Updates From the 2023 Change Maker Unconditional

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Our 2023 Change Maker has met another milestone and received their third grant distribution earlier this month. Here are some excerpts from the interim report.

Sarah Daniels, Unconditional Executive Director, reported they have seen progress from The Bridge clients like never before. Nearly all of these clients would have ended up back in the cycle of sex work and farther from their goals without this program. All of them are employed, meeting with their mentors, and staying on track.

A few significant milestones met:

  • Implemented the first round of “barrier busters” (financial support to overcome specific financial obstacles keeping Bridge clients from believing they have a future), including:
    • Paid off debt to improve credit score for a client.
    • Got a client’s license reinstated.
    • Assisted in moving a client from a house that was much too small for her children to one with plenty of room.
    • Paid off part of a client’s car note.
  • Launched The Bridge finance classes, one of which was led by a survivor!
  • Added an eight-week finance class that goes deeper than Unconditional had originally planned.

The interim report asks for specific successes achieved to this point in their grant timeline, and Unconditional didn’t disappoint:

  • All of The Bridge participants are making significant strides towards long term stability.
  • For one new mom, the program allowed her time to be home with her son after giving birth.
  • One client has not had a license for several years. The barrier buster to get her license has significantly changed her future opportunities.
  • One client was facing some big challenges. We asked her if she was scared or feeling triggered by it. She told us, “No. Because now I have people to talk about it with, people who are family.” Her mentor is the first person she has let get close to her and help her in her home in over a decade.
  • Another client has faced reduced hours at her job while finishing her training. Being in The Bridge allowed her to push through this difficult financial time. Once her training is done, she will make a livable wage in the field she wants. If not for The Bridge, she would have had to quit the training program and likely gone back to sex work to survive.

When asked if there had been any unanticipated challenges during the implementation of their planned programs, and for Unconditional it has been arranging the classes around their client’s different work schedules.

I can’t begin to describe the impact this grant is having on our clients. I tried to convey it in the report, but I don’t think it does it justice. Some of our clients I have known for years, and I am seeing them thrive like never before because of this. Thank you thank you thank you.

Sarah Daniels, Unconditional Executive Director

In addition to meeting planned milestones, Unconditional hosted a Galentine’s dinner for The Bridge participants and mentors. They were able to give participants Valentine gifts through one of their partner agencies.

In closing, here are a few quotes from The Bridge participants:

  • I can say that the friendship I’ve received from Unconditional has been some of the most consistent and important support I have ever received.
  • You don’t stand in front of us. You stand beside us. Because you really care.
  • I hadn’t received a Christmas present in so long. When I left Unconditional, I sat in my car and cried. This meant so much to me. Thank you.

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