Simple Lenten Meals

Fri., February 19, 2016 6:30pm ·

We serve Simple Lenten Meals (en español) in the North Conference Room on the Friday evenings of Lent following the 6pm Stations of the Cross.

Each Friday we collect donations to benefit a different community-based organization in Washington, DC.  On Friday, February 19, the beneficiary will be Courtney’s House

Consider spending your early Friday evening with St. Matthew’s family and friends - come for the 5:30pm Mass, 6pm Stations of the Cross, and end with a shared meal organized by the Cathedral Young Adults, for this great opportunity of almsgiving.

Please visit the Courtney’s House website at www.courtneyshouse.org/ from which the following is excerpted and summarized:

Courtney’s House

Tina Frundt, herself a survivor of domestic sex trafficking, founded Courtney’s House in 2008.  She and her organization relentlessly fight to protect children from sexual exploitation and the personal devastation it produces by searching for and supporting child victims of sex trafficking. 

Focus is on reaching out to suspected or potential victims to help them and provide information, assessing and fulfilling each victim’s needs through holistic healing that includes counseling and care, and raising awareness of the widespread sex trafficking industry.

In their own words, Courtney’s House:

Fearlessly searches for children who are forced into prostitution on the streets, in brothels, escort services, strip clubs, private homes, and hotels.

Embraces the rescued children and brings them to a safe environment where they and their families can heal, recover, and develop hopeful, dignified, and influential lives.

Trains community officials and creates awareness of the reality of sex trafficking in neighborhoods across America to help stop the crimes from happening.

Courtney’s House uses An All-Encompassing Approach to diminish sex trafficking.

This involves not only relentless pursuit of each victim, but public awareness of the issue.  Recovery is an all-encompassing journey where each survivor of sex trafficking can receive survivor-focused, trauma-informed, holistic services.

It Starts With Awareness

A great misconception is that domestic sex trafficking does not exist or that the victims are not really victims but willing prostitutes.  The public is now starting to recognize sex trafficking as pandemic.  One hears about young girls and boys who have been tricked, forced, threatened, or worse, into a life of prostitution by seemingly trustworthy people.

Courtney’s House specializes in helping police, FBI, local communities, schools and corporations create awareness of sex trafficking issues while developing local programs for victims and their families.  Law enforcement and other non-profit groups are trained to rescue and provide victims resources.  Tina Frundt has testified to Congress about the need for increased awareness, greater protection and services, and stronger laws and enforcement.

Finding America’s Children

Every Friday and Saturday night staff are on the streets reaching out to suspected victims, targeting areas where girls, boys, and women are trafficked or at high risk of being trafficked.  They hand out unassuming items inconspicuously displaying the Survivor Hotline phone number (1-888-261-3665) to enable victims to contact them (24 hours/ 7 days a week).

Assessing the Needs of Each Child

Each rescued child and teen is embraced with open and understanding arms by those who have walked in their shoes.  Following a preliminary sex trafficking screening, a specialized intake process and needs assessment helps to comprehend the extent of the victim’s trauma.

Intensive Support

Healing is approached holistically, working individually with each child through counseling, individual and group therapy, and survivor support groups.  Groups are open to boys, girls, and transgender survivors and focus on trauma recovery, education and life skills, and fun, therapeutic activities like dance, art, and yoga.  Additionally, each survivor has access to mentors and academic tutoring to fully embrace their potential.  Parents also play a key role in the recovery process and receive support.