Katie Sechrist is Greenlight Operation’s Community Relations Coordinator. She has a fiery spirit, and the biggest heart for helping and serving others. She has truly dedicated her life to helping those in need, and we could not be more grateful to have her on our team.
-What was your first exposure to human trafficking?
My first exposure to human trafficking occurred in middle school. I was researching psychology related topics as I was trying to figure out what I might want to do after high school. Yes I know, I started early. I knew I wanted to work with people who have endured traumatic experiences, abuse or mental illness. The more I researched, the more I became aware of the various populations of people that I could potentially encounter one day. One day my search led me to that of human trafficking and I discovered how prevalent this tragedy was right in my back yard. I aspired to help as a middle schooler however I didn’t know how with limited resources and advocacy groups available to me.
-What led you to take on Community Relations at GO?
Our prior community relations coordinator was planning to pursue her calling with Hillsong Church in Australia so there was a need for someone to take her place. Previously I served under Sarah Love on the fundraising team. One week I had been fervently praying that the Lord would use me where ever and however He could. Later that week Jordan graciously took me to lunch one day and offered me the position. I knew it was a God sent opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
-Outside of GO, you have your degree in nursing, and have a real heart for children in the foster system. How has that impacted to what you do here at GO or how does GO impact that work?
My nursing training as well as my training of the system has allowed me to more easily understand how human trafficking can become such a potential problem in the lives of children that do not have stable family home units. The longer I’ve been with Greenlight Operation, the more i learn about the process of becoming roped into human trafficking; which better equips me to comprehensively care for not only my patients but for the foster children I advocate for.
-What has been your favorite part about working with GO?
My favorite part is definitely the people! I may be bias…being community relations coordinator but is so rewarding connecting with people in the community that have a heart for this issue. Everyone has a different story or background as well as careers that allow them to contribute a unique perspective to our mission.
-What does being on the Community Relations team look like? What kind of stuff do you guys do?
A lot of Community Relations is communicating with the COMMUNITY! We do a lot of emailing, phone calls, coffee meetings. The focus of our team is community outreach and advocacy. We schedule trainings with local high schools, middle schools, colleges, law enforcement, churches, and various other organizations that are interested in becoming more aware of Human Trafficking. Planning Breaking Chains, which is our yearly art show case to raise money for our future restoration home, as well as spread awareness, is one of Community Relations biggest projects. We also research legislation and political efforts concerning human trafficking to become more educated on how we can influence law making processes that contribute to controlling this issue in Pennsylvania.
-What’s one thing that has surprised you since you started working with GO?
I’m so surprised at the influx of volunteers, youth and parents that have jumped on board with us. It ‘s so cool to see the passion ignite in the hearts of people who truly want to help but just didn’t know how to. It has really opened my eyes to the much needed opportunities for people to serve.
-When people think of Human Trafficking, what is one thing you wish they knew or understood?
I wish people understood that Human Trafficking is right in front of them. When you’re walking downtown during a festival, at a sporting event, getting gas on a road trip with your family…..and you walk past a girl without even giving her a second look. You never know the stories of the of strangers we pass during normal life experiences so it’s important not assume the environment you put yourself in is immune to this tragedy.
-Looking forward a few years, what excites you about the direction GO is going?
I am overwhelmingly excited about our goal of establishing a restoration home for victims of human trafficking. Getting these women out and away from bondage is so important however without the proper resources, therapy, medical attention and education many cant cope with their trauma. Our aim is to reintegrate these women into the community by helping them work through what they’ve experienced and attain the skills necessary to pursue everything God has in store for them.