CREATING ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
Our Job Program provides employment for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking locally in Northern Colorado and across the country via remote work opportunities. At The Avery Center we acknowledge that economic empowerment is more than just a paycheck, it is also about teaching entrepreneurship, marketable skills, and by helping individual tap into their internal resources. We do this by involving program participants in all areas of our operations, offering weekly personal and professional development assignments, and one-on-one career mentorship. Designed with the utmost flexibility, the program seeks to meet each participant where they are. We work to address and allow space for trauma responses (which are common for survivors to experience when re-entering the workforce) in a safe environment.
Interested in joining the Job Training Program? Contact us to learn more!
THE AVERY CENTER'S VALUES ON EMPOWERMENT
Critical Mass Theory at The Avery Center AND HOW IT IMPACTS SURVIVORS
At Harvard, Jay Newton-Small teaches a class called Critical Mass: What Happens When Women Start to Rule the World. In the description of this class, they state:
“In sociology, political science and economics studies abound on when the presence of women begins to have an impact. Almost across the board, if there’s less than 20% representation outcomes don’t change. Either the women don’t speak up or the men don’t hear them. But somewhere between 20% and 30% and something called critical mass is attained and suddenly women’s voices are heard.”
At The Avery Center, we believe in basing our practices on an evidence-base. We believe we can apply Critical Mass Theory to survivor engagement in an organization. Over 30% of our staff are survivors. Survivors engage with the organization as participants in the job program, volunteers, interns, consultants, supervisors, directors, founders, and board members. When you join the team at The Avery Center, you have the space to speak up and we will always do our best to hear you.
Trauma-Informed and Survivor-Centered Environment
Since we serve survivors of complex trauma, the Job Program is built on trauma-informed practices and integrates survivor-centered care. The program is supervised by a qualified professional. Volunteer guest educators are carefully screened, adequately trained, and their interactions with program participants are designed to not only empower them but to increase their social capital.
We provide additional supports upon request to our participants. An on-site therapist is available to local participants on program days, remote participants are paired with a Service Coordinator to ensure they are connected to community networks and resources in their local area, and participants can join one of our many cohorts of survivor groups online. If needed, we work on assisting survivors on meeting basic needs, such as childcare, legal services, or housing.
Economic empowerment is essential for survivors if the community hopes to provide an environment where no one is re-exploited. Providing a living wage is a first step but addressing a multitude of other needs in a supportive environment may be even more impactful. We try to model healthy communication and conflict resolution, encourage individuals to learn to advocate for themselves, teach financially literacy, and provide pragmatic solutions to a number of challenges participants may face.
JOB PROGRAM STRUCTURE
The work available to participants at The Avery Center varies based on several factors. Local and remote participants with little to no work history can engage in job training that teaches the basics of employment while learning entry level skills. We also have opportunity for local and remote participants who have developed basic employment skills but are looking for an opportunity to learn a specific skillset or enter a certain career field.
Regardless of which type of work a person is looking for, we offer personal and professional development in two categories: individual coursework and group activities. Within the self-paced individual coursework, topics range dependent upon the track the participant chooses - job readiness, management, or entrepreneurial. Group activities range from self-care to computer literacy and are designed to not only increase skills and knowledge but encourage peer support and model healthy relationships with community members.
Job Program participants typically complete their individual coursework in nine to twelve months. Once they have completed their initial phase, they work with their supervisor to create a customized transition plan for their next three to six months of employment with The Avery Center. Based on their needs and goals, survivors can choose to train in a new skill, plan for their next steps, or request an opportunity to stay on with The Avery Center long-term.
Our Commitment to Financially Sustainable Programs
It is vital for the holistic well-being of the participants that the environment, staff, and routines remain as predictable and consistent as possible for the duration of the participant’s time in the program. We’re continually working to develop diverse funding and support so that no program, service, or initiative is dependent on a single grant or donor.
Our Job Program is funded by proceeds from Sparrow's Landing Co. Crackle Corn Sales, contracts with partnering non-profits, such as Roller Skate to Liberate and UCount, private donors, and limited grant funding. This provides economic stability to the survivors we walk alongside, allowing them to reclaim greater control over their own lives.
When you partner with The Avery Center with an ongoing or one-time donation, you help us expand our impact, further stabilize our existing programs, and accelerate the speed we can launch new initiatives.
Opportunities to Support the Job Program
Create a secure one-time or repeating monthly donation using the PayPal button below or send funds with Venmo. Contributions support our Job Program, Care Package Program, ongoing administrative costs, and new program development. Click here to donate.
SHOP FOR CRACKLE CORN
Support the survivors in our Job Program by shopping at Sparrow’s Landing Co. We offer a variety of different crackle corns which are great for a treat for yourself and make wonderful gifts! Made and marketed with care by survivors themselves! Click here to shop.
CONSIDER PARTNERING WITH US TO HIRE SURVIVORS
We’ve partnered with other organizations to offer remote employment opportunities to survivors while under the supervision of a career supervisor. Let us know what kind of remote work you need! We can pair you with a participant in our program who has meet the basic requirements for employment training and is ready to learn a new skill. We’ll make sure the participant still has all the support and mentorship they need while you use your business for good! Contact us to learn more.
PURCHASE A COPY OF SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO MONEY
Written by survivor leader and The Avery Center co-founder Megan Lundstrom, this robust 130+ page workbook focuses on practical lessons and worksheets. Money is often used as a weapon against trafficked individuals, keeping them dependent on their trafficker or living in fear of poverty. This workbook teaches survivors how to use money as a tool for their success outside of The Game. Click here to learn more.
Connect With Us Online
One of the simplest but most meaningful ways you can support The Avery Center and the work we do is to follow our social channels and subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Help us expand our reach and stay up-to-date on news, events, and support needs.
Subscribe to our newsletter
By supplying your email address above, you agree to receive newsletters from The Avery Center. You can opt out of these communications at any time using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email.
Job Training Program History
From 2017-2018, we piloted the first year of our Economic Empowerment Program, employing a total of nine qualifying individuals. Upon completion of the pilot, an in-depth analysis was conducted to consider the feedback and observations of program participants and supervising staff to further improve the program. The program launched its first official cohort beginning October 2018 and is now a 12- to 18-month educational employment opportunity that requires a maximum of 20 hours work per week.
The first cohort concluded in the spring of 2020 with a 100% graduation rate!
With internally-generated revenue creating a sustainable program model, the program pays participants a living wage while equipping them with job skills, building work history, education, financial literacy, and hope for a more stable future, and to end poverty much sooner.
In 2020, our job programming adapted to meet the needs of survivors during the pandemic, which included the addition of remote work. We now employ survivors all over the country. However, the pandemic also had negative impacts on the program. We are working now to diverse our revenue streams to provide new opportunities to survivors and increase our anti-fragility as we seek to provide meaningful employment during periods of economic prosperity and downturn.