Sparrow Place will be a faith-based voluntary stay residential program for women between the ages of 18-40 who are survivors of domestic sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation. When a woman leaves our care, our goal is not that she simply survive, walking wounded, but that she is equipped with the education, skills, awareness, and self-worth to succeed - whatever that looks and feels like to her. Our focus will be to meet the physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational needs of each resident. These needs will be identified through an initial admission assessment and an Individual Support Plan (ISP) will be created, expanded, and modified as necessary.
We can provide the basic necessities of survival – safe housing, food, clothing…we can even go further and provide education, vocational training, programming (ask us about why movie nights are a good idea!)…but we can’t provide the hope of recovery if we don’t recognize and attack the lack of self-worth and fear that steer the decisions of this population. There is no recovery unless there is a conscious choice to recover and the fact is, many survivors make the choice to return to The Life.
Why? It’s due to a number of factors - shame, hopelessness, fear for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones, traumatic bonding and deep loyalties for their abuser, the normalization of exploitation, and the truth that many survivors of human trafficking don’t view themselves as persons of value unless they are being sold for profit.
At Sparrow Place, we want them to know, through us, that God will not only provide for them, he knows and loves them. Matthew 6:26 reminds us that worry is the absence of faith. Imagine digging a hole in the sand – if you don’t fill the void with a replacement, it’s going to refill with sand. To replace fear, we’ll offer the knowledge of faith. To replace emptiness, we’ll make it known that as God values the sparrows, so he values us – ALL of us. We'll be here to fill the voids and give our girls reasons to stop running.
Sparrow Place Board of Directors
We are excited to announce the SP Board of Directors! We are very grateful for their time, resources, and help building our strong foundation. Please warmly welcome them and continue to keep them in your prayers as they guide leadership and hold us accountable to our mission.
Kristen is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Accounting and a minor in Psychology. Currently she is employed as a Senior Internal Auditor at Armstrong Flooring. Her experience includes providing audit services to various types of entities, including non-profit organizations.
Kristen brings not only accounting knowledge to the team as our Treasurer, she has the added empathy and insight valuable to making decisions for the care of our future survivor population.
Prior to becoming an accountant, she earned her Master of Science in Clinical and Counseling Health Psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to work in the mental health field for approximately eight years, earning her license in Professional Counseling in Pennsylvania. She specialized in the treatment of trauma and worked extensively with survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence. When Kristen opened her own practice, she included the addition of animal-assisted therapy along with more traditional therapies. We definitely plan on putting her experience with Therapy Dogs International to use!
As the Co-owner and business manager of two True-Value Plus stores, Brad brings valuable professional resources and personal home repair and business management talents to the team. He is a lifelong SYC resident, graduate of Susquehannock HS, and holds an Associate’s Degree in management from Central Penn College. He was an active participant in scouting and currently volunteers his skill of building maintenance to his church, GFC.
Brad offers leadership and is the necessary and trusted advisor we need to pursue our vision of opening a safe residential program. We look forward to the practical balance he will bring to the Board with his most important experience – as a father and grandfather.
Jennifer is a familiar partner as she comes to us with the experience of being both volunteer and Board member at the LifePath Women and Children’s Homeless Shelter in York. There she was deeply involved in high level decision making and active in the practicalities of running a shelter. She has a calming, spiritual presence but is definitely a woman to get the job done.
She is also a mom of 5 and has a special interest in event planning. It is with a sigh of relief, we welcome Jen to the Board!
Neil has been following and supporting North Star Initiative in Lancaster, learned more about sex trafficking, and decided he had to do something. He works at Harley-Davidson Motor Company and he brings with him experience from being on the Shrewsbury Township Planning Commission and the New Freedom Borough Zoning Commission. His other volunteer experience includes the Rotary Club of SYC, St. John Lutheran community breakfasts, County Parks tree planting, First Fruits, and Grace Fellowship Run for God.
As if that’s not enough, Neil’s worked as a real estate settlement officer, and among skills we plan on taking full advantage of, he’s worked on various Habitat for Humanity build projects. Neil’s a force to be reckoned with and we’re grateful he’s on our side!
Tina is the current Branch Manager of BB&T and Sparrow Place leadership initially met her professionally, but something just clicked personally as well. While we look forward to calling upon her past experience as fundraising coordinator and president of the St. Joseph School PTO - it’s her empathy and heart we are going to rely on.
Tina’s passion for helping the vulnerable is obvious when you consider her other volunteer experiences; St. John’s Clothing Bank, Otterbein UMC’s Helping Hand, New Hope Ministries, and Children’s Aid Society thru lighthouse projects sponsored by BB&T. She exemplifies what it means to show love through deeds, not just words, and we gladly welcome her!
Stephanie Oelrich (Check out her video! HERE)
Stephanie was introduced to us early on through the local group, Communities Against Trafficking. She holds a Masters in Theological and Cultural Anthropology and has experience as an Ethnographic Researcher studying human trafficking in Nepal. She currently works at Leg Up Farm as she seeks employment with an anti-trafficking group where she can, “…give a voice to the oppressed and silenced by tapping into what they know, teaching them what they do not, and helping them to help themselves.”
While in Nepal, Stephanie was able to research the impacts of trafficking on individuals and the best practices for the recovery of survivors. Her work analyzing Asha Nepal's environment and rehabilitative practices is a huge educational blessing for us and our efforts to fulfill our purpose.
Frankly, Stephanie has been such an integral part of our foundation from the beginning, it never occurred to us that we had to make it official. For the record, we welcome Stephanie as we always have – with arms wide open!
If you are feeling called to join our team, reach out and we’ll give you a Board Member’s packet of information. We are searching for passionate candidates and invite you to apply!