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August 20, 2009

Step One

This Extra Ink was written by Teen Ink's Global Issues blogger.

Want to do something fun and rewarding before the summer ends? Check out the Love146 July/August 2009 Car Wash Across America fundraiser.

Step 1: "Wash Cars"

Get some friends together and organize a car wash fundraiser for Love146, a charity that fights child sex slavery. Once you've found a strategic location and set a convenient date, start telling everyone you know about it. Ask family members to sponsor you by pledging a donation per car washed or a flat amount (check out pledge forms here). Make a Facebook event to spread the word. Tell everyone to invite all their friends to volunteer, sponsor the event, or get their car washed.

On the Love146 web site, you can find all the resources you need, including posters to advertise the event around your community and pre-sale car wash tickets.

You can also get your car-washing team to wear the same Love146 T-shirts. To make your own T-shirts, use the images for the front and back of the new Car Wash Across America T-shirt (free and available on their web site). You can also buy T-shirts from Love146 at their online store, which offers a variety of other designs as well.

Step 2: "Tell the Story"

The founders of Love146 went undercover into a brothel and saw a group of young girls in red dresses who stared mindlessly at the television. However, one girl--who had the number 146 pinned to her dress--turned around and glared defiantly at the sex traffickers. Love146 is dedicated to her spirited resistance against injustice.

The resulting movement is about the idea that love can restore this girl's lost innocence, if the rest of the world can find it within themselves to symbolically meet this girl's eyes, acknowledge her pain and the reality of sex trafficking, and take loving action.

Participants in the Car Wash Across America will have the chance to tell this story to everyday people when they ask what Love146 is and how their money will be helping. Love146 also offers front-and-back informational postcards to give out to each customer, which tell the Love146 story and share human trafficking statistics.

For more information on the Love146 story, check out this Valentine's Day blog, watch this video about the girl who inspired the charity's name, and visit their web site at www.love146.org.

Step 3: "End Slavery"

Once your fundraiser is over, send in your donations to Love146. Got questions? Check out the Love146 fundraising FAQ's.

Love146 runs safehomes for child survivors of human trafficking or sexual exploitation, as well as prevention programs. Want to know how these safehomes make a world of a difference to exploited children? Read Malaya's story here (scroll to bottom of page).

Thanks to Love146, kids like Malaya not only recover, but get inspired to pursue a career that will empower them to help others and return their gifts to the world.

The Love146 motto is, "Love protects, defends, restores, empowers." That's how you end slavery: by lovingly rescuing one person at a time, standing up to protect and defend their rights, restoring their self-worth, and empowering them to spread this spirit of love to others..

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