Rotarians, family and friends attended Book Signing Event at The Book Jewel in Westchester. Journalist, poet and photographer, Ferne Saltzman, shared the story behind her book, Facets of My Soul, also reciting three of her poems. Guests purchased books for Ferne to autograph. Ferne is a member of the Rotary Club of D5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking. She is donating all of the proceeds, through the collaboration with her Rotary Club, to nonprofits assisting victims and survivors in their journey out of the life.“
You may visit Rotarian Ferne’s website at https://leadingwithmyheart.org/. You may “Order Today” from the homepage.
A 12-month calendar with beautiful full-color images are representative of a backstory in the lives of 12 empowered people whose story can be found on the back cover of the calendar.
Proceeds from pre-sales of the calendar through September 2021 will go directly to support Rotary International projects to end human trafficking.
Calendars include inspirational stories of empowerment, overcoming obstacles and human trafficking. They can be preordered through September 30, 2021 at https://bit.ly/3qeBEEB for $12.25, a discount of 25%, plus tax and shipping. The calendars will ship in November. A full description and thumbnail of the calendar is on the website.
A substantial sum from each presale calendar is being donated to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International projects for the prevention and elimination of labor and sex trafficking. Funds donated may be matched by TRF depending upon grant use conditions.
Pasadena Rotarian James Nash, far right in the back row, joins Professor Kelly Gallegos of Chapman College as she previewed her International Anti-Human Tracking Film to community organizations in Murrieta, California. Professor Gallegos is second from the left in the front row.
Nearly 1,400 packages of 80 sanitized wipes per bag were procured by LA5 Immediate Past President Matt Ball. District 5280 Rotarians, coordinated by the lead clubs Rotary Clubs of South Bay Sunrise (David Henseler) and Hawthorne/LAX Lennox (Larry Bender), and assisted in distribution by D5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking (Vanessa Galvin Reddix), Westchester (Richard Moon and Cozette Vergari), and Manhattan Beach (Kathleen Terry), took action to distribute the items to 10 nonprofits assisting at risk students, victims and survivors of human trafficking, food pantries, homeless and others in need in the Los Angeles region.
I conceived the notion of a speaking cycle ride the length of Great Britain (about 1000 miles) from Lands End to John O’Groats as a homage to Thomas Clarkson the founder of 180 year old Anti-slavery International. The cycling element was the focus for some fundraising.
Thomas Clarkson rode the length and breadth of the country on horseback on many occasions. Starting in about 1787, he would ride from his home near mine, to London Bristol or Liverpool to research conditions on the slave ships and collect implements of enslavement as evidence.
On his journeys he would stop and speak to groups of people about the horrors of Transatlantic Slavery and show them the evidence.
When I began to implement my plan earlier this year the UK’s second COVID-19 lockdown was in place. Rapidly the prospect grew dim of people assembling anywhere. At the same time meeting virtually was becoming the norm.
This led to a disassociation between my planned route and the location of potential audiences. If I was going to be talking to people on zoom, their proximity to my route was of no relevance.
Fair weather is helpful to a long cycle ride and I miscalculated that late April was a good start time, and that lockdown by then would be sufficiently eased. I offered to give talks from that time.
It transpired that the government had another date in mind - one month later. That delayed my starting time but extended the window for my talks.
Happily all these forced changes worked in my favour. Although I rode up the West of England, I also spoke to schools, faith groups and clubs on the South Coast the South East and Eastern Counties and even to a club in Colorado, US.
By the end of June I had spoken to over 130 groups or classes of students: 3-4000 people in all. If I’d had to do all that as originally planned during the three weeks of the ride, progress would have been slow.
Although I started in a 65mph gale at Lands End, the wind was at my back. That evening I wrote off my bike. It took me most of the next day, a Saturday to find a suitable replacement in Cornwall and when I did start a navigational error made for a 12 mile detour back to my day’s starting point - and a late supper. On Sunday I nearly drowned in a Devon deluge.
I knew things were looking up on Monday because every time it began to rain heavily, I happened to be passing a “pub” or other place of shelter..
The only live talk I gave was at a school in Whitchurch Shropshire. I usually managed to meet up with my campervan support vehicle to give daytime talks in places with good Internet coverage.
My visit to the Liverpool International Slavery Museum was a sobering highlight. It focuses on transatlantic slavery but is cleverly related to present, modern day slavery.
The only challenges after the first three days were in the later ascents. Shap summit in the Pennines and the Drumochter Summit (1500 feet) in the Scottish Cairngorms were the longest but those on the last day in far North Eastern Scotland, south of Wick were surprisingly and repetitively steep.
To date I have raised just short of £11,000 for Anti-slavery International towards the project in West Nepal helping the Haliya people and their descendants out of indentured slavery. That is a UK fund but I’m also raising funds for US 501 (C) (3) Voices4Freedom and their amazing Schools4Freedom project and for them I need a big boost because I’ve only raised $3,566.50 10% of my target.
As you will see from the website it is a very powerful project. Local personnel, trained for the purpose, set up a school in a slave village in NW India’s Uttar Pradesh state. The children are taught that we all have a right to freedom. They go home and tell their parents. Within three years the whole village is free-just imagine freeing an entire village! It has worked 36 times so far. Please make a generous contribution at
I was particularly struck by the kindness of complete strangers: when completely lost or when they waived campsite fees or just randomly donated in favour of the fund.
Although it was something of a logistical challenge, the mere cycling, for anybody of average fitness was not, even at the age of 75, an insurmountable hurdle but it has taken a toll on me. The scenery was glorious and for the most part enjoyed in near perfect weather for cycling.
I only hope those who heard from me, of the plight of our downtrodden brothers and sisters not only heard the words but act upon it. When we are all aware of what we can do to end Modern Slavery/Human Trafficking, less people will be enslaved to satisfy our c onsumer demands; more slaves will be freed as we are able to identify them.”
The Greater Van Nuys Rotary Club recently donated security cameras to the Rudy Ortega Park in San Fernando . The park was named in memory of Rudy Ortega, Sr., tribal leader of the Fernandeno Tataviam Mission Indians. The Club donated to Rudy Ortega, Jr. and the Tribal Center a painting with the Rotary logo painted by Marie Valencia, a Pueblo Indian and a member of the Greater Van Nuys Rotary Club. The painting represents murdered and missing indigenous women. Valencia is working hard to raise awareness of the issue of native women being trafficked.
A group of Rotarians from the club, D5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking, participated in a project to bring much need supplies to survivors of human trafficking, served by nonprofit Saving Innocence.
The newly chartered RI District 5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking Rotary Club helped make the holidays a little happier for 50 survivors of human trafficking, with a donation of 50 potted holiday trees, one for each survivor’s room at a confidential site operated by nonprofit Coalition Against Slave Trafficking. (CAST). Club President Vanessa Galvin-Reddix, receiving an anonymous donation, arranged for the purchase of the trees on behalf of the newly chartered Rotary Club.
When Kay Buck, CEO of CAST, reported the donation to the Board of Directors, one board member was excited by the donation and inspired to arrange for holiday ornaments to be added to the activity, so the survivors would have decorations for their trees. Arrangements were made with the owner of Zizi Showroom, Dale Zizi, who generously donated the ornaments.
The D5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking Club also donated several items to fulfill essential needs of those survivors being served by the two nonprofits Journey Out, Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services and Free to Thrive.
See photos below.
On October 8th through 16th, Playa Venice Sunrise Rotarian, Rob DeCou, took on Uberman, “the World’s Toughest Ultra-Triathlon”, in partnership with Rotary International District 5280 (Los Angeles Region), swimming 21-miles from Catalina Island to Palos Verdes Peninsula, biking 400-miles to Death Valley, then running 135 miles through Death Valley before ascending 8,360 feet to the portal at Mt. Whitney with the dedicated purpose of raising awareness and funds in the fight against human trafficking.
Los Angeles is among the top three high-intensity child sex-trafficking regions in the nation. Many people believe this to be an issue “somewhere else” in the world, and it is. But, what many do not realize, it is also an issue right here, right in our own neighborhoods. According to the U.S. State Department, ”dollar-for-dollar, human trafficking in America is far worse than it is overseas. It is an underground epidemic that is growing exponentially and is happening in our own backyards.”
And, again, yes right here in our neighborhoods. It is estimated that 150,000 victims are currently held as commercial sex slaves in the U.S., and 50% of these trafficked victims are minor children, with an average age of just 12 years old. Children are being lured in and “groomed,” through social media and the internet, from all socio-economic populations.
So, Rob DeCou, took on the 556-mile Uberman course to bring attention to this issue. “I was gifted with an ability to persevere through extremely long endeavors and this race aligned with the way I have been nurturing that gift for over half my life,” shares DeCou. “This fight against human trafficking is dear to my heart and it continues to touch my soul as one of the greatest injustices we face as a society, with millions enslaved by human trafficking around the world today.”
Rob almost didn’t finish the race. He ended the 21-mile Catalina swim a few miles shy of land due to a health scare. On Friday, October 16th, he returned to the same location to finish the final 4-mile stretch. Rob received a hero’s welcome as he reached Terranea Beach at 10:14am, surrounded by his family, friends and fellow Rotarians as the 7th ever Uberman finisher since the race was founded in 2016.
Rob’s efforts, in partnership with Rotary International District 5280, helped raise over $50,000 to support advocacy, prevention and rescue programs benefiting HOPE61, IN OUR BACKYARD and Los Angeles-based 1736 Family Crisis Center. His triumphant story is an example of how all of us, at every level, can make extraordinary achievements in the fight for what we believe in.
Visit www.RotariansFightingHumanTrafficking.org to learn more about how Rotary is collaborating with Law Enforcement, Governmental Agencies and Nonprofits to work towards rescuing and protecting children from their predators, as well as providing assistance in their recovery.
Additionally, District 5280 is excited to announce a new Rotary Club has been charted as the 60th Rotary Club in the Los Angeles region, the Rotary Club of D5280 Rotarians Fighting Human Trafficking, with the focus of tackling head on this human injustice, together.
Starting his training for Uberman, the world's toughest endurance race, Rob DeCou competes in the 24-Hour World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, California. In 2016, Rob rode 3,000 miles across country to complete the Race Across America. Now, he is focused on a more ambitious goal in fall of 2020 – a running, swimming, and biking Uberman event to continue raising awareness of this critical issue.
Rotarians Bob Deering, PDG from the Rotary Club of East Sacramento; Dr. Brian Gladden, AG from the Roseville Rotary Club; and El Dorado Hills Rotarian Ashlie Bryant came together in Rotary District 5180 as part of a Reverse Global Grant to develop a project combating Human Trafficking. The project not only educates people in the area but educates students as to what to look for so as not to fall into the grips of traffickers. To learn more about 3 Strands Global Foundation, click here.
A few years back, Westchester Rotarians attended a Human Trafficking awareness event at Loyal Marymount University. After learning that human trafficking happens in our city, Westchester Rotarians knew we had to help. After meeting with Journey Out, we received a better perspective on how Westchester Rotary could support Journey Outs’ clients, those who are victims and survivors of the brutality of sex and labor trafficking, impacting hundreds of children throughout the local region of Los Angeles. In 2019, Westchester Rotary started our first annual Journey Out backpack project giveaway. We created hygiene backpacks that include donated items such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine products, tissues, wet ones wipes, socks and deodorant. As humanitarians, we strive to help our community and live by the motto “service above self." The project was organized by Vocational Service Director Vanessa Galvan.
The Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club created this new YouTube PSA to combat Human Trafficking.
Please share to raise awareness.
Friday, March 13, 2020
The Museum of Ventura County had an important and influential event, March 7, as the 13th Annual STOP Human Trafficking Walk came off without a hitch and raised awareness about the problem throughout the world.
The event featured survivors, resources for people who need them, and a voice that said “We do this, so others don't have to go through the crime.”
The group left the museum and went to Main Street in Ventura, proceeded to California Street, and stopped at all the different intersections with their signs to get a good response from the motorists.
From there, the group crossed over and returned to the museum on Main Street.
Local Organizer Debbie Gohlke from the Oxnard Soroptimist Club said the idea for the walk to STOP Human Trafficking came from the Soroptimist International of the America's, which is their federation.
"We're in 22 countries, and they launched this program 13 years ago," she said. "They introduced it to us in Philadelphia, and they asked all the clubs to go back to their communities and put on an event."
At the first event, she was a committee of one, and she had it at the Oxnard Transportation Center with about 20 people.
"Every year, it has grown, and now we have five clubs from Ventura County, including Oxnard, Ventura, Filmore, Camarillo, and the Conejos," she said. "We all collaborate and work on this together. You can do better things with a bigger team."
This is their third year at the Museum of Ventura County.
"We've moved around, but I think this is our final home now," she said. "It's a central gathering place, and everyone knows the museum."
The Soroptimists focuses on improving the lives of women and girls through programs that lead to economic and educational empowerment.
Thanks to leadership from Sheri Polak and Dale Barnes of Woodland Hills Rotary and Susan Renick of Calabasas Rotary, the Rotary Clubs of Woodland Hills and Calabasas have joined forces in the support of a new program assisting victims of trafficking, in partnership with Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services Pacific Lodge https://www.oyhfs.org/plys.html.
Pacific Lodge Youth Services was acquired by Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services on January 1, 2017. Given the similar histories and populations served, this has proven to be an excellent match for both organizations.
Optimist envisions a world where all children, young adults and families will have the opportunity to receive the care and support they need to succeed. The Pacific Lodge division is located on a beautiful 10-acre campus in Woodland Hills, California, and serves children in need of support in their journey toward a future of opportunity.
Recently, Woodland Hills and Calabasas Rotarians visited Pacific Lodge Youth Services for “Valentine Cupcake Wars,” bringing cakes mixes, icing, food coloring, candies, sprinkles and more. The residents of Pacific Lodge practiced their culinary skills in creating colorful cupcakes, competing for awards in “Most Colorful,” “Most Creative,”, “Best Theme,” “Best Technique” and “Most Whimsical. Rotarians “judged” the competition, with a tasty spirit, presenting colorful certificates to the winners and decorative pillows to all who participated.
It was a win-win for everyone!!!
Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services (OYHFS) is a nationally accredited
non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. It is one of the oldest and largest agencies of its kind in Southern California. Referrals are accepted from throughout the state of California.
OYHFS serves 500 at-risk youth and their families every day.