Spectrum Health Systems was recently awarded more than $45,000 by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts from their Activation Fund.  Spectrum is leading a project called A Ray of Light on behalf of the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, a coalition formed by the Worcester Division of Public Health in 2012 to address the serious health implications of sex trafficking in the local community.

Other organizations serving on the Steering Committee for this project, along with Spectrum and the Worcester Division of Public Health, include the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and Community Healthlink. 

This grant will be used to build a broader network of organizations capable of identifying and responding to victims and survivors of sexual exploitation in Worcester and to engage, motivate and connect adult women involved in sex trafficking with appropriate programs and services.   The city of Worcester is providing funding for a street outreach worker to aid in these efforts. 

 “Sex trafficking is a serious problem here and we’re in a position to make a real difference,”  stated Athena Haddon, Program Director of Spectrum’s Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Support Center and Project Director for A Ray of Light.  “We have an opportunity to improve our interactions with women who come to our center, to better help them identify their needs and connect them to more appropriate people and places.” 
This project will capitalize on the array of existing programs and services available in the Worcester community by providing sustainable evidence-based training, using a train-the-trainer approach, and key resources to better equip front line staff working with women involved in sex trafficking.  

A Ray of Light will also partner with Project REACH, a program of the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, MA, to develop these training materials.  Project REACH provides direct client services, as well as technical assistance and capacity-building on behalf of trafficking victims across the United States. Project REACH is a training and technical assistance resource for anti-human trafficking identified by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Victims of Crime.

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider serving more than 45,000 individuals each year.  Spectrum currently operates more than 125 programs in eight states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Tennessee, Georgia, Iowa, Florida and Washington State. 

CONTACT:
Andrew Strecker, Development Associate
(508) 792-5400 x7113

streckera@spectrumhealthsystems.org

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