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Junior League Supports Polaris Project New Jersey

Kate Keisel of Polaris, Julie Liepold of JLOSH,Sara D'Andrea of JLOSH and Ulana Tatunchak of Polaris./Photo provided
Kate Keisel of Polaris, Julie Liepold of JLOSH,Sara D'Andrea of JLOSH and Ulana Tatunchak of Polaris./Photo provided

In support of Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills completed an ambitious three phase project aimed at helping the Polaris Project New Jersey and the human trafficking survivors they serve. 

For Phase 1 the JLOSH Community Impact Days Committee, headed by Shanease Guion- Davis, resident ofSouth Orange, organized a successful drive for donations of winter coats, clothing and toiletries to provide Polaris Project with much needed Crisis Response Kits.

Phase 2 of the JLOSH project delivered over $10,000 of renovations to the Polaris Project New Jersey offices. The metamorphosis of the Polaris Project New Jersey office into a warm and welcoming space for therapy, counseling and skills training for victims of human trafficking is thanks to the design efforts of JLOSH member Julie Liepold, resident of Millburn, and the generous donations of furniture from Creative Wallcoverings & Interiors and Liepold Design Group. Kaitlyn Keisel, Director of Polaris Project New Jersey, thanked JLOSH for “transforming our office into a beautiful healing sanctuary… so the survivors we serve can create a home base to redefine their lives.”  

JLOSH completed Phase 3 of their project with a Chinese New Year Brunch celebration in the newly renovated Polaris Project offices followed by a dance workshop and performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. This JLOSH initiative would not have been possible without Ambassadors For Change (AFC) and their grant of $1,000 towards this project, along with the support and involvement of AFC's Executive Director, and JLOSH member now living in Arizona, Felicia Storey.  

As important as it is to create a healthy and nurturing environment for the survivors of human trafficking, JLOSH and Polaris Project are deeply committed to the long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery.  The Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee helped spearhead the state’s “Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act” signed into law by Governor Chris Christie on May 6, 2013. JLOSH President Elect Kelly Sandler and a resident of Union, is the Essex County Assistant Prosecutor handling the first human trafficking indictment under the new comprehensive anti-trafficking law.  The Polaris Project New Jersey is grateful to the ongoing support of their community advocate JLOSH.

The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, Inc. is an organization of women developed as civic and community leaders creating lasting community impact. JLOSH provides service to East Orange, Livingston,Maplewood, Milburn, Orange, Short Hills, South Orange, Springfield and West Orange, and reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. To learn more about JLOSH, visit www.jlosh.org or find it on Facebook.

Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star "Polaris" that guided people escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in theU.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 888.373.7888, conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.

Submitted by the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills

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