Compassion First

Compassion First is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, providing long-term, hope-filled solutions for survivors of child sexual trafficking. We have a global vision, providing services to the world's most vulnerable in one of the most under-served regions of the world.
Jun 9, 2015

Experiencing Sarah's House

On April 1st I boarded a plane for Indonesia to continue my internship with Compassion First at Sarah’s House. Nearly a month--plus the entire 24 hours of travel--was spent trying to prepare and anticipate what the shelter, staff, and girls would be like. Now, having experienced my first few weeks here, I can share that it is so much more than I ever expected.

I felt welcomed into Sarah’s House immediately; the girls even prepared a little cheer for my arrival. Every day the girls have planned activities and classes as part of their individual programs. I have been able to start teaching life skills and fitness, and the girls have been training me in guitar, the Indonesian language, and how to handle the spicy cuisine. We have set goals to improve morning workouts and to get my badminton skills up to par. I love that they are excited to share with me and am grateful to learn from each of them.

These girls are incredibly talented and smart, and have moved me daily with the happiness and hope they radiate. Each day is different, and no doubt hard times are felt here as well, but the sense of optimism never leaves. The ability for each one to wake up with a smile on her face and have ambitions for the day speaks volumes about the work of Compassion First and the environment at Sarah’ House.

The staff here truly gives all they have to support the girls through the program. Everyone works hard to ensure the success of each resident. Though the work is difficult at times, the same hopefulness felt throughout Sarah’s House exists in the staff office. Most days the hard work and focus is broken up by spontaneous lip-sync competitions and sharing some of the best snacks imaginable. Seeing the staff and girls approach each challenge with unfailing optimism and faith is what makes this such a special place.

Sarah’s House is constantly full of so much joy--music, laughter, and dancing are nearly constant. In my first weeks, I have realized the real magic is best seen through the small acts, done with great love. Moments like standing under a waterfall and having a girl lean in to express her happiness, or the whole group falling asleep in the van on the way home from a day full of swimming or simply eating fried bananas. Walking into the shelter each morning and sharing a joke or two with a few girls and house moms, and seeing two tables, full of smiles, on the patio at lunchtime are what turn the staff and girls at Sarah’s House into family.

Jun 9, 2015

Experiencing Sarah's House

On April 1st I boarded a plane for Indonesia to continue my internship with Compassion First at Sarah’s House. Nearly a month--plus the entire 24 hours of travel--was spent trying to prepare and anticipate what the shelter, staff, and girls would be like. Now, having experienced my first few weeks here, I can share that it is so much more than I ever expected.

I felt welcomed into Sarah’s House immediately; the girls even prepared a little cheer for my arrival. Every day the girls have planned activities and classes as part of their individual programs. I have been able to start teaching life skills and fitness, and the girls have been training me in guitar, the Indonesian language, and how to handle the spicy cuisine. We have set goals to improve morning workouts and to get my badminton skills up to par. I love that they are excited to share with me and am grateful to learn from each of them.

These girls are incredibly talented and smart, and have moved me daily with the happiness and hope they radiate. Each day is different, and no doubt hard times are felt here as well, but the sense of optimism never leaves. The ability for each one to wake up with a smile on her face and have ambitions for the day speaks volumes about the work of Compassion First and the environment at Sarah’ House.

The staff here truly gives all they have to support the girls through the program. Everyone works hard to ensure the success of each resident. Though the work is difficult at times, the same hopefulness felt throughout Sarah’s House exists in the staff office. Most days the hard work and focus is broken up by spontaneous lip-sync competitions and sharing some of the best snacks imaginable. Seeing the staff and girls approach each challenge with unfailing optimism and faith is what makes this such a special place.

Sarah’s House is constantly full of so much joy--music, laughter, and dancing are nearly constant. In my first weeks, I have realized the real magic is best seen through the small acts, done with great love. Moments like standing under a waterfall and having a girl lean in to express her happiness, or the whole group falling asleep in the van on the way home from a day full of swimming or simply eating fried bananas. Walking into the shelter each morning and sharing a joke or two with a few girls and house moms, and seeing two tables, full of smiles, on the patio at lunchtime are what turn the staff and girls at Sarah’s House into family.

Mar 24, 2015

Life at Sarah's House

Many early mornings as I arrive at our shelter and I head through our secure gated entrance, across the side yard towards the back of the property, I’ll spot one of our girls in the outdoor laundry area listening to some tunes while rinsing her clothes in the water coming from our newly dug well. I’ll head towards the house living quarters and, just as I’m entering, another girl will dart out of her room in a hurry, barefoot, all dressed, hair done and fresh makeup, searching for her shoes. She’s already a little late for her vocational training school, or perhaps a family visit. One house mom will be patiently helping her search. Across the room another girl sits on the couch playing the guitar and singing for her personal morning worship time.  I’m almost always greeted by whomever is there. “Hey Ka Becks, good morning.” They like to use the English they’ve been learning and I’m usually just as eager to use my Bahasa, “Pagi, nona! Apa kabarmu?” We’ll chat a moment for fun about absolutely nothing or catch up on what’s been going on. Then I’ll head out the back of the living quarters. 

Immediately I can hear chit-chat and giggles coming from a couple more girls hanging out with a house mom and a case coordinator at the breakfast table on the open-air patio next to the kitchen. One of the girls will still be in her morning tennis workout clothes, obviously needing a shower, while the other is still in her morning pj’s.  Across from the patio one of our teachers will be in an empty classroom preparing for morning lessons which start in about an hour. If I don’t get sucked into the conversation at the breakfast table I’ll head into our office where I’ll usually find a couple other staff members preparing their morning agendas.

Believe it or not, at Sarah’s House most mornings are just like this but obviously not all. They are teenage girls after all working through the emotions of their teen years with the additional challenges that are still being resolved from their past trafficking situations. However, much of their progress and healing comes directly from our ability to provide for them the every day love and basic needs that every kid should have.  A safe home with loving and caring people that come alongside them every day. A stable environment of healthy nurturing every day. An environment of learning and opportunity every day.  Thank you so much for helping us provide some of the most important things these girls need — this home, this place of hope and healing.

 

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