Nonprofit organizations

Post image for Survivor Carissa Phelps is one of the featured speakers at Trinity Church program on human trafficking

When she was 12 years old, Carissa Phelps was trafficked. She tells that story in her book Runaway Girl. Today, armed with a PhD and MBA from UCLA, she works to provide career development and employment opportunities for runaways and former runaways through the organization of the same name.

On November 1st,  she will bring her story to raise awareness — and, she hopes, prompt action — to a morning conference at Trinity Church entitled Hearts For Justice: Coming Together to Confront Violence Against Womenwhich is free and open to the public.

“It is much easier to criminalize the behavior than to deal with the more difficult issue — that we’ve made it okay to purchase sex with children,” she said in a telephone interview. “If we do nothing, it’s accepting the status quo. Once we realize there is an actual impact in our community, we can start down the path. It’s a difficult road, but it’s very inspiring when you realize there are solutions.”

The California Legislature defined human trafficking as “all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage.”

“I think people know it’s happening in communities like Menlo Park,” said Carissa. “Wherever there is money, there is demand.

“But it’s not just the money, it’s the fact that there is an international workforce [in the Bay Area] that may not understand that it’s not okay to purchase sex with a child.”

In the years since she formed Runaway Girl, Carissa has seen progress. “Awareness has increased. When a runaway is picked up in the middle of the night or on the weekend, we need to respond as professionals. We need to work to get people where they are needed to be with the victims as soon as possible.

“We’re working to train people to be more skilled in how they respond to survivors of both sex and labor trafficking.

“Each one of us can make an impact, no matter what skill set a person brings. If a person has a heart for this issue, they can make a difference. That’s the message we want to underscore at the Trinity event.”

Hearts for Justice will take place from 10:00 am to noon on the Trinity campus at 330 Ravenswood in Menlo Park. Also speaking will be David Batstone, co-founder and president of the global abolitionist organization, Not for Sale, and The Rev. Becca Stevens, the founder of Magdalene, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction and also Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that is run by the women of Magdalene.

The morning will also feature a Shared Trade Marketplace of global handmade and quality home and body products from Shared Trade: A Fair Share for Women. Local Bay Area organizations that work in prevention and with survivors will  be on site so that attendees can all learn more about local efforts to fight trafficking.

The program is in partnership with Kepler’s which will have representatives on hand with the presenters’ books. Space is limited, registration is available online.

Photo courtesy of Carissa Phelps

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Peninsula Volunteers presents sixth annual Baubles Bangles and Bags on Nov. 3

Thumbnail image for Peninsula Volunteers presents sixth annual Baubles Bangles and Bags on Nov. 3

Over 150 beautiful new, gently used, and premier designer handbags will be available at Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.’s sixth annual Baubles Bangles and Bags luncheon to be held on November 3, 2014 at the Menlo Circus Club. An entertaining presentation on fashion by Babette Pinsky of Oakland (pictured) with boutiques across the country including, San Francisco, […]

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Peter Draeger talks about the family grocery business – and his participation in Walk to Cure Diabetes

Thumbnail image for Peter Draeger talks about the family grocery business – and his participation in Walk to Cure Diabetes

Ask Peter Draeger about his involvement in the three-generation family business, Draeger’s Market, and he’ll admit to surprise at his current role. “I always figured my older brothers would go into the business, that there wouldn’t be a place for me,” he said. “I majored in finance at Santa Clara and went into banking after […]

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Dine Out for Meals on Wheels at local restaurants on Oct. 14

What could be easier than feeding hungry seniors by going to eat? Visit a participating restaurant on Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and they will donate a percentage of the day’s sales to support Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.’s Meals on Wheels program and feed local […]

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Naomi Zamir displays quilts at Café Zoë to raise awareness about the Day Worker Center of Mountain View

Thumbnail image for Naomi Zamir displays quilts at Café Zoë to raise awareness about the Day Worker Center of Mountain View

One thing Willows neighborhood resident Naomi Zamir wants to make very clear to her interviewer: “The story is not about me.” We were visiting with Naomi at Café Zoë, where quilts she created in partnership with people who had come seeking jobs at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View are on display. “The most important thing about […]

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Pancake Breakfast at Menlo Park fire station raises $9,000 for Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation

Thumbnail image for Pancake Breakfast at Menlo Park fire station raises $9,000 for Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation

Over 800 people attended the perennially popular Pancake Breakfast at the Menlo Park Fire District Headquarters last Saturday (Oct. 4). The event, co-sponsored by the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula (JLPA•MP), the Menlo Park Fire District, the Stanford Park Hotel, and the Menlo Grill Bistro & Bar, raised $9,000 for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. […]

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Julie Brody practices yoga at the 6th annual Ride and Yoga for Ravenswood

Thumbnail image for Julie Brody practices yoga at the 6th annual Ride and Yoga for Ravenswood

The 6th annual Ravenswood Ride benefiting the Ravenswood Family Health Center was held today, giving cyclists a choice of a 50- or 30-mile route, starting from the Brody family home in Atherton. New this year was two 90-minute yoga sessions taught by Brian Aganad, co-director of Avalon Yoga Center in Palo Alto. Both Julie and Jeff […]

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Shop.MPAEF.org launches: An easy way to shop and earn money for the Menlo Park City School District

Thumbnail image for Shop.MPAEF.org launches: An easy way to shop and earn money for the Menlo Park City School District

Shop.MPAEF.org is a free online shopping portal that allows shoppers to earn up to 10% of the purchase total for the Menlo Park City School District. From Amazon to Nordstrom, from Sports Authority to Diapers.com, the current list of more than 80 participating merchants will also include local Menlo Park businesses. “The site is super […]

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Spotted: Canaries on bicycles pedaling through Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Canaries on bicycles pedaling through Menlo Park

If you thought you spied winged beings riding bikes along the Alameda through Menlo Park this morning, you weren’t mistaken. Some of the cyclists who participated The Canary Challenge, which raised money for the Canary Foundation, did add wings to their backs. In the case of the man pictured above, those wings helped pull his  daughter […]

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Café Zoë opens second location with fundraiser for local mental health nonprofit

Thumbnail image for Café Zoë opens second location with fundraiser for local mental health nonprofit

“A place for peace, hope & community.” Not the motto you’d expect from your average Silicon Valley coffee shop, but Café Zoë and its owner Kathleen Daly are anything but average. Opened in 2008 in the Willows neighborhood of Menlo Park, Café Zoë offers all the perks of your favorite coffee shop —locally roasted coffee […]

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6th annual Ride & Yoga for Ravenswood scheduled for Oct. 5

Thumbnail image for 6th annual Ride & Yoga for Ravenswood scheduled for Oct. 5

The 6th annual Ride & Yoga for Ravenswood will be held Sunday, October 5th. Proceeds support Ravenswood Family Health Center services such as prenatal and postpartum mental health care for low-income moms as well as baby essentials such as car seats. Atherton resident Julie Brody (pictured left), founder of the event has been involved with Ravenswood for the past […]

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