We have been so delighted to work with Raquel Medrano over the past year. She has poured into Street’s Hope in so many ways, including hosting a fundraiser, volunteering, and raising awareness about sex trafficking in Denver. We are so impressed at all she has accomplished at a young age, but we are even more impressed with the incredible amount of heart she puts into everything she does. We are excited that she wanted to share her experience in her own words in this post. Thank you, Raquel!

I remember the day that my idea of a perfect world was shattered by the reality of a broken world filled with hurt and slavery. I was only ten when lyrics to a song led me to a website where I learned the horrors of sex-trafficking and exploitation. I still remember the story of a girl who was only a year older than me and was being sold for sex. I was too young to understand what that meant or why it was so terrible, but I was not too young to understand the weight and injustice of this issue. Confused and angry I continued to learn about the sex-industry and the hidden society of slavery that was in my own backyard.

During my senior year of High School, I was provided a unique opportunity to spend a year learning about a topic of my personal interest. The requirements of this project were to: write a 10 page research paper, find a mentor in the chosen field of study, work inside of the field, and be able to present my learning and success at the end of the year. Within those guidelines I was able to do whatever I wanted. While trying to decide what I wanted my project to be, I felt an overwhelming conviction to use this time to focus on the local sex industry.

As I started to write my paper, I typed “Safe House in Colorado” into Google. It was there that I first discovered Street’s Hope. Suddenly something sparked inside of my heart and I saw a bright light in the midst of this dark industry. I reached out to Nina, the Executive Director, and asked what I could do to support the amazing works of Street’s Hope. With her help and humbling support I began a fundraiser that would raise monetary donations for the organization. I was honored to host a “Lunch and Learn” at SYKES Enterprise that allowed me to teach others about local sex-trafficking and what Street’s Hope is doing to help women escaping it. Nina and a program graduate also spoke at this event, which was amazing to watch and so beneficial.

I was able to present my learning and success to a board of educators and have now graduated. Although this fundraiser is what initially connected me to Street’s Hope, I can only foresee my relationship with this organization growing closer and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Since this project I have had the privilege of meeting the women who currently live in the home. The impact they have already had on me is unexplainable and I feel blessed to know them. I look forward to pursuing relationships with them as I continue to volunteer and become more involved.