Each holiday season, we award $2,500 to the four non-profits with the most mentions on our social media pages. Among our lucky winners last year was local non-profit, The New Colossus.
The New Colossus is an anti human trafficking organization that focuses on awareness, education, bridge building, and prevention. Directors, Ashley Statema and Polly Dean, host trainings for a variety of organizations, professionals, and schools in an effort to build bridges among those who come into contact with victims and potential victims.
Q: Did you expect to be one of our four winners last year?
A: You know, not at first. We are a smaller non-profit, and we know how many amazing organizations are out there doing really important things. Once we started spreading the word though, it was shocking to us how many people were behind us and supporting us; it was humbling and amazing to see the people voting.
Q: How did you spread the word and get people to vote for your organization?
A: We really took to social media and just flat out asked. We knew what that money would do for our cause and for the prevention of sex trafficking in our community. We decided that we needed to tell people exactly what the money would be used for, and in turn hoped that that would inspire them to come alongside us and vote.
Q: What was it like to see the votes pour in?
A: We said over and over again that seeing all those posts and kind words were just as important, if not more important, than the funds. The monetary support is vital to keeping us running and doing this work, but the emotional support and kind words gave us so much motivation and drive to keep fighting this. It was confirmation that our community needs this, and we are headed in the right direction.
Q: How did winning a gift of $2,500 impact your organization?
A: The impact was extremely substantial. The funds enabled us to create social media safety posters for schools we visit, so the conversation among students and teachers can continue. We were also able to lead a number of community trainings for the general public, anyone from property managers to social workers were able to attend and the message of prevention really began to take hold and spread.
Q: What has The New Colossus been up to this past year?
A: We’ve been working in conjunction with Minnehaha County to offer regularly-scheduled trainings for staff and personnel throughout all the County service agencies, as well as implementing new programs with JDC to hopefully spot victimization and/or prevent any more from occurring. The bridge building among first responders and social service agencies has been extremely beneficial in noticing red flags and the continued referral and advocacy for victims and potential victims.