June 7th: Life After "The Life"
Although many of our members were on vacation this week, we still had a pretty good turnout for our meeting! We had a number of guests, including Myron Pasichny, a past member of our club who was back in town, visiting from Beaverton, Oregon. We also welcomed Kelly Hart of Opera NEO, a community group that performs right here in Allied Gardens! She will be back on July 19th as our guest speaker.
We also said hello to Lt. Governor Doug Beckham and Lt. Governor-Elect Al Demoran, both from the Kearny Mesa Kiwanis Club. Doug reminded us that the San Diego Festival of the Arts will take place this weekend at the Embarcadero; it is the largest event sponsored by the Torrey Pines Kiwanis Club.
After a few songs with songmaster Gary Blume and a Joke of the Day from substitute jokester Mickey Zeichick, we met our final Student of the Month for the academic year, Nora Richardson of Hearst Elementary School. Nora, a 5th grader who will attend Lewis Middle School this fall, joined us along with her teacher, Allison Borman, parents Melissa and Aaron, and her brother Cole. Nora enjoys reading and is currently a green belt in kung fu! We are happy to reward good students like Nora; with this award, she wins dinner for four at Hooley’s Public House in La Mesa.
We congratulate Nora Richardson and her family, as Nora was recognized with the Jim and Joanne MacDonald Student of the Month Award!
Kiwanian of the Day Marianne Lindsay collected a few Happy Dollars from the crowd, but due to some technical difficulties, she was unable to give us any trivia questions! We’ll give her another chance at the podium soon.
This brought us to our guest speaker, Rachel Devine, representing “Generate Hope,” a faith-based organization aimed at stopping sex trafficking. Despite the common misconception that sex trafficking is something that happens in a far-off place, the problem is still prevalent in the United States. In fact, San Diego is identified as one of the top eight “high intensity areas” for commercial sex exploitation. Underground sex slavery and prostitution is San Diego’s second-largest black market economy, after illegal drug trade (and is more profitable than illegal weapons trading and illegal immigration).
Generate Hope (www.generatehope.org) helps educate people about sex trafficking and the warning signs; most victims, male and female, get caught up in “The Life” between the ages of 14 and 16. Lured by promises of wealth and opportunity, and often showered with gifts and attention from an older admirer, many teens get lured into underground sex work without realizing it, until it’s too late.
Generate Hope operates a safe house designed to host up to six women at a time, as these women find their way out of “The Life” and back to a normal, respectable existence in society. While today’s presentation gave us some very unpleasant, sobering statistics, we could all be grateful that people like Rachel offer these unfortunate victims with hope, and a way out of a very bad situation.
Rachel Devine presented us with some discomforting facts and figures about the underground sex trade that takes place right here in Southern California. Her organization, Generate Hope, helps to provide a "way out" for victims of human trafficking, and helps educate people about possible warning signs to help identify potential victims.