Christine McDonald Hired as Director of Outreach and Advocacy

UnknownMagdalene St. Louis is pleased to announce the hiring of Christine McDonald as Director of Outreach and Advocacy effective immediately. McDonald has previously served on the Board of Directors for the organization and is well known for her role in shaping policy affecting victims of sex trafficking.

Magdalene St. Louis is a St. Louis based nonprofit start-up that offers women who have survived lives of abuse, prostitution, and addiction a safe place: two years of housing, support, and education at no cost. We invite women coming out of correctional facilities or off the streets into a compassionate and disciplined community where they can recover and rebuild their lives.

McDonald’s role will include developing awareness programs in the community, advocating on behalf of the organization at the state and local levels, and serving as a survivor voice for programming needs.

“Christine brings a wealth of life experiences to the table,” said Executive Director Tricia Roland-Hamilton. “Her ability to be a strong voice for victims, her knowledge of the legislative process, nationwide trends, and the needs of the women we will serve all combine to make her an important addition to the Magdalene St. Louis staff.”

McDonald survived nearly two decades of homelessness, street-corner prostitution, crack addiction and many stints in prison. She is the author of Cry Purple, which details her life on the street, what led her there, and where she is today.

“I am so humbled to be in a position that my life’s journey has given me the knowledge and experience to be a voice and advocate for St. Louis’s most vulnerable and under-served population,” said McDonald. “I am honored to work with this amazing organization.”

Magdalene St. Louis purchased its first home last week and plans to welcome its first five residents in the fall.

“Making a House a Home” is a Success!

Last Thursday night’s Magdalene St. Louis benefit “Making a House a Home” was a powerful, inspirational evening and we are so thankful to all who were a part of it.

Thank you especially to Amos Harris for his generous donation of the space at the MX, to our wonderful speakers — Shana Goodwin of Thistle Farms, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and our own Christine McDonald, and to the fantastic Jeremiah Johnson Band for the awesome music. Also thanks to the folks from Thistle Farms for making the trip from Nashville to sell their products and to Alice and Todd Dames for the delicious food and for Tom Manche and his tremendous (and enormous) crew of volunteers who made the whole thing happen.

We have already raised more than $52,000 from the pledges and donations received at the event. That’s fantastic! Thank you! 

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Making a House a Home

MakingaHouseaHomeThursday, February 20, 2014
from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm

Wonderland at the MX
Mercantile Exchange Building
618 Washington Avenue, Suite 202
St. Louis, MO 63103

Please join us on February 20th for a night of celebration. In 2014 Magdalene St. Louis will officially open its doors, but first we have a house to renovate and furnish! This fun filled, meaningful evening will include inspiring guest speakers, live music by St. Louis blues artists, The Jeremiah Johnson Band, and the unveiling of our new house. We want you to be included!

Magdalene’s board of directors and new executive director will be available for a meet and greet at the beginning of the event. Hors d’ouevres, wine, beer, and other beverages will be available. Doors open at 5, program begins at 6. There is no charge for the event but registration is required. Valet parking is available. Please join us on February 20, 2014.
Click here to RSVP.

Magdalene St. Louis receives $25,000 Grant from Trinity Wall Street

pngMagdalene St. Louis has been named a recipient of a $25,000 “Wildcard Grant” from the Grants Program of Trinity Wall Street.

This is the first year Trinity is offering Wildcard Grants, which are designed to be “resources for innovative leaders.”  According to the grant description, “these grants seek to reward beyond-the-bell-curve work that inspires positive transformation of people and, by extension, societies. The one-time award will be offered to organizations whose leaders have a ‘wow’ idea that lacks only money to help get it off the ground.”

In making the grant award, the Rev. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street said the grant is “to support general start-up costs of the program, such as buying or leasing the residential house.”

“We are delighted to be able to support this program,” Cooper said, “and we look forward to hearing of its progress.

“In the midst of acquiring our first residential home and planning its rehab, this generous grant could not have come at a better time”, said Magdalene St. Louis Executive Director Tricia Roland-Hamilton. “Our circle of support now includes Trinity Wall Street.”

Magdalene St. Louis Board President the Very Rev. Mike Kinman will be at Trinity Wall Street this Sunday evening as a guest panelist on human trafficking following a performance of Angel’s Bone, a musical drama “about two fallen angels whose nostalgia for earthly delights finds them far from heaven—and victims of human trafficking.”

“Trinity is an inspiring example of a church consistently using its resources to support transformative ministries,” Kinman said. “We are honored they have entrusted us with this grant and share our belief that in addition to this being about the women who will be in our first community, this is about changing a culture where women are bought and sold.”

Making a House a Home

MakingaHouseaHomeThursday, February 20, 2014
5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Mercantile Exchange Building: 6th & Locust Streets, Downtown St. Louis

Magdalene St. Louis presents its major fundraiser:
Making a House a Home – Renovating & Furnishing Our First House

In order to purchase, renovate and furnish our first Magdalene- St. Louis home, we are seeking approximately $350,000 in pledges and donations.

This fun filled, meaningful evening includes an hors d’ouevre buffet, wine and beer, musical performance by the Jeremiah Johnson Blues Band, and guest speakers.

The event is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required. Email invitations will be sent the first week in January.

To ensure you are included by email invitation, contact us at info@magdalenestl.org to be added to our mailing list.

We are asking that our guests be as generous as possible, and any gift amount is welcome and appreciated.

We hope you will join us for this festive occasion and look forward to seeing you on February 20, 2014!

 

Magdalene St. Louis names Tricia Roland-Hamilton Founding Executive Director

jpegMagdalene 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.”

Thistle Farms Featured on World News

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Steve and Janice from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer visited Thistle Farms a few weeks ago. They spent the day, starting with meditation in the morning, learned about Thistle Farms and the Thistle StopCafe that day and went with graduates Shana and Shelia to the streets that evening. Last week, World News featured a segment on Thistle Farms!

Watch Thistle Farms on World News with Diane Sawyer here.

 

Board Member Spotlight: Catina O’Leary

image-1Dr. Catina O’Leary believes that a safe and healthy life should be guaranteed to everyone in our community. Her work has made this more attainable to all members of the community, particularly underserved women.

As President and CEO of Health Literacy Missouri, much of O’Leary’s time is spent working toward that goal. Health Literacy Missouri brings together a wide range of health care providers, advocates, and organizations with the goal of helping people make good health decisions. This goal is achieved by focusing on health literacy, or empowerment of individuals to obtain, communicate, process, and understand the basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Much of Dr. O’Leary’s career has been dedicated to making health resources more accessible to the underserved. As an assistant professor at Washington University, Dr. O’Leary has participated in and led various projects, including efforts to reduce HIV in high-risk St. Louis women. She also served as director of HealthStreet, a community health program focused on engaging underserved populations. In addition, Dr. O’Leary has participated in research on behavioral intervention to increase participation in health services, and other projects involving public health.

Dr. O’Leary first became interested in Magdalene after listening to Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, speak about the transformation of lives taking place in Nashville. Shortly after learning about the Magdalene model, Dr. O’Leary was approached by Rev. Mike Kinman and asked to join the effort to bring a similar program to the women of St. Louis.

Her current service on Magdalene St. Louis’s Board of Directors and leadership of The Healing Processes Task Force are just two more ways Dr. O’Leary gives back to the St. Louis Community.

Dr. O’Leary believes that Magdalene will have a tremendous impact in St. Louis on both the individual and community level. Directly, it will transform the lives of women invited to the Magdalene home. The effects of participation in the Magdalene community will ripple through the St. Louis community to impact the lives of children, parents, friends, and neighbors of women served.

Angela Mullins

 

Coming Up

Thistle Farms National Conference

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 6:00pm to
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:00pm
Scarritt Bennett Center
Nashville, TN

Thistle Farms, the successful social enterprise run by Magdalene (Nashville) graduates, is proud to announce their inaugural National Conference.

 The Conference is a result of the growing demand for Thistle Farms seminars that educate about the success of the Magdalene program and the Thistle Farms model.

Conference attendees will participate in achieving the following Conference objectives:

  • To gain knowledge about and share in the vision of the Magdalene model
  • To learn Magdalene model duplication and best practice tools for creating a sustainable social enterprise
  • To become a ground floor member of the Shared Trade Alliance movement, which brings women permanently out of poverty through sustainable employment and recovery from violence
  • To participate in meditation and renewal

Click Here for details and information about the Thistle Farms National Conference.

Demand Change Heartland Conference

VeronicasVoice

A Project of Veronica’s Voice
Saturday, October 26, 2013
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Pierson Auditorium
Kansas City, MO

Veronica’s Voice seeks to end commercial sexual exploitation in the United States through awareness and education, a 24/7 Crisis Line, outreach activities and court services.

The 2nd annual Demand Change Heartland Conference attendees will participate in the vision of a paradigm change of understanding prostitution as a form of violence against and exploitation of women. With this paradigm change, it is expected that responsibility shifts to those who purchase human beings. This is called the Demand Change Heartland Movement.

 Conference guest speakers are Survivor-Leaders in this movement.

 All profits from the conference will be invested back into Veronica’s Voice to support victim services.

Click Here for details and information about the Demand Change Heartland Conference- Veronica’s Voice

Funding

To date we have raised 28% of the funds we need to be up and running. We still $255,000 to secure the house, make renovations, furnish it, hire an executive director, and fund the cost of operations through mid-2014.

Our next fundraiser is planned for February 2014. We are looking for individuals who would like to volunteer for event related subcommittees for the following areas:venue selection, catering/bar, video/sound, speakers, reservations, decorations, gift bags, greeters, security, pledges, invitations/forms/printing, and media coordination. Please contact Angela at magdaleneSTLVC@gmail.com to help with these.

 

Board Member Spotlight: Mike Kinman

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Mike Kinman believes that God has guided the necessary people to Magdalene St. Louis every step of the way.

For the current Magdalene St. Louis board president and dean of Christ Church Cathedral, it began in 1998. Kinman was helping put together a conference for young clergy, and part of his job was receiving workshop proposals. One of the proposals was from Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene Nashville. “I thought it sounded extraordinary,” says Kinman. He attended the workshop, met Stevens and was “blown away” by her.

Kinman’s relationship with Stevens strengthened a couple of years later when he was the Episcopal campus missioner at Washington University. He took students for a trip to experience what Magdalene was doing in Nashville and help with things like painting the residence; however, Kinman found, “The value of the trip was not for the work we did but the time the students spent with the women in the program, Becca, and her husband, Marcus. The relationship was enlightening and converting. It was the closest thing to the kingdom of God that I’ve ever seen.”

Most moving to Kinman was the diversity and honesty of the women. “They fully embraced who they were and where they had been,” he says. “They had no issue about talking about it, no shame. Magdalene was dedicated to healing and dedicated to love.”

Kinman began to wonder what a program like this would look like in St. Louis, but the timing wasn’t right. Then, when he got the job as dean of the Cathedral and was planning his celebration of new ministry, his thoughts turned again to Magdalene and Stevens. “I wanted to focus on what the role of the Cathedral could be in the city,” he says. The first thing that entered his mind was that this was time to see if Magdalene could work here.

Kinman invited Stevens to come and speak in St. Louis, first with civic and non-profit leaders, then with potential donors, and finally with anyone interested. Cards passed out to attendees showed that 80 to 90 percent were interested in being a part of what would become Magdalene St. Louis. “It hit me—oh my God! We’re actually going to have to do this,” says Kinman. “It never occurred to me what would happen next.”

It became clear to Kinman that he couldn’t do this all himself, nor could the Episcopal Church or the Cathedral. People began to say yes to the idea and went to Nashville for education days. More and more people got excited, which came with problems. “The excite-ment and energy was so intense, it spun out of control,” says Kinman. He realized that Stevens was brilliant and catalytic, but Magadalene St. Louis didn’t have a counterpart to her. Instead, they decided to build a foundation, which Kinman says took time. Still, it seems that each time they needed someone with specific skills to help build that foundation, someone’s stepped in.

“We’ve gone through a process,” Kinman says. “We had to have a set of core values that we could all agree on, and it took several months just to decide on that.”

The board continues to look at whether they are living those values. “We are moving slowly, but we want to do it the right way,” says Kinman. “Our goal isn’t to have Magdalene programs all over the country. Our goal is to have Magdalene be unnecessary.”

Susan Goen