Anti-Human Trafficking Community Outreach & Education
Human Trafficking happens everywhere even in the Napa Valley. In 2019, the Napa Country Special Investigations Bureau is reported to have filed a new human trafficking violation every 18 days. Many of these investigations involved victims under the age of 18 targeted online and exploited by sex traffickers looking to transact with tourists and locals alike. Defined by the U.S. Department of State to be a form of “modern slavery,” human sex trafficking of children and adults through force, fraud or coercion effects women and girls of all ages. A barrier to equity, eradicating this scourge is a cause near and dear to the hearts of Soroptimists across the world.
Beginning in 2017, St. Helena Soroptimists and also Napa and Calistoga, have teamed up with law enforcement, public official, local activists and industry to spread the word about human trafficking and the conditions that contribute to its proliferation. Working in partnership with the Napa Country Special Investigations Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security and Napa Country District Attorney’s office, Soroptimists have helped organize public awareness events and also industry specific seminars focused on combating sex trafficking here in the valley. Over the years, these events have attracted all manner of attendees, including public officials, hospitality workers, therapists, students, nurses, doctors, police officers, fire fighters and other concerned citizens.
With the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic and related government restrictions, these efforts were put on temporary pause. With the re-opening of our state and region, the club is looking forward to resuming this important work in the second half of 2021 and beyond.
Monarch Justice Center
When the Monarch Justice Center opened its doors in 2019, Soroptimist in St. Helena was there to help. A collaboration of public and private professionals and partner agencies, the center was created for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder and child abuse.
Located on First Street in downtown Napa, the facility provides a safe, centralized location where victims of crime can receive a range of free services from multidisciplinary partners representing law enforcement, victim advocates, forensic interviewers, government and nonprofit service providers and the DA.
Prior to opening, members of Soroptimist of St. Helena outfitted the “Monarch” reception room where adult victims are interviewed. The club used monies raised from its annual crab feed to furnish the room (pictured here) and also the “comfort bags” distributed to victims upon arrival. Contained in the drawstring backpacks are a change of clothing, underclothes, socks (donated by Bombas), sundries and hairbrushes.
In the Spring of 2022, Soroptimist of St. Helena gifted $22,000 in funding to the Monarch Justice Center for the purchase of a client-intake database system. Designed to support organizations like Monarch with complex, multi-agency data collection needs, the Apricot 360 Database allows for the seamless—and confidential collection of critical client intake information.
Customized to the center’s needs, the database allows the center to easily track and follow up with client needs and outcomes; share pertinent information with partners, provide documentation of work completed to donors and grant funders, improve client outcomes through data maintenance and evaluation, make programmatic decisions utilizing client database information, and strengthen communications between partners.
This database, in keeping with the larger charter of the Monarch Justice Center, further safeguards the dignity, confidentiality and safety of the victims of abuse from our community who seek its help. Learn more about the Napa Monarch Justice Center.
Dream It Be It Career Support Program
An organization-wide initiative, Dream It Be It targets girls who face steep challenges like poverty and unstable home lives. It provides girls with tools to make educated choices and plans for their futures, and gives them hope and confidence. By reaching girls while they are still young, we can not only help them stay healthy and safe in the short term, but we can also reduce the number of women in crisis in the future. To date, Dream It, Be It has helped put more than 35,000 across the country on a positive path. In 2019, Soroptimist in St. Helena launched its version of the Dream It Be It program. Using a curriculum built around small group mentoring sessions and conference learning, the program offers local girls, grades 9-12, the information and resources they need for a successful future.
“As a female and minority student with a passion for math and science, I’ve always been curious about the engineering field and yearn to discover more about the different aspects and opportunities offered through workshops and keynote speakers at SHHS.”
Supplemental Funding – 2nd, 5th, and 8th Grade School Camp
For more than two decades, Soroptimist International of St. Helena has helped send deserving students within the St. Helena Unified School District to school-sponsored overnight camps throughout Northern California. What began as a single scholarship for one 5th grade student now includes annual grant funding for a handful students attending not only 5th grade camp but also 2nd and 8th grade camps.
“I benefited from all three camps. I liked how each one took everything we learned in the classroom throughout the year and put it into a real-life perspective that made the curriculum more tangible.”
Summer Sports Camp Enrichment
Since 2008, Soroptimist International of St. Helena has sponsored students from 4th-12th grades in the St. Helena Unified School District who have applied for and been selected to attend athletic summer camps. These include soccer and basketball camps with the St. Helena Recreation Department, as well as other sports camps around the San Francisco Bay Area. Donating as much as $3000 annually, Soroptimist International of St. Helena sponsors approximately 12 students each year, giving them an enriching athletic opportunity they would not otherwise be able to afford.
Started in conjunction with the St. Helena Rotary Club in 2001, Soroptimist International of St. Helena has since adopted this project and oversees the annual distribution of approximately 150 dictionaries to each 3rd grader in the St. Helena area, including St. Helena Elementary, Pope Valley Elementary, St. Helena Montessori, and Howell Mountain Elementary.
“I like this dictionary because it’s one way not to use a computer or phone. I use it almost daily when doing my homework.”