. When you partner with us, you’re supporting women escaping human trafficking around the world and providing them with meaningful change that can last generations. Mom would be proud.

*Name changed to protect identity

Tijuana Birthday

Lindsey Malcolm

She closed her eyes, made a wish, and blew out the candles on her very first birthday cake. Carmen* was now 22 and enjoying a birthday party for the very first time in her life.

International Sanctuary believes every life is precious, so birthdays present a great opportunity to celebrate a single individual for who they are. But imagine going your entire life without anyone to sing while you smiled and waited to blow out the candles.

One of the most powerful and healing tools we can offer in our Sanctuaries is a safe, loving community. For many of our participants, their sanctuary sisters are the first real sense of family and belonging they have. As they learn to trust and help each other, they begin to live life together: celebrating birthdays and promotions, encouraging each other in relationships and parenting, supporting one another on bad days.

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Whether you sign up to become a monthly sponsor $25 a month or purchase PURPOSE Jewelry, you are making life transformations possible.

Did you know the PURPOSE Jewelry Hope Line consists of introductory pieces made by new artisans? These bracelets, earrings, and necklaces are proof that new beginnings alive and well in the Sanctuaries. When you wear the Olivia Earrings, maybe you’ll think of the growth in our Uganda Sanctuary:

"When we first started making Olivia earrings, everyone was terrible at them and got really frustrated. I saved everyone's first attempt in a little bag with their names attached. After we'd been making them successfully for several days, I returned the first attempt bags and everyone had a good laugh at how bad the first ones were. We asked what they learned and a few drew lessons about how it's important to keep with something, even when it’s difficult."
-Emily, our Program Coordinator in Uganda

Will you be a part of bringing hope to girls escaping human trafficking by clicking a link below?

*Name changed to protect identity

Fashion Revolution Week: Know Who Made your Jewelry

Lindsey Malcolm

If you haven’t heard, Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. The UK-based organization wants “to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.”
 

We think this makes sense. That’s why we’re supporters of fairer, safer, and more cause-conscious accessories with PURPOSE Jewelry. Our unique designs are handcrafted by artisans in Uganda, India and Mexico. These beautiful pieces are  empowering women and girls and bringing hope, dignity and freedom.

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Our nonprofit, International Sanctuary, supports education, health care, and counseling for all of the women we work with and provides them with many opportunities to succeed.
 

It’s our way of using fashion to change lives for the better! Show your commitment to greater transparency in the fashion industry and enjoy free shipping from PURPOSE Jewelry from now until April 30th. Use code “FASHREV” at checkout.

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JOIN THE REVOLUTION.

Building a Community, One Volunteer at a Time

Lindsey Malcolm

When International Sanctuary was just getting started, volunteers worked out of our founder’s garage, sorting and packing jewelry, selling everything they could while talking to their friends and family about human trafficking. These volunteers, their voices and the time they put in, really have built our organization. I say this to our volunteers all the time, “Without concerned individuals like you, International Sanctuary would not exist!”

With a staff of fewer than 15 people in Irvine, our volunteers bridge many gaps. For example, participating in community events requires two people to set up the display table, interact with shoppers and event-goers, complete PURPOSE Jewelry transactions, and return the jewelry inventory. These events can take anywhere from 4-12 hours. This past holiday season alone, International Sanctuary participated in 47 events - that’s 280 hours! It wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers.  

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One of the things I notice across the board with our volunteers is how they connect with the women we empower. Helping with jewelry inventory is more than a counting task, it’s an opportunity to see first-hand the progress each Sanctuary is making in the fight against human trafficking. The time our volunteers spend with the handwritten tags forges a bond between them and the artisans. Seeing names who have been with us for years mixed with new names gives volunteers a big-picture perspective - they can see growth and hope in our girls and women around the world. I truly believe this is why individuals keep coming back to support International Sanctuary with their gift of time.

As the Volunteer Coordinator, it’s National Volunteer Week every week!  They never stop inspiring me with their consistent hard work, innovation, and care for the girls in our programs. This week we pause and publicly show appreciation to our volunteers.

Join Us.

Continue bridging the gap in our community and fighting against human trafficking. If you want to be transformed through the power of giving of your time to International Sanctuary, find out more at http://www.isanctuary.org/join-the-team-volunteer/ or contact getinvolved@isanctuary.org

-Chelsea Maietta, Community Engagement Coordinator

India's Proposed Anti-Trafficking Law

Lindsey Malcolm

Reuters published an article last week with the headline Female Slavery Survivors Unite to Back India Anti-Trafficking Law, and it proves how important our position within the anti-trafficking movement truly is.

The law would not only decriminalize the victims of trafficking by preventing imprisonment for those rescued from brothels or other forced labor situations, but it would also give survivors better access to the resources they need to rebuild their lives. Unfortunately, there are millions of trafficking survivors within India’s borders, too many for the government to handle on its own.

A survivor of slavery who wished to remain anonymous poses for a picture in New Delhi, India March 7, 2018. Picture taken March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

A survivor of slavery who wished to remain anonymous poses for a picture in New Delhi, India March 7, 2018. Picture taken March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

We need shelter, support, education for our children ... not just money,” and
“We are poor so access to justice and rehabilitation is hard.
— Meena, a mother of four and survivor of exploitation

For more than 10 years, International Sanctuary has understood the key to complete restoration is more than money - the whole person must be embraced and restored.

By combining meaningful employment and job training with opportunities for education, healthcare, and community, women and girls in our Sanctuaries have a safe, loving environment where they can rebuild their lives. Hundreds of lives and multiple generations have been transformed through our model, which is why we are reaching for an aggressive goal of 10 Sanctuaries operating around the world by 2020.

International Sanctuary is meeting the survivors of human trafficking where they are, between rescue and the threat of being re-trafficked because there are no other options.

We can present these women with a solution that protects them and their children against future exploitation - but we need you to make these opportunities possible.

International Sanctuary began in Mumbai, India and is now empowering women in Orange County, California; Tijuana, Mexico; and Kampala, Uganda. We know these things to be true:

  • Our model is sustainable, effective, and replicable;
  • Anti-trafficking partners regularly ask us to bring our model to their girls;
  • We cannot grow without financial partners like you.

When you invest in life transformation, you are helping bring an end to human trafficking once and for all.

A Day to Celebrate Women

Lindsey Malcolm

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March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments. These achievements range in scale from women leading revolutions to raising the next generation to influencing the nature of the workforce. In our Sanctuaries around the world, we witness and celebrate similar victories every day: women and girls, once exploited, taking charge of their lives and building better, brighter futures for themselves and their families.

The keys to our success are PURPOSE Jewelry, our social enterprise, and people just like you. Young women in our Mumbai, Kampala, and Tijuana Sanctuaries enroll in our program and begin training to become jewelry artisans. As they hone their craft in a safe and loving workplace, they also receive counseling, medical care, and access to educational and mentorship opportunities. In our southern California location, participants also engage in the holistic program, but rather than jewelry-making, they learn how to manage inventory, process orders, computer and financial literacy, and supply chain logistics.

When you purchase with PURPOSE, not only are you receiving a beautiful piece of handcrafted jewelry made by one of our artisans abroad, but you’re also providing opportunities for women in California. A necklace, a ring, a bracelet - each piece brings girls escaping human trafficking employment, empowerment, and one step closer to living in true freedom.

On this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to celebrate these life transformations with us and make more of them possible. Click here to find that perfect accessory and help hundreds of women and girls by ending the cycle of human trafficking around the world.

Wear freedom, wear PURPOSE.

5 Things You May Have Missed in 2017

Lindsey Malcolm

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As we settle into 2018, we wanted to look back over 2017 and embrace the progress that was made in the fight against human trafficking - progress that your support made possible! 

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{1} Bringing Freedom
    to Uganda

International Sanctuary welcomed its first cohort of girls in Africa last year. After just 3 months of dedication, learning, and hard work, girls in the Uganda Sanctuary were producing sellable jewelry and generating revenue.

{2} Hope is Alive in Mexico! Our Sanctuary in Tijuana, Mexico has grown through anti-trafficking partnerships and financial support, giving plenty of hope to women escaping exploitation and encouragement to the local community.

{3} From Victim to Lawyer! One of our courageous young women who rebuilt her life in the Mumbai Sanctuary completed her third year of law school and will soon be a legal advocate and representative for victims of human trafficking in India.

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{4} Caps & Gowns in California! Two young women graduated from our Professional Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking (POST) program which provides training and skills for future employment opportunities.

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 {1} A Decade of Achieving the Impossible

In September, International Sanctuary celebrated 10 years of working with young women and girls escaping human trafficking. Hundreds of lives have been transformed over the last decade and we look forward to another year of celebrating hope.

We are looking forward to many new accomplishments in 2018. Thank you for your support. Join us this year in reaching even more young women escaping human trafficking. Together we can bring hope, dignity and freedom. 

Surprised by Hope

Lindsey Malcolm

By Seema D.

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I have been supporting International Sanctuary since January 2009. International Sanctuary empowers survivors of human trafficking through a unique model integrated employment, education, healthcare, and community.

Growing up, my parents could never provide me with answers to my troubling observations as we visited India. Not until I was 18 did I realize the atrocity of human trafficking, that girls were being sold for sex. Since having my two daughters, I have become even more passionate about fighting for women’s rights.

For years, I have heard about the courageous young women escaping human trafficking and imagined a time when I would meet them. Finally, this past summer, I was able to meet them face to face in Mumbai, India.

The Sanctuary, however, was not at all what I expected. Walking in, I anticipated a heaviness which you would expect in an environment fostering healing from trauma. Instead, I experienced joy, hope, and a spirit of bold confidence.

I had the opportunity to teach a Life Skills & Professionalism session in The Academy, their 3-year educational program. The session included a Q&A on cultural barriers and how to overcome them. I was able to share with them a bit about my beliefs and perspectives, and encourage them in their growth and development. Many of the girls expressed challenges that they were currently experiencing and discussed ways to work through them.

I also had the opportunity to sit down in the workshop and have one of the young women teach me how to make a piece of jewelry. We bonded as she demonstrated the skills needed to handcraft such beautiful creations. I gained incredible respect for the determination required to hone her craft.

It was an honor to be able to meet 25 of my new sisters and become their Didi; I look forward to returning.

The Gratitude Series: Mexico

Lindsey Malcolm

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As the Gratitude Series continues, we turn our focus to Tijuana, Mexico. We are so thankful our work has taken us south of the border, just 100 miles from our headquarters in Irvine, California. Did you know the U.S.-Mexico San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana is the busiest border crossing in the world? Did you know it's also a gateway for human trafficking?

Tijuana is home to Zona Norte, the largest red light district in North America. Estimates of more than 500 girls are working in one of the city's largest brothels. These numbers are staggering, but emphasize why International Sanctuary must have a presence in Tijuana. The need is enormous and we are prepared to face the challenges, but we can't do it without your help! 

Our Tijuana Sanctuary will be the recipient of our Giving Tuesday campaign. Every donation given will go directly toward increasing our resources in this Sanctuary. When you give financial support, you'll help a girl escaping human trafficking discover a better, brighter future through healing, training, and love. We believe in these young women, and we know you do too. 

We give thanks for the tremendous work that has already been accomplished in Tijuana: the partnerships that have been formed, the beautiful space we can offer the young women, the welcoming of our first participants, the local community that has embraced our mission. And this time next year, we'll be grateful for the wonderful faces who fill the Sanctuary with love, laughter, and joy...all because you gave on Giving Tuesday 2017. 

GIVE NOW TO HELP INVITE MORE GIRLS INTO THE MEXICO SANCTUARY. 

Traditions

Lindsey Malcolm

For many families, Thanksgiving is a celebration built on traditions. Whether it’s Grandmother’s dressing, the family Turkey Trot, or all of the cousins packing up the leftovers and heading out for the Black Friday early bird specials, the anticipation and joy that comes with each ritual is a great way to kick off the Holiday Season.

Some of the International Sanctuary staff and volunteers shared their favorite Thanksgiving traditions:

“Our family goes around the table and we all say one thing that so are very thankful for in that year.”

“My mom and grandma always have a glass of sparkling wine with raspberries the night before while cooking!”

“My family immigrated from China to the U.S., so Thanksgiving for us means the whole family getting together to cook - everyone bringing their favorite recipes and we all create unique, Chinese dishes. Last year, I made the turkey and, instead of traditional stuffing, we filled it with rice and veggies. It was so good!”

“I grew up overseas, so we would always invite other military members over to our house for Thanksgiving, especially those who had just arrived and their families hadn’t come over yet.”

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Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but at the heart of it lies family, love, and peace, the very things our girls are discovering within the walls of our Sanctuaries around the world. It is not uncommon for these young women to share meals together and bond over the joys and struggles of everyday life. For some who did not have family or friends before International Sanctuary, they now have a safe, loving community where they belong.

What are your traditions? Head over to our Facebook page and share your favorite Thanksgiving activities!

The Gratitude Series: India

Lindsey Malcolm

It can be hard to be grateful for growth, especially when it’s filled with challenges, discomfort, and “try-agains”, but when it comes to the progress that’s coming out of the Mumbai, India Sanctuary, it’s almost impossible to be anything other than amazed.

We launched The Academy in the summer of 2016. By recognizing each woman’s potential alongside her current limitations, we provide academic instruction and learning support that not only prepares our girls to reach educational milestones, but also encourages them to think critically, problem solve, and cultivate proactive self- development practices. Half of their workday is spent developing their academic abilities, personal strengths, and professional skills in structured classes; the other half is dedicated to applying their learning in the workplace where they are employed making jewelry. Though we thought we’d see a decrease in production, with focused intention, one-on-one check-ins, and daily goals, here’s what happened:

  • Jewelry production actually doubled
  • 2,106 hours of educational instruction were provided
  • Students’ English reading rose by an average of 5.8 reading levels (U.S. Common Core)
  • Students mastered 71% of grade 4 Hindi (per India’s State Board (NCERT) Standards)
  • 100% in The Academy feel they have what they need in order to study

“I used to think I was very dumb, I didn’t even know simply math. And then I used to get frustrated. But our teacher in The Academy would encourage me and give this look like ‘You can do it!’ It built confidence in myself. And now, I can do multiplication, division, medians and mean. Those subjects were very difficult for me, very difficult, but now I can do those things.”
-a student in The Academy

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It’s hard for us to imagine life without the ability to read, write, or do basic math, but for so many that enter our Sanctuary, that’s reality. We knew we had to address this issue in order to give our girls their best chance at long-term success, so The Academy was born. We are enormously grateful for Pritish, our award-winning teacher with a heart for our mission, for the countless hours that went into the planning and execution to make this dream a reality, and for our volunteers who so joyfully give their time to students as they learn.

Did you know you can volunteer as an online tutor for students in The Academy? Once a week, you can give an hour of your time to help improve a student’s English speaking, reading, and comprehension. You don’t need any teaching experience, so if you’re willing to help, able to commit for 8 weeks, and ready to go through the orientation, email jackie@isanctuary.org.