There’s a myth that has circulated for far too long. We all think we are too ordinary to make a difference and make a change. This author is an advocate, an Abolitionist and an author but what was her great win this week????
She learned a new recipe.
Let that sink in. She is just like you and I but she’s a voice. She is asking a change for something that matters. Meet Hallie Schaefer.
What is your career?
– Right now, I’m a work-from-home mother of three. I do freelance writing when I get the chance and hope that writing and storytelling will be a career later on. Before this, I was a social worker for several years working with at risk youth.
What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now? What are you passionate about?
– I’m passionate about stories. I think stories are what connects us to each other and makes us feel like we can relate to one another. My goal is to share stories of hope and that they encourage those that I meet along the way.
Can you explain what human trafficking in America means and looks like?
– It’s not the Hollywoodized version that many are used to seeing. It’s not the street fights, Liam Neeson style version. It’s quiet. It’s hidden. It could be someone falling in “love” with the wrong person, a person who forces them to do sexual things for money. It’s minors being abused and used as sex objects. It’s being emotionally, mentally, or physically abused by someone that forces you to do things you don’t want to do.
Tell us about your book.
– “Rise”, while themed around human trafficking, focuses on hope. In the story, the girls face the realities of human trafficking, dealing with the guilt, pain, and shame. They find that God still loves them, no matter how they see themselves. This unconditional love helps them break free of the invisible bonds their traffickers held on them.
What exactly made you passionate about being an advocate and bringing awareness to human trafficking in America?
– I learned about human trafficking in 2008, during my freshman year at college. I had never heard about it before, but after the summer reading requirement of Not For Sale by David Batstone, my passion for it just grew. I wanted others to know about it too. With more awareness, people are empowered to protect themselves from it and know the signs well enough to be able to save someone else from it.
What wins did you have this week?
– I learned a new recipe! Sweet potato flatbread. I’m pretty sure that I’m the world’s worst cook, so this was a huge win. Lol
Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path?
– I’ve always loved to write. But when I was figuring out my major, writing wasn’t considered an option because it didn’t seem like a worthwhile thing to study, but more of a hobby. I chose psychology with the goal of one day getting my doctorate. After working in the field for a few years, I realized it was not my passion at all. I still longed to write. And now that is what I am doing, and I’m loving it!
What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?
– Adversity shows us just how much we are capable of. We can choose to let it crush us, or we can grow from those experiences.
When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?
– All of the time. Lol I have social anxiety, and when I’m presented suddenly with an unexpected situation that involves strangers, I tend to shut down. I had an interview with a human trafficking organization last week and when I was interviewing the CEO, everything was fine. But once she turned the interview around on me and started asking questions to get to know me and to learn about my book, I physically started shaking! I wasn’t scared, but my body just took over and I had to really fight against my natural flight response.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
– It’s a bible verse. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” I love that we are not defined by our pasts, but through Christ, we can be who we are supposed to be.
If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why?
– Time. I would slow it down.
What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?
– You already are that person. If you wait until you “have it all together” before you start your journey to accomplish that dream, you’ll never do it. Start now.
When do you feel like your true self?
– When I’m with my family. They’ve seen me on my best and worst days and still accept me for everything I am and for what I am not.
If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?
– I would be doing public speaking engagements, spreading awareness of human trafficking. And I wouldn’t be shaking while I do it.
What is keeping people from living their best life?
– Fear and self-doubt.
Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?
– There are way too many to name. For this entire year, all proceeds of my book “Rise” will be going to human trafficking organizations dedicated to helping victims. Each month, I will choose a new one, highlighting them on my website.
How can people know more about that nonprofit?
– I will be posting information about each organization each month so that others can learn about them.
How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?
– By keeping true to themselves and prioritizing.
How do we make our values a reality?
– By making a plan and a commitment to do so.
What are a few of your new year goals?
– Figure out a better work/life balance and to do things I’m afraid to do.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???
Girl, Taken – An interview with Author Elena Nikitina
posted on: February 6, 2018
To me, age is a state of mind. Depending on the day, I can feel myself anywhere between 18 and 90.
What are you passionate about?
I’m an artist at heart. I enjoy writing, painting and photography. My other passions are Latin dance and shooting weapons at the range. I love to work out and create things as well. I love to design new stuff from scratch or transform ugly things into beautiful ones. I love fashion and my dream is to create a fashion clothing line one day. I’m also passionate about real estate – I’m a licensed agent in Ohio.
What human trafficking looks like and how does it affect American youth?
Human trafficking is illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Behind those words there are many broken human lives. Each story is an incredible tragedy of a person who is torn away from his normal life and deprived of his freedom and human rights.
Young people are particularly vulnerable, as criminals can find victims and manipulate them through internet, social media and private chats. One report cited “13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking”.
What motivated you to write a book and more importantly what inspired you to get involved with bringing awareness to human trafficking?
The book Girl, Taken – is a true story about kidnapping and survival. The plot of my book took place in real life and I just described it in my own words.
I saw and experienced things no one should have to go through. I’m sure that right now, right at this particular moment, there is someone who is suffering from being a victim of kidnapping or trafficking or facing a similar ordeal in life. I wanted to deliver a message to those who seek hope or to those who are about to give up. Hope and faith should never leave you, even in the moment of total and all-consuming despair.
Every human trafficking story looks similar to mine. The incredible tragedy that involves not only one person – it’s an adversity for all family members. Unfortunately, most people consider human trafficking as a problem of the past or believe that it is limited to being outside the United States only. Only by bringing awareness and education about this problem taking place everywhere there will be a chance to fight this crime.
Tell us a few statistics concerning human trafficking in your city and the surrounding areas.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Ohio. Ohio ranks number five in the nation for the most human trafficking cases. Last year, 375 Ohio trafficking cases were reported based on calls to the national hotline–according to Polaris, a nonprofit organization that tracks human trafficking cases in America and across the world.
If any readers might think a loved one is in harm’s way what would be a few actions you would suggest so they can get the help they need?
The professional help from the therapist and a good family environment are the best sources, in my opinion.
What steps did you take to begin bringing awareness and getting involved?
I’m at the very beginning of my journey at the moment. I think social media is the best way to bring the awareness.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Through the horrifying months of my captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence, and trapped in a land where countless people were dying every day, I fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane and not lose the one thing that kept me going – my hope.
We never know what we are capable of until we are placed in a situation when you have to make a choice – stay strong or break down. Choose to remain a victim or choose to become a survivor.
At some point, I decided for myself – I wanted to be a survivor and not a victim. I like to believe we can all make this choice, no matter the hardships we face in life.
What advice would you give to parents of youth?
Pay attention and talk to your children. Be proud of what they are accomplishing. Love them.
So many people have dreams and want to start nonprofits or businesses because they have a burning desire to change the world. They want to be men or women of influence with a powerful message. Then doubt sets in or failure happens.
-What are your thoughts about this?
Robert Kiyosaki – famous American businessman and author – once said: “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success”.
Pursuing things that truly matter gives people a sense of purpose and this, in turn, will help people persevere in their pursuits.
-What would your message to these people include?
Take a risk to make a difference. If you win, you will be happy. If you lose, you learn.
What is your favorite quote or mantra?
This too shall pass.
My favorite of all times, meaning that nothing is permanent.
When everything is good, remember that it won’t last forever. So, enjoy and cherish it while you can. When things are bad, remember that it won’t last forever. Have faith, bad times eventually will pass.
What motivates you?
Achieving the desired results motivates me.
When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?
A few days ago, I was honored to give a public speech about my book Girl, Taken. That was something I have never done before and had zero experience with. I was way out of my comfort zone.
What are your most important gifts you have to offer your city and state?
Every voice has an influence. Many voices have the power to change the world or to stop a crime. To be involved in the organization or a group with like-minded people – is a gift that every citizen should offer to their community to improve the quality of life.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what would be the easiest way to reach you?
The best way to reach me is through one of my social media accounts:
Is there anything else you want me to know that will help me write this article?
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote a book Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. In 1994, just after my 21st birthday, I was drugged and abducted from my hometown in southern Russia by a group of gangsters. The idea was to hold me for ransom, but an unfortunate thing happened. Soon after my kidnapping, the first Russian-Chechen War broke out…
I would love to share my story with the readers of your blog.
Readers love Girl, Taken.
Here’s a small sample of what they are saying:
“This book will astonish and inspire you. It is the harrowing tale of a young woman who saved her own life through nothing more than courage, determination, and inner strength.”
“One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years…”
“Girl, Taken kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. She is lucky to be alive. Very intense, hard to put it down. I would definitely suggest you enjoy the book for yourself and feel what it’s like to be kidnapped…”
Girl, Taken – A True Story of Abduction, Captivity and Survival. You can check it out on Amazon
Helping Families Succeed-my interview with Carrie Dean of Calcasieu Parish Police Jury/ Office of Juvenile Justice Services
posted on: January 23, 2018
I am doing a happy dance about sharing this incredible lady’s interview with my readers today. Carrie Dean is an incredible woman, visionary, mentor and friend. I truly am glad God allowed our paths to cross several months back when I first published my novel. Enjoy learning more about what she does.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month and this is one of the people I wanted to introduce my readers to.
Meet Carrie Dean.
What is your career?I am employed by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury/Office of Juvenile Justice Services. I have been a counselor, probation officer, supervisor and grant manager. My career is helping children, youth and families for the last twenty-eight years.
What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now? To develop an effective task force to educate the public and to assist victims of sex trafficking with services to reduce the effects of their trauma.
What are you passionate about? Helping struggling families and helping youth realize they can succeed despite family history. I am especially passionate toward making a difference in youth’s lives.
Can you explain what human trafficking in America means and looks like? It means modern day slavery. It is the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. Human trafficking with minors is child abuse as they cannot consent to sexual activity.
What do you do that helps a girl that has runway? Listen and believe, find a safe place, set up counseling with a trained therapist in trauma.
What exactly made you passionate about being an advocate and bringing awareness to human trafficking in America? I have been interested in human trafficking for several years, but seeing firsthand the young girls in our area being victims opened my eyes. It is here, it is NOW.
What wins did you have in the past few weeks? I guess during the holidays and being on vacation gave me some time for reflection. It was time to regroup ideas, efforts and goals for 2018.
Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path? I have always been interested in psychology and I’ve always communicated well with children and youth. I didn’t know where these interest would lead me, but after college and a few different jobs, I ended up at the juvenile office and after 28 years, I still love what I do.
What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them? I had quite a bit of difficult life experiences in my youth that could have resulted in different outcomes. It’s a choice you have to make and good choices are a lot easier when you have a good support system. Good support and mentorship can come from family, friends, churches and community, and this is so important, especially to our youth.
When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone? I think this happens every day if you act on your beliefs and don’t change for others.
What is your favorite quote or mantra? This is a hard one. I love quotes. I have two taped to my desk.
1. You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.
2. You should never treat people in different ways because of their outward appearance.
If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why? There are too many ramifications to change one thing in your life. If you change one factor, it changes more than that one thing. So, no I wouldn’t change anything due to consequential changes of other factors. It is tempting, but not worth the risk.
What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?Don’t “become” anyone. Be yourself and your dream/wish or goal will appear and you can work toward it.
When do you feel like your true self? Helping families succeed.
If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing? Probably the same thing, only being more assertive on what I believe in and want.
What is keeping people from living their best life? Fear of failure or ridicule.
Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? The ones that monies go to the cause and not in someone’s personal pocket.
How can people know more about that nonprofit? AWARENESS
How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values? Stay true to yourself and never compromise values. It is not worth it. Research your goals and put in the hard work.
How do we make our values a reality? Never stop!!
What are a few of your new year goals? To find additional funding for Human Trafficking services and obtain additional training in this area.
If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you? firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-802-1813.
📝Interview with Khaliah Williams on 🛍️No Spend 🛒January, mentorship, 🎊New Year goals 2018🎊
posted on: December 24, 2017
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me. Can you tell the readers a little more about yourself?
Hi Everyone! I’m Khaliah Williams. I was born & raised in Pensacola, FL. I am a Full-time Mom, Wife, Worker, Student, Couponer and Contest Enterer! (I’ve entered more than 300 contests this year and so far, I have won 36.) I am married to the love of my life and we have 2 small children. I enjoy journaling, writing, reading and helping my community in any way that I can.
Explain No-Spend November to the audience.
No-Spend November is a no spend challenge that anyone may take part in. It is where you make a commitment to not spend any extra money outside of your monthly written budget. This would include but not be limited to, not eating out, no coffee stops, no Target trips … (I love Target, though!). But you should commit to not spend anything outside of your normal month to month bills/budget that you have created previously.
Why did you decide to participate in the event?
My husband and I decided to take on this challenge because we recently started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Course & Baby Steps for the 2nd time. We originally started in Summer 2015, but quickly lost motivation and our purpose at that particular time. We are more than READY, and more than willing to do everything possible to live like no one now, so we can live like no one later, as Dave Ramsey says.
How can someone get involved with that event if they wanted to?
If you would like to join the No Spend Challenges, and be able to be involved in other frugal living & budgeting lifestyles you can join several Facebook groups that will help you reach this goal. A list of these groups will be provided at the end. And if we can do it, I do believe that anyone can!
Are there any more events like that one coming up soon?
Yes! No Spend January will be starting Jan. 1. You can take part of the challenge by joining the noted Facebook “No Spend” groups at the end of this interview.
Do you see a positive change in the way this has helped your family?
Yes! It has forced us to become more accountable for our spending habits. It has helped us become more caution of where all of our hard earn money is spent. It has also made us happier to know that there are support groups and other families just like us who all have the same financial goals in mind! You are never alone in this.
How has this event changed your family’s spending habits?
We have cut back on all of our “extras”, for example .. I’ve cut my Sirius Radio Subscription, two educational apps/websites for our oldest, and my Chegg’s Study subscription that I used for school. It has been 1 year since we cut our cable bundle as well! Our bundled bill decreased from $202 down to $104 and just recently to $94/month for just internet. This is currently the best promotion that our provider has to offer with their fastest internet speed. So in my book, it’s a win win for both of us.
What are your goals spiritually, financially and even emotionally for 2018?
Spiritually – I’d like to attend church more often. We have committed to attending church at least three times a month, if not four. We have vowed to pray more, and worry less in 2018!
Financially – Recently my husband & I sat down and wrote out our financial goals for 2018 and a few of them are; Maintain a zero based budget each and every month. This means that every single dollar that we have has a “name” and place to go. This will help hold us more accountable especially while doing the No Spend Challenges. We will continue to vow to always pay ourselves first, meaning our savings and 4-Walls first then pleasure later. We have made goals to not only double our Baby Emergency Fund per Dave Ramsey, but to become consumer debt free! All credit cards, all student loans and even our leased phones will be PAID IN FULL by 12/31/18.
Emotionally – I vowed to pray at least twice a day, everyday to help me remain strong and focus within myself and my faith. I have also decided that I will take 5-10 mins each and everyday to read my devotional and continue my journaling as planned, along with this I’d like to implement some type of mediation time to rejuvenate my mind, body and soul and remain focused on what my purpose in life is.
You are in college? What do you go to school for?
Yes, I am. I am in college for my AS in Business Administration. I am currently on track to graduate on May 7th, 2018. I then plan to take 1 class during Summer 2018, and pick up in the Fall with another 3-4 classes in pursue of my Bachelor’s in Human Resources/Business Management.
You told me a really great story about your extra income.
Can you tell me a little about your extra job babysitting?
About 2 months ago, I was asked by a old high school friend if I would be able to watch her kids for her while she worked. I told her sure, I didn’t mind. Not expecting to be compensated at all for this, my kids and her kids had a play date. I provided pizza, drinks, snacks and they all hung out together, played and watched movies. Upon the arrival of my friend, she handed me an envelope and said “Thank You”. Little did I know, there was cash in the envelope as a sincere “Thank You”. She knew that if I would have seen it beforehand, I would have given it back to her as I wouldn’t have charged her at all. This happened a few more times, and each time she refused to allow me to say “No”. The funding provided covered the cost of the food and other items that I purchased for the kids while on their play date.
I was compelled to talk about your part time extra job because of what I have written concerning human trafficking. Do you think there is any correlation between the two?
After our first play date I then became aware that my friend was an exotic dancer at a Gentlemen’s Club in our area. I never judge anyone, and I’d never judge her so it didn’t bother me at all, nor was I shocked or even surprised. At that point, I actually felt really good about watching her children as everyone else she knew, judged her, wouldn’t help her and so she was forced to allow borderline strangers watch her kids while she worked. I knew that her kids enjoyed coming over, and that my kids enjoyed them and that they all were in a very safe environment.
I do think there is a correlation between human trafficking, and exotic dancers etc. And that correlation may include things like, the fact that some younger girls may find themselves just dancing at a local club but in reality they are more at risk to be picked up by someone whose into human trafficking. By being in those types of places, especially during late nights and other peak times is one thing that may put them more at that level of danger. I believe that our young women who are a part of human trafficking were first introduced to it either in a club setting, or in a similar environment. This is why it is so very important to educate our young girls and women on the signs and reg flags to look for in order to avoid these things and to help save more lives.
You mentioned your home church was Apostolic. Can you talk about your days in church. How does church positively influence your life and walk with God?
Yes, our home church is Holiness/Apostolic Faith. Both my husband and I grew up in church. I remember sleeping on the back pews at Wednesday night services, helping my grandmother cook, dye eggs and make other various things for church functions as well. Over the years, we haven’t been attending church as much as we should have or as much as we would have liked, but it positively influences my life and my current walk with God because I know that he is real, he hears all, and he sees all. He sees the good, bad, ugly and uglier. But regardless of any of that, he still shows his continuous love and support for us as his children. When I keep reminding myself of that, my heart smiles!
You mentioned your grandmother. Was she a mentor of yours? How did she affect your walk with the Lord and what church means to you?
Whew. I get goosebumps as I speak about her as she went home to be with the Lord on 10/13/2013. Yes, she was my #1 Mentor right next to my Mom. We loved her and still love and miss her VERY much. She was always very positive, well spoken, loving, god-fearing and church driven. She constantly talked to me about doing the right thing, giving back, praying, and seeking Jesus. I must admit that I attended church more when she was alive than I do right now. She encouraged me to go, and be involved. This is another reason why I believe that this is the perfect time for me to get back into church and continue my walk with the Lord.
Church means various things to me, It means that you believe in something, you have a ‘place’ you can go and worship what you believe in, I also refer to it as a “gathering” and “fellowship” with brothers & sisters of Jesus Christ. I also like to think of it as, a learning and teaching environment. You are learning more about Jesus, his word, his works and his purpose.
Do you have any advice for someone who doesn’t feel like church is as important in their life?
One of the things that I say a lot is, “Everything is not meant for everyone.” You will know when it is right for you as you may change the way you feel, and your outlook on things. So, I’d suggest firstly to surround yourself with positive, like minded people. Find a community based event or group that you would like to be involved in, neighborhood watch, workout groups, mom/parenting groups etc. Once you find it, and begin to build relationships … you may be asked or given the opportunity to attend a religion based event, such as Easter Services, NYE Services etc and at which point, if you feel comfortable enough … give it a shot. Prior to this, you can also ask your friends or neighbors that you have gotten involved in about churches, support groups etc. Make the decision for yourself, but don’t knock it until you have tried it. 🙂
You have been on the news. Can you talk about that?
Yes, I’ve been on the news several times. A few times in my younger days and more recently in January of 2016. The interviews/stories were centered around the School Choice Program/Florida’s A+ Plan that Former Governor Jeb Bush signed in 1999. I was the first student in North West Florida to be given a full scholarship to attend any local Private School chosen by my Mother. This was made available to me because all of the public schools in my district were failing schools. It was a great experience, it gave me opportunities that I have not have been given before, I made a ton of new friends and associates all while receiving a great education and then being accepted in the Law Academy in 2007 in High School. I believe that opportunity has helped, mold and shape the person that I am today.
Where can we find out more about your business(es)? Websites? Blogs? Social media platforms? How can readers stay in contact with you?
I am Founder/Admin of 5 Facebook Groups but the following are the groups closely related to Frugal Living, Budgeting, Meal Prepping and all of the support you need to take on the various challenges.
– Gulf Coast’s Frugal Family Life. (My own personal group)
I will be teaching 2nd grade this year. Pinterest has given me so many ideas but I am truly in love with Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘Concentric Circles’…. I really want the kids to make art a major part of their day. We will be studying and using the A beka program so think there will be time to fit art in.