This story originally appeared in the July issue of Park Ridge Living, a neighborhood magazine published by the company behind N2GIVES. To learn more, visit N2 Publishing.
Selah Freedom and the annual Park Ridge Trot Against Trafficking 5K
Heather Martin is the founder and race director for the Trot Against Trafficking 5K held annually here in Park Ridge. The Trot Against Trafficking benefits Selah Freedom. Every year, N2 Publishing's N2GIVES donates and raises awareness to fight human trafficking. Last year, N2 Publishing donated $3 million dollars to organizations like Selah Freedom. Park Ridge Living is an N2 publication.
How long have you been with this organization?
I’ve been with the Trot Against Trafficking since its inception six years ago. We have been supporting Selah Freedom for the last four years which was founded in 2010 and opened their Chicago chapter in 2016.
Tell us about this organization. Why is it so important in this community?
Trot Against Trafficking benefits the non-profit Selah Freedom, which is a national organization with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through advocacy and awareness, prevention, outreach and residential. Currently, there are over 3 million children being sold into the sex trade each year. Selah confronts the issue of sex trafficking and focuses on bringing solutions to survivors of trafficking and exploitation. The issue is close to home. Sadly, Chicago is one of the top five cities in America for sex trafficking and before Selah arrived, there was only one small home for minors and zero beds for sex trafficking survivors over the age of 18. Selah has confronted this issue head-on and opened the first midwest safe house in Chicago, offering a safe place for victims to stay and recover, receive education, job placement, trauma therapy, life skills, medical and legal assistance as well as holistic restorative care. Women in their programs have an opportunity to dream again; to discover who it is they were created to be.
How can others get involved or support this organization?
There are so many ways to get involved in this cause from hosting a party with a purpose, volunteering or donating directly to Selah. On June 8, 2019, we hosted our 7th annual Trot Against Trafficking 5K, one-mile walk and kids dash right here in Park Ridge. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Selah. You can also sign up to fundraise or donate directly to Selah.
What benefits do you get from volunteering with this organization?
The way to end the horrific injustice of sex trafficking is through advocacy, awareness and education. We have the means to end this and for me, this race is about bringing that education into our community. It’s about dispelling the myth that this type of thing doesn’t happen here. It’s about getting those that are broken, lost and victims new hope and a safe place to recover and be restored through the amazing programs and outreach of Selah.