Jane Doe in Wonderland comes to PDX

Thanks to Jane Doe in Wonderland, sex trafficking can not only be discussed but fought against by every concerned person inspired by this thought-provoking show
— Betti Webb-Trauth, Eureka Times Standard, 2017

We will be supporting Jane Doe in Wonderland, as we will be a tabling partner at the event on March 30th.  Please come out and support the wonderful cast and crew of Jane Doe in Wonderland, as well as the anti-sex trafficking non-profit organization Game Over, who have produced this show. We would also like to thank the Portland Rotary for inviting us to this event, and for bringing great things like this to the Portland area. 

To find out more, visit their website www.janedoeinwonderland.com


Weighted Blanket Project...How can you help?

How the Project Began:  

In spring 2016, a counselor at Lifeworks Northwest contacted us. While doing research on sensory integration with young survivors of sex trafficking, she stumbled on the existence of weighted blankets for therapeutic work and was wondered if they might also help her clients. Her agency was interested, but the cost was prohibitive. So she asked if we would be interested in creating some samples to test with her clients. Lifeworks Northwest agreed to supply the materials and we agreed to make the blankets.


Weighted Blankets: 

The idea of using weighted blankets came from a study that focused on the effect of deep pressure on children with sensory integration disorders, common in children with autism. A weighted blanket (a pocketed blanket with polyester pellets) reduces anxiety and stress by giving individuals the sense of pressure that a hug would offer. Survivors of child sex trafficking have suffered great trauma and often have the same aversion to touch as autistic children. So, using these blankets to afford them the “hugs” they need might also produce positive results.


Enter the Lap Pads: 

We began to discuss whether a smaller, more portable weighted object might also useful. We learned that autistic children also use lap pads with the same positive results. We assumed that lap pads could be used at a doctor’s or counselor’s office, at school, at home or in a car, and by advocates and police in the field who work with trafficked youth. So, we decided to make some sample lap pads and test them out as well.


Results of the Pilot: 

Three agencies and one foster home were given blankets/lap pads to use with survivors. All reported that survivors liked them and used them daily when under stress or feeling anxious. At one facility, the clients actually argued over who would get to use them. At another, one client left the facility (not unusual for survivors who have a hard time breaking the hold of their traffickers) with none of her personal belongings except her blanket!

And then there was an unexpected result- feedback that the caseworkers, therapists, supervisors and residence staff also benefitted from them. Staff members reported feeling a kind of loss when blankets or lap pads weren’t available to grab for a few minutes of self-care because clients were using them. With the amount of vicarious trauma that these individuals experience, their reaction makes perfect sense.


How You Can Help  

Giving Connection has met with representatives from the agencies we support (Lifeworks NW, DHS, SARC, Morrison Family Services, Janus Youth Programs).All of them are interested in receiving blankets and/or lap pads for use by both clients and staff. We are reaching out to the community to find individuals or groups who are willing to gather the materials needed and sew them. We are also looking for people who do not sew but who could donate the funds necessary to purchase the materials (cotton and flannel fabric, poly pellets, thread, and fiberfill). 

Holiday Donations

For the third year in a row the Aloha Presbyterian Fellowship have provided holiday gifts for Lifeworks NW and DHS. They operate through a giving tree where they pick gifts based on ages and it is done completely anonymous as to protect the identity of the recipients. 

If you are interested in getting involved during the holidays feel free to contact us to set up a pick up. 

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Weighted Blankets

Lifeworks NW, which houses CSEC mental health care services for local child survivors, had a pilot project to try and reduce survivors stress and anxiety. They wanted to try weighted blankets which function as a 'hug' for individuals who are resistant to close personal touch. Most research on weighted blankets has been done with those on the autism spectrum. 

In assistance to this pilot project Giving Connection made six blankets as part of the project. If the project proves as a success we might be looking for sewing groups to help meet the demand. 

Happy Tears

Life works NW reached out to Giving Connection in July, to help with a small item but a huge moment in the life of a survivor. A six year participant/ survivor in Lifeworks NW programs, was preparing to get married. It was a small even in a park. Lifeworks NW had been able to help with table decorations but one thing was missing...the bouquet. 

Giving Connection reached out to a friend of one of the organization members (Justin Waddell of Bloke), who was more than happy to help and delivered in an hour. 

Upon delivery of the custom bouquet, the bride was so surprised that she cried 'happy tears when the last missing element was completed for  her happy day. 

Why Giving Connection exists

"Learning about the extent of sex trafficking of children here in the Portland area really blew my mind. When I moved here four years ago, I had no idea that anything like this was going on in this community, let alone that we were known as a "hub". And to be honest, the information haunted me. Once you know this is happening to OUR neighborhood kids, it is really difficult to ignore the situation. I felt compelled to help in some way and reached out to some of my friends. Giving Connection was born out of our desire to educate the community and get more people involved in supporting the providers and the agencies that work with them."