Magdalene St. Louis is pleased to announce the naming of its founding Executive Director, Tricia Roland-Hamilton.
Magdalene St. Louis is a seedling of Magdalene House in Nashville. It is a 2-year residential program for women who have survived lives of abuse, violence, trafficking, prostitution, addiction and life on the streets. In addition to housing, Magdalene St. Louis will provide food, medical care, therapy, education and job training at no charge.
Magdalene St. Louis is on track to open its first house in 2014.
“Tricia is a dynamo. Her passion for the women we serve is equalled only by her drive, creativity and ability to get things done,” said the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, President of the Board of Magdalene St. Louis.
“She is the perfect person not just to lead Magdalene St. Louis but to raise the level of conversation and commitment to end the buying and selling of women in the St. Louis region.”
Roland-Hamilton, who has served on the Board of Magdalene St. Louis since its inception, brings a wealth of experience in a wide variety of fields, including not-for-profit management, project development and management, government and community relations, fundraising, advocacy, and numerous volunteer Board positions.
For many years, Roland-Hamilton developed crime reductions strategies for the U.S. Attorney’s office, Eastern District of Missouri, and as a private consultant. During her tenure as President of the Central West End Association she initiated and co-founded the CWE Neighborhood Security Initiative. Most recently, she served as the Director for the Gateway Mall Project in Downtown St. Louis.
“My passion and mission is to transform the lives of women who have been minimalized by our society, and to help others understand the true nature of prostitution and human trafficking in our neighborhoods,” said Roland-Hamilton.
Adult women will come to Magdalene from prison or off the streets. On average, most have experienced sexual abuse beginning between the ages of 7 and 11. By age 12, most turn to drug and alcohol use to deaden emotional pain. They have been raped, stabbed and shot at on the streets.
“Here in St. Louis there are women caught in an ugly cycle of addiction, abuse and prostitution,” Roland-Hamilton said. “They walk our streets, cycle through our judicial system, and have little hope of achieving a better life. Magdalene St. Louis will provide that hope.”
In Nashville, over 16 years of the Magdalene program, nearly 75% of the women are clean and sober 2 1/2 years after entering — a nearly unheard of rate for crack and heroin addiction. Magdalene St. Louis is working closely with Magdalene founder, the Rev. Becca Stevens, and her staff, to duplicate the model and its success here in St. Louis.
“I am thrilled Tricia has been selected as the executive director of Magdalene St. Louis,” said Stevens, whose work was featured in a New York Times op-ed by Nicholas Kristof this past Sunday. “Her vision of the power of love as well as her commitment to changing a culture where women are bought and sold are a huge gift to Magdalene St. Louis.
“She understands this is not just about helping a few women, but bringing a whole community together to heal.”