Lisa Williams, the executive director of Living Water for Girls, a nonprofit organization that cares for victims of sexual exploitation ages 12 to 18, has been busy. She’s authored a new book, Beautiful Layers, and on April 1, launched a match-grant challenge in collaboration with the Quest Foundation for $40,000 to fund two critical staffing positions at the LWG home for girls. They have a goal of 100 days to match the donation. With your help, they will reach their goal.
Here, Williams discusses her new book and how you can get involved. –yvette caslin
What is the intent of your book, Beautiful Layers?
Titled, Beautiful Layers: Stories from those who survived the life of prostitution and child sexual exploitation, it’s a photo-essay featuring five American born women who use their authentic voices to tell the story of their lives of sexual exploitation, prostitution and restored hope. The women’s lives have been transformed — once survivors, now they are thrivers. I’m a thriver myself and am one of the women featured in the book.
Woven throughout the book are poems written by five young American girls, ages 12 to 17, who have also survived the brutal and traumatic world of commercial sexual exploitation. They have become a voice for the voiceless; other girls who need to have their stories told, but who have yet to find the courage and strength to speak their truth. Also, included in the book is a clinical overview of commercial sexual exploitation in America and resources for those who would like to become a part of the solution to end the sexual exploitation of children. Proceeds from this book will go directly to support Living Water for Girls.
What do you hope the reader will take away?
That these girls were victimized … they could be any girl and certainly are the girls next door … the girls [who] have suffered layers of violence, trauma and victimization. The reader can be part of the solution to end the vicious assault on girls in America [and] can join with others in raising awareness about the issue to help prevent more victims and to help expose perpetrators of this crime, and [raise] funds to help us keep our doors open for those who need us the most — our daughters.
Is there an end date for the campaign?
The end date for the 100 DAYS FOR BEAUTIFUL ends on July 4, Freedom Day.
Why is it important to provide ongoing support to Living Water for Girls?
Without support our doors will close. When girls are rescued or found, they are in [need] of safe refuge, medical care and therapeutic and educational services, and we provide that for them. They are our daughters, who have often been bought and sold in communities we call home. We must provide them with a hope and a future. Your readers support will help us do that. Saving the girls, helps us save ourselves.
Any last comments for readers?
Thank you for your kindness and advocacy.
Living Water for Girls provides individual, group, family, and addiction counseling; on-site home-school instruction public school education, GED, and vocational services; and life-skills training and spiritual wellness. For more information about Living Water for Girls, Inc. visit www.livingwaterforgirls.org. Donations via check or money order should be mailed to 401 Westpark Court, Suite 200, Peachtree City, Ga. 30269.