Reflecting on ZOE’s Advocacy Program Success

ZOE LA’s Final Graduation Ceremony and the Program’s Transformative Impact on Survivors

Five years ago, ZOE secured a contract with the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County to provide advocacy services for children who have fallen victim to sex trafficking or are highly at risk of exploitation.

When a ZOE advocate connects with a youth, their primary focus is establishing a sense of emotional and physical safety with them. Often, these youth find themselves ensnared in the grip of traffickers, where they face coercion, manipulation, and threats. 

ZOE’s Advocates learn about the youth’s immediate circumstances, their physical, emotional, and social needs, and help the youth in navigating through dangerous situations.

Through weekly in-person meetings, meals, healthy activities, or simply being present in the youths’ lives, ZOE Advocates become a mentor and safe person whom the youth can reach out to in times of need. Advocates spend most of their time on the field driving as far north as Lancaster, as far south as Long Beach, and as far east as Pomona.

A social worker shared, “ZOE has a wide range of community partners and creative solutions that I haven’t seen before that contributed to the success of the child. I enjoyed working with ZOE’s team who is dedicated to going above and beyond to help the child.”

ZOE provides formal support to the youth for up to a year and a half. For youth who complete the program, ZOE hosts a graduation celebration to honor their achievements and strengths.

One youth shared, “I want to say thank you to my Advocates because if I didn’t have ZOE, I don’t think I would be here today. I think I would be in a very dangerous situation.”

As ZOE’s contract with the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County came to an end, we held our final graduation ceremony for a couple of the youth and had a follow-up celebration inviting all the youth that we stayed in contact with and worked with in the past. We held an open mic for the youth to share about their experiences. 

Ester Yu, ZOE’s Assistant Western Regional Director, shared, “One of our girls went up and was preaching to the whole group. What she shared felt like it really exemplified the heart and the work of all the years of this program – sharing and showing the love of Jesus.”

This story, and many more heartwarming experiences that our ZOE Advocates have had with the youth, (ZOE served over 100 youth every year), is a testament to the power of God’s love and compassion working through the hearts and minds of the youth we serve. We could not do this life transformative work without supporters like you! Thank you for faithful prayers and support for these survivors.

If you’d like to continue supporting ZOE’s prevention and restoration efforts in LA, learn more here!

Leave a Reply