You Made It To Week Two, FIRESTARTER!

-Where freedom is the new black-

Even if you are surprised, we aren't surprised you made it to week two! We knew you were a firestarter from the beginning!  

It isn't unsual for participants to want to quit wearing the same black item after the first week. But hopefully, every day as you put on your black, you are pausing a minute to remember those who are enslaved to bring them freedom. 

Our theme this week is "maximize." So far, your head has been in the details: information, decisions, logistics, putting things together, like images to share or fundraising pages. If you are still working out the details, that is okay too! However, for those ready for more, it is time for you to lift your head up from the details and begin maximizing what you started last week.

This week:  

  • Reread your "why" from last week to rekindle your vision 
  • Spend some time looking through this page, reading the stories and doing the exercises
  • Challenge yourself by making a plan for how you can "maximize" the LBD.Project

We love setting brightly burning fires with you in 2018,

 - The LBD.Project Team 

(You are following us on Facebook and on Instagram to stay better connected this month, right?)

You're on week two of this timeline:







This week is dedicated to starting, including helping you discover your "why," setting up fundraising pages, and guiding you on how to create awareness.


Week two of the LBD.Project focuses on using our circles of influence and reach to help bring freedom to modern slaves. 


This week takes a closer look at ourselves and how we can be part of bringing freedom to modern slaves by reducing demand and looking at our lifestyles.


During our last week of the project we focus on wrapping up our efforts, concluding fundraising well, and working through how we can continue being advocates for freedom moving on.


After March and through April we will celebrate this year's LBD.Project with our final fundraising count, wins, and stories from this year's challenge. We are better together! 


Did you know there is already a lot you can do about human trafficking with what you already have? This week, our goal is to help you maximize your influence by looking at these areas:

1.) Stories For the Week

2.) Living Your Own LBD.Project Story

3.) Your Circle of Influence

4.) Maximizing Your Influence

1.) Stories For the Week

(From the perspective of and through conversations with our founder, Elisa) 

Hope For Justice  

I just received news that there was a 72-year-old woman near where I live who had been trapped in domestic servitude since 1981 . Through the work of Hope for Justice investigators, the FBI was just able to rescue her and is currently working to prosecute her traffickers. They are excited to see her free and to see justice served! 

Can you imagine being a household slave in the the years you hope to be retired, a doting grandparent, traveling or golfing/flyfishing? Join our fundraising team for Hope For Justice here

Sisters of the Streets

Jaimee, founder of Sister of the Streets, has a story that most of us participating in the LBD.Project have a hard time wrapping our minds around (which you can read here). I've only known her for a little over a year, but just seeing her grow into her new identity has been amazing to watch. 

Earlier this week I spoke with a man petitioning for a new law that would give more substantial consequences to perpetrators of trafficking. He told me about how last week, a sex trafficking survivor began weeping with him as she signed his petition, thanking him. It really affected him. It went from something "good" he was doing, trying to seek justice, to it becoming very real.

That is how I feel with Jaimee. She is very open and vulnerable in our conversations, and as such, I have the rare chance to glimpse into her perspective. She is someone who went from desperate, to broken, to abused, to semi-free, to fully free, and now chooses that daily, as she parents, advocates, and helps others who are sex trafficked and/or in the sex industry find freedom. She is strong, brave, and growing and learning--but she is also brave and humble enough to invite me into that (which in turn humbles me). 

Why is this powerful? She helps me see that there is a need for, well, me. That there is a need for you--the participants in the LBD.Project. When I don't hear stories like Jaimee's, I forget that "standing" against modern slavery is actually a way for me to love someone. Whether we are the petitioner, or helping support Jaimee's vision, or otherwise using our circle of influence to live justly, this is a tangible way to love real people.

We might not feel like it is an act of love. But trust me, those who are oppressed or who have become free from that oppression--they feel it and see it as love. So as you do the LBD.Project this year, remember you aren't just learning how to advocate. You are learning how to love the Jaimees of the world. 

Support Sisters of the Streets here

The Well Path

Although I knew that Marjorie, a survivor of trafficking herself (you can read how she came to freedom here), had been getting her degree to work professionally with trafficking survivors, I wanted to understand why she felt like she needed to start something new - the Well Path. She told me a story that broke my heart.  

Last summer, with a lack of space available, a recently rescued survivor was put up in a hotel while they waited for a bed in a recovery home to open up for her. However, by chance, her trafficker also happened to visit that same hotel (as hotels are often where they pimp girls out from), and she ended up leaving with him. 

So much work can go into rescuing those ensnared in sex trafficking and even before the process of recovery really begins, victims are pulled back into the life because of a lack of support and resources. With so many people being trafficked in the San Diego region (more or less, approximately 10,000) and with only about 30 spaces for recovery, there is an extreme need for more safe places and support for those coming out of sex trafficking. 

Marjorie told me that this story was the catalyst for starting the Well Path here in Southern California, an organization specializing in providing survivors with the support they need to keep them from going back into "the life." 

Like most firestarters, what started out as something she already hated, became Marjorie's holy discontent, or a "this shouldn't be so and I can't not do something about this specific problem anymore." As a person of faith, she spent a lot of time in prayer, and with the support of others, began moving forward with the paper work to set up this new non-profit uniquely focused based in Escondido.

You can join the team to support Marjorie and the Well Path here

From Northern India

"I can’t even tell you how stoked the kids are about the LBD.Project. It’s like the coolest thing they have ever done. For the first time in their life they feel important, they feel like they are doing something that they actually care about and are passionate about. They have so much fun telling people, and asking/forcing people to give them money! LOL! It’s funny, some of them are entrepreneurs naturally. We got a really big donation today . . . It’s having much more of an impact than you think." - Liaison to LBD.Project from a group home for at-risk kids

To empower kids like these, fundraise for TellAsia, which equips homes for kids and does prevention training. 

Stay tuned for next week to hear more stories from our featured and partner organizations and participants! 

3.) Living Your Own LBD.Project Story

Is it possible that you can look back on this March and be able to say you lived a story through the LBD.Project? An essential part to any story is for a character to overcome something.

What are you going to overcome this month? 

During the LBD.Project, we want to help you become a firestarter, an advocate who feels like they can actually do something about human trafficking. This is why we teach you how to create awareness, fundraise, and connect with organizations who are on the frontlines.

But we can only do so much for you. At some point (like now) you have to realize the ball is in your court. You have a story to live, bringing freedom to modern slaves. What is something you have to overcome to live that story? Is it a fear? Is it a bias? Is it a skill you have to develop?

  • Take five minutes and write out what feelings, facts, and beliefs you have that hinder you from using what is in your circle of influence to bring freedom to modern slaves.
  • What next step would you have to take to overcome this hindrance?

Tell us in the comments below what your next step is to overcome what is hindering you from bringing freedom to modern slaves:

You will maximize the LBD.Project if you choose to overcome whatever might hold you back from doing something about modern slavery.

3.) What Is In Your Circle of Influence?

If you've been reading the 31 Human Trafficking Facts, you know how large and overwhelming the issue of modern slavery is. One of the best parts of the LBD.Project is that it helps normal, everyday people like us do something about something as intimidating as human trafficking.

We might not be able to eradicate human trafficking, but we can maximize our efforts by simply looking at what is in our hands. In the renowned book, Seven Habits of Hightly Effective People, author Stephen Covey guides people in doing a simple exercise to help them respond to the situations around them proactively rather than reactively. We approach modern slavery the same way--either reactive, eyes focused on the problem, or proactive, eyes focused on what we can do about it. 

Using this exercise when it comes to the issue of human trafficking helps us be intentional firestarters. Follow the steps below to look at what you have in your hands that you can bring freedom to modern slaves with.

The LBD.Project was started by our founder looking at what was in her hands: a black dress.

Exercise: What's in your circle?

  • Take a scrap piece of paper and draw a large circle.
  • On the outside of the circle, on the edges, write "human trafficking." This is outside area is called the Circle of Concern, and essentially represents the problem. 
  • Feel free to put more things in this area around your large circle that bother you about modern slavery, but don't spend too long on it. When we focus on the problem we become overwhelmed and it makes the Circle of Concern feel more prominent.
  • Inside the large circle write "Circle of Influence." This is what we want to focus on! These are areas you have some control or influence over.
  •  Within the large circle, make a list of for people who you are connected with. These might include your family, friends, co-workers, networking relationships, faith community, God, teammates, playdate group, classmates, etc... 
  • Also with the larger circle, make a list of the resources you have. This can include money you can budget to give, business you own, house you have, time you can dedicate, skills you have, etc...
  • Now look your Circle of Influence and consider (or if you are a person of faith, pray) about what you can do with it to help bring freedom to modern slaves.
  • Is there a way you can leverage any relationships or resources you have to create awareness for human trafficking? To fundraise? To advocate? To support our organizations? 
  • Where have you already been proactive with your Circle of Influence and it worked well? Can you do something like that again with what you have to help bring freedom to modern slaves?
  • Have you seen other people do something about human trafficking who have similar relationships and resources? Can you replicate that? (Note: You already are, simply by participating in the LBD.Project!)
  • Draw arrows from the outside of your Circle of Influence through your Circle of Concern to the edge of the paper. These arrows remind us that as we leverage what we already have, our Circle of Influence grows and affects change, reducing (even if just a little) human trafficking. 

If you want to live a story through the LBD.Project, you have to bravely step out to overcome whatever keeps you from bringing freedom to modern slaves by using your circle of influence.

4.) Maximizing Our Influence

On last week's page (here) section #3 was dedicated to sharing about the LBD.Project. This included:

There is no "right" way to share about what you are doing with the LBD.Project. Just be yourself, share your story, and be brave. We create awareness so that more people become free! 

Not on social media?

This doesn't mean you can't create awareness! Although you might not have as many people to share with about the LBD.Project and human trafficking, there are still ways you can: 

  • Leave fliers out on your desk & keep some with you
  • Print a square LBD.Project image to hang-up or lay out

Last year Elisa made this video to share different ways that people have "maximized" the LBD.Project. 

How about you? Can you any of the following? 

  • Sharing the 31 Human Trafficking facts on social media daily 
  • Writing an email
  • Putting on simple events for the people in their circles of influence
  • Giving a goal (ex. if I raise $1000, I will dye my hair blue!)
  • Giving incentives (ex. if you donate $, I will give you a personal concert, or jewelry made by survivors) 

Maybe you realized from the above that one area you do have influence in is finishing off this checklist! This is if you want to go all in to do the LBD.Project with intentionality:

LBD.Project's Firestarter Checklist

  • You have your black item of clothing
  • You follow us on Instagram
  • You've joined our Facebook group
  • You've changed your Facebook profile image 
  • You've added a "frame" to your image (search "LBD.Project" under profile image options)
  • You've changed your Facebook cover photo
  • You've ordered your pin
  • You've got some swag
  • You have your copy of 31 Days of Human Trafficking Facts and images
  • Days later, you still wearing your black
  • You've even washed your black at least once this week!
  • You've processed and know your "why"
  • If you are a person of faith, you can pray with this guide.

  • You've chosen your org here or here
  • You've made a fundraising page
  • You've saved the link
  • You added the link to your social media profiles
  • You've made a copy & paste blurb
  • You've sent an email to your friends and family about why you are doing this, inviting them to join
  • You've checked out Week One: Moblize
  • You know where the media kit and the LBD.Project downloads are
  • You've begun sharing online everyday
  • You've watched this week's Facebook Live video if you thought it would help
  • You realize you can chill out (and then do so) because even firestarters need to rest sometimes!

What's been a challenge and what has been a success for you since this project began?