There are certain things attached to February: hearts, pink, red, Valentine’s Day, and, of course, love.
In February, the idea of love consumes people. We wonder whether or not we are loved, if we give enough love, how to receive more love, etc. Some even turn to one of the most trustworthy sources—Google—and ask the age-old question: “What is love?”
As a society, the idea of love baffles us probably because love, an ambiguous term that often hangs in the balance of tragedy and fairytale, is so fluid that it applies to both human beings and a favorite type of candy. Misapplied and misunderstood, love’s definition seems to change so often that it is easy to lose track of how important love can be. We forget that love, if received continuously, has the power to fulfill a person and propel them toward greatness. On the other hand, if rarely or never received, love’s absence also has the power to damage a person’s sense of value and purpose, and even send them careening into the arms of someone who would exploit the wound a lack of love produces.
#LoveRestores through The Lens of Human Trafficking
Beautiful Dream Society has always believed in the restorative power of love. To us, love is an action, expressed to others through deeds of kindness, generosity, and self-surrendering. We believe that unconditional love—merciful, sacrificial, faithful—should be available to everyone every day. Moreover, we believe that there is a critical need for love among human trafficking survivors.
We have found that there are many ways to extend love to the women and children in our programs in Oklahoma City and Lesotho. By providing a place of safety and peace where clients can rest without fear, listening with a sincere and kind ear to whatever clients feel like sharing, celebrating life during holidays, and taking the time to find out what each individual enjoys, imagines, and dreams for his or her life, our staff helps survivors create a new life not defined by his or her past.
The effect is evident; in fact, over time, many clients have shared with us that they found it remarkable that our staff cared enough just to simply ask how their day was and, even more remarkable still, that the person asking actually cared about the answer!
What Can I Do?
You might read this and think, “Well, I’m so happy about what Beautiful Dream Society is doing, but how can I help?” We’re so glad you asked! When you are not working hands on in the fight against human trafficking, it is easy to feel removed from what Beautiful Dream Society does on a daily basis—but there are many ways you can get involved!
You can apply to volunteer or intern in our Oklahoma City Dream Home for adult women victims of human sex trafficking. You can also apply to volunteer or intern in our Lesotho program working with orphaned children. As this kind of volunteer, you have the chance to show restorative love, either in the direct care of women in our Oklahoma City program who have exited sex trafficking or children in Africa who have exited tragic circumstances. See below for information about how to start showing restorative love to those in our care.
However, not everyone is in a position to volunteer—as much as we wish we had more time on our hands to do so—but there is something everyone can do: love others. Everyone has the capacity to show restorative love to others, and, in doing so, we become agents of change. Small acts can have a big impact. For example, love can be as simple as smiling at everyone around you. By extending a helping hand, smiling, or uttering a kind word, your love can prevent someone from turning to the arms of someone who would exploit them.
Showing love affirms a person’s worth and reminds him or her that he or she deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Demonstrating that you care can help prevent the emptiness and low self-esteem that traffickers look for when recruiting. You also never know when you will come across someone who has been victimized in some way. You never know how a kind word from you will impact another person.
#L oveRestores This February
This month, inspired by the traditional perspective of February, Beautiful Dream Society wants to focus on the restorative power of love. We’ll be sharing and writing about how love affects not only the survivors of human trafficking but how loving others on a daily basis can also prevent potential victims of human trafficking. Essentially, this month, we’ll be exploring how love can heal and help restore hope in a bright future for men and women who have had their hope depleted.
Courtney Brady, Intern for Beautiful Dream Society
*Oklahoma City program: If you are a woman who is studying or has a professional background in mental health, social work, medicine, or counseling and you are interested in working with the women in our program, you can apply to participate in our upcoming training! Take the first step toward showing this kind of restorative love, take action today: email Whitney – [email protected] to inquire about program requirements.
*Lesotho program: If you’re interested in volunteering in Lesotho, Africa, visit beautifuldream.tv/want-to-help/volunteer/ and check the Lesotho box. Our staff will get in touch with you!