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Outings would help rehabilitate teens after abuse

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

Self-care, relaxation and entertainment won’t erase the horrors of sexual exploitation, but these diversions could help teen clients of Redemption Ridge regain a sense of normalcy.

Immersion in Redemption Ridge’s Trauma-Inform/Response-Care program promotes healing from the complex trauma that four girls — ages 14 to 16 — have suffered. Redemption Ridge houses and treats teens who have been sexually exploited or are at risk of being sexually exploited. The organization fosters life skills, friendships and hope.

Music, drama, art and body movement are incorporated into therapy, said therapist and clinical supervisor Maha Snell. Building empathy, respect and connection is the goal, along with understanding survivors’ behaviors, coping mechanisms and how past abuse and neglect can impact every aspect of their day-to-day experiences.

Healthy, safe outings could include movies, a Craterian Performances musical or theater production and shows at Randall Theatre or Collaborative Theatre Project in Medford. Tickets, passes and gift cards are welcome. Two care specialists from Redemption Ridge accompany residents on trips outside their inpatient accommodations at Grace House, where clients often stay as long as two years.

The residence is a haven for female sex-trafficking survivors ages 11 through 17. Minor children constitute nearly half of all human trafficking victims, according to the organization’s website.

Gift certificates for haircuts, massage and other body care would help to restore the girls’ sense of wellbeing, says Snell, explaining that her clients often experience extreme shame and stigma associated with the stereotype of being “sexually promiscuous.” Clients also need essentials that could be purchased with gift cards to Walmart, Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

To help, call Snell at 541-816-4415 or email maha@redemptionridge.org.