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Rotary Club of St Thomas Ontario


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President Barbara opened the meeting with O Canada, Toast to King and Country and RI, 4Way Test Lead by Stew. Tara Kovach visited us today accompanied by Trudy.
Speaker Kelly Franklin was introduced by Mark Holmes. “Kelly Tallon Franklin is the founder and Chief Executive Director of Courage for Freedom, a Canadian-leading organization that exists to educate, train, and certify front-line and community service providers on proven strategies and prevention tactics to serve vulnerable victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Kelly is an international and national anti-human trafficking task force chairperson with Business and Professional Women and has been acknowledged and awarded many accolades globally as a survivor advocate and activist champion of minor-aged children and youth. Kelly, her teams and their projects have created awareness movements and developed support for victim-survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation that include equine therapy, trauma-informed and person-centric care approaches that are revered and respected. Kelly is a survivor and is also an award-winning speaker and best-selling author.” See pic of Kelly presenting and receiving donation from the club.
Kelly Thanked Rotary for its promotion of social justice and crimes against humanity. She describes herself as the “elephant in the room” because she has survived severe sexual abuse, acting out that leads to criminal activity, and a secret life that no one wants to hear or talk about.
In the words of Kelly, “Our communities are in crisis with an unspoken threat of human trafficking and sexual exploitation happening in every town and every city” Human trafficking has increased by 43%. This exploitation makes money for abusers/pimps (they stalk, lure, recruit, and groom their prey) at the expense of girls under 18. The consumers are 70% Caucasian males with sexual addiction, fetishes, and deviant behaviours; they can be leaders in the community, and fathers. Their money bankrolls the sex trade. Kelly started Farmtown Canada on a challenge from Joe Preston which morphed into Courage for Freedom. She chose to mitigate damage and trauma through equine and other therapies and public education about human trafficking. Her work is known nationally and at the level of the United Nations. She has helped 700 vulnerable girls. Not surprisingly, her life is an emotional roller coaster that covers a large territory of the province and the world.
What are the signs that a girl under 18 has been victimized?
  • Secrecy about their activities with parents
  • Someone has been buying things for them or they have extra money
  • Move about with few personal belongings
  • Answer a question with a “scripted” response
  • Stay out late or are absent from school
  • Are involved with a male significantly older than they are
  • Are sexting via social media
What can we do personally if we suspect human trafficking? Don’t confront a potential perpetrator; rather take notes, get specific info like a licence plate number, educate the ones we love, and promote internet safety. Recognize that children live somewhere between making decisions for themselves that are wise but maybe not because their brains are not mature enough to properly assess certain potential risks that a pedophile represents.
What can we do as a club?
  • Host a parent prevention night
  • 22Feb23 participate in National Awareness Day of Human Trafficking. Look at https://www.courageforfreedom.org/ .Pay particular attention to: #ProjectOnRoute, #ProjectONtario, #ProjectMapleLeaf, #ProjectInterclusion that show up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin.
  • Donate to Courage for Freedom
Kelly lives bravely and courageously; her life has been in danger. She calls out abusers that hold vulnerable girls to secrecy and to not report to the police. She provides love and comfort to girls that were denied that by perpetrators. Through Courage for Freedom, girls restore trust in people. Kelly is the author of two books that were raffled from the 50/50 draw (won by Bill and Pat); they are also available inexpensively from Amazon Kindle.
Kelly accesses school boards through parent councils.
Since all group homes are privatized, she does not want to see her “clients” placed there. The government should take over. Joe Preston is in favour of a safe house for victims that is separate from the woman’s shelter.
She volunteers at Courage for Freedom, raises all revenue from donations, and has 1 staff and 70 volunteers.
Pat reports that Christmas Care is collecting toys for boys and girls. Some members of the club meet Friday evening for Dinner (Johnny’s) Theatre (ACT) in Aylmer.
Trudy found another fundraiser based on the Kingston Rotary Club, sales of calendars ($20) with local content and a raffle ticket to prizes drawn on dates shown on the calendar. Need to give out about $1500 in prizes.
Our Rotary Christmas 50/50 tickets will be sold at the CASO Christmas Market on Sunday Dec 11, from 11 to 3 p.m.  Trudy will check if a business will allow sales at their location on the weekend of Dec 17-18. Trish will check with another grocery carrier to ask the same. 
Rotary Christmas Party
This event will be held Thursday Dec 15th at the Seniors' Centre.  All Rotarians, friends and spouses are invited. Social gathering is at: 5:30 p.m. with full Christmas dinner at 6:00 p.m. Cash bar is available.  The Club asks you to bring a donation to the Inn from their Wish List:  laundry detergent pods, white copier paper letter sized, coffee (preferably pouches), tea, powdered creamer, sugar, granola bars, boxed cereal, paper cups (no lids), plastic utensils.  Evening will include music and some surprises. Tickets to this party are to be purchased in advance. $30 per person. 
50/50 won by Barbara
Happy Finns
Barbara-thanks to members at Aylmer Community Theatre (she’s the lead)
Gerry- Kelly
Maggie- Happy US thanksgiving at her house, tour of Gorman Rupp, son’s electric pick up truck a show stopper wherever he goes
Bill- family stopped/handcuffed on re-entry to US over confusion with another Michael Moore who is on the wanted list
Pat- birthdays, Kelly
Trudy-Kelly and visitor Tara
Stew- Kelly
Mark-Kelly, upcoming time for family at Port Stanley ChristmasTrain ride
Cindy-Kelly, Workshop at Niagara Falls, Rotary in London, daughter’s pics
Nancy-Kelly, church group
Trish- Kelly, Sr Centre was a great spot for a party for mother Kathy’s 90 birthday meal and party Sunday
Ron- Kelly, sons gave him tablet and phone
Next week's meeting: former MPP and Rotarian Jeff Yurek. BRING YOUR OWN BAG LUNCH.
Changes to regular meetings see "Upcoming Events"
St. Thomas

Imagine Rotary

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 12:15 PM
St Thomas Seniors Centre
225 Chestnut St
St Thomas, ON N5R2B5
Contact our President to confirm location of meeting before departing to a club meeting.
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