A growth unlike any other: becoming a My Life, My Choice facilitator
She started as a woman searching for a mission. Audrey Hood was praying for a cause to be
passionate about. She wanted to find something in which to pour her time and talent. The anti-
human trafficking cause was placed in Audrey’s path, and she found that the urge to help fell
heavy on her heart. On a mission trip she learned that the industry was prevalent on the East
Coast, in discovering that she knew that it must also be prevalent in Indianapolis. Armed with the
strength of a new calling, she searched for a way to get involved at home. Like so many stories
of people who have helped here at Purchased, Audrey did everything she possibly could to make
herself known at our organization. She walked into our world at a time that My Life, My Choice
facilitators were being sent for training. Our founder Jessica reached out to ask Audrey if she
was interested, and Audrey said yes. She was trained right away, but she knew that she had
found the right place for her passion when she met her co-facilitator, Schawayna. The two were
opposites in almost every way, but they knew together they had something special. They had a
way to bridge gaps and form relationships. In places that needed healing in the lives of the girls
they serve, Audrey and Schawayna showed a healthy relationship between women with different
backgrounds. They had a stark difference in image and were a model for racial reconciliation. To
many girls, trauma experience lends itself to uneasiness and racial distrust. Their friendship
spoke louder than their words in the beginning, modeling a healthy relationship while walking
alongside girls searching for that very thing.
The facilitator training was held in Boston over a weekend in October. In one word, Audrey
called the training a whirlwind. She, like many of us, was unfamiliar with the issue. In a short
time, she learned the basics of the trafficking world as well as the critical knowledge of how to
interact with the survivors. She returned home to keep learning though, seeking increasing
knowledge, wanting to know as much as possible. In this vein, a word of advice to future
facilitators is to seek knowledge and information beforehand. Equipping yourself with
knowledge before the training will help expand the impact of the training itself. The current
requirements to become a facilitator include either being a survivor, having five years of trauma-related experience , or
having a master’s in social work. Audrey was grandfathered into the program, but
she agrees that the requirements for participation now are valuable and would enhance the
impact of the program as a whole. Having worked with many girls over the years since her
training, she has learned alongside the experiences of survivors. Audrey sees the impact that her
own experiences have provided to enhance her time as a facilitator, but she knows that the
trauma the girls have experienced is often greater than she can even imagine.
Watching girls open up, seeing the lightbulb click on, is what Audrey considers the most
impactful part of being a facilitator. One of the value parts of this program, among many, is that the
curriculum gives definitions to the life experiences of survivors. My Life, My Choice is often the
first time any of these girls have heard the message that what happened to them was wrong.
Having the words to describe the pain endured is empowering. Language, claiming truth in the
right words, gives each girl the power to own their story. Knowing the truth around their
experiences shows girls that they deserve a life outside the world they’ve always known. The
other most impactful piece to Audrey is the process of journaling that’s integrated into the My
Life, My Choice curriculum. Journals are private between the girls and the facilitators, and
reading those journals is a window into the lives of the girls served. The facilitators write back
each week, and in each group, Audrey sees growth. The girls grow in their journals, evidenced
on paper that they want control of their lives. They grow in person, sharing and claiming their
stories. They grow, too, alongside the facilitators. Audrey feels she has grown the most in human
understanding: she’s grown to be perceptive and more empathetic, and she has found that she
became more intentional in her everyday life: seeing each person as affected by their experience,
sensitive in their own ways.
To anyone considering becoming a facilitator, Audrey shares that in this position one must be in
a very healthy place, and ready for growth. “Do it if you can. You’ll hear stories, you will learn.
Be prepared to be surprised, it’s never going to be what you think it will be. Have a good support
system, an open mind, and a willing heart.” These girls need the chance for a better life, and the
person to open up their future could be you.
Learn more or register today by emailing email@example.com.