After spending nearly ten years working in the film industry in Los Angeles, I felt called to do something more to give back to the world. During my time working in film, I had the opportunity to work overseas several times and witness first-hand the poverty much of the world lives in. It was during a mission trip to Uganda, Africa that I first felt a powerful desire to live overseas, but it wasn't until a two week trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand in November of 2010 that I really found a place I could see myself making a difference.
I spent over three years working with at risk children who live in slum villages in the red light district of the city before transitioning to work with HUG Project as a case manager in 2014. After two years working in prevention, protection and restoration aspects of anti-trafficking work, in January of 2017 I co-founded a new organization with some Thai colleagues to address some gaps in service in the Chiang Mai area.
Our organization is called Jojo's Sanctuary in honor of a little boy I knew who died as the result of child abuse in 2016. Our program works to educate, protect and empower vulnerable children, families and communities in Northern Thailand. We do this by working with local leadership to equip and educate them about child protection in their community, implement a family strengthening program called Keeping Families Together and in January 2018 will open the first foster home in the country to provide short term emergency care for children in crisis. To read more about our story and to donate, follow the link here.