Treasures Ministries, one of our Rest Cottage Association grantees, was founded in 2003 by Harmony Grillo, a survivor of exploitation turned UCLA honor student. The goal of Treasures is to help women and girls entrenched in sexual exploitation find freedom. Treasures helps women heal through outreach, care and training. They reach 5,000 women annually and provide care for over 2,000 women. Women are hesitant to reach out due to fear of being judged. That is why Treasures is a survivor-led, trauma informed and supportive organization. Their goal isn’t to judge, fix or change anyone.
Three years after initially being trafficked, Michelle saw an outreach post from Treasures on a website where she was being sold. It was the first time she felt that someone cared about her and immediately called the Treasures Ministries office to learn how they could help her and gain information about available resources (a hotline partially funded by the RCA grant). “Since my time at Treasures, I found freedom and hope. I found a life outside my walls of shame and abuse. I found myself. And for the first time ever, I’m living my dreams.” Michelle is currently furthering her education to be a teacher.
During the past year, due to the Pandemic, Treasures’ support groups have moved to an online platform. Treasures has provided grocery gift cards and food deliveries for the women and continues to provide one-on-one mentoring services.
Treasures’ lease, for their current location, is up in May. The landlord is doubling the rent, and as a result, they are fundraising to purchase a residential home in the San Fernando Valley which would have a more reasonable monthly payment. The home would provide a stable space to host support groups, individualized services and special events. The kitchen will enable them to provide family dinners for the women they service. To find out more, go to email@example.com or their website: https://www.iamatreasure.com.
Betty Petitt, Ambassador