History of PATH
On April 30, 2013, a few Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) began public prayer service gathered at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, KY for a prayer service for victims of human trafficking because of the SCN Corporate Stance against Human Trafficking. In January 2014, a survivor of human trafficking shared an op-ed in the Courier Journal entitled, “Kentucky can do more to help trafficking victims recover.” Some members of the current group met the survivor on March 21, 2014, in Bardstown, Kentucky, where Holly Austin Smith shared her story of being forced into a sex trafficking ring at age of 14. On April 29, 2014, some of the current members gathered again for a prayer service for victims of human trafficking at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, KY.
History of PATH
2013 – 2014
A few Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) began public prayer service during Derby Week 2013 because of the SCN Corporate Stance against Human Trafficking. The public prayer service was repeated in 2014 and following that event, members of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, and Dominican Sisters of Peace and their associates began meeting on a permanent basis on May 23, 2014 at Brescia Hall on the Ursuline Campus Lexington Road, Louisville KY. The Founding Members of this May 2014 meeting are: Theresa Butler, OSUA; Sr. Julie Driscoll, SCN; Rosetta Fackler; Marqueax Gray; Betty Anne Hamilton, SCNA; Sr Jo Ann Jansing, OSU; Sr. Paula Kleine-Kracht, OSU; Sr. Judy Morris, OP; Amy Nace-Degonda; JoAnn Paulin, SCNA; Sr. Joetta Venneman, PBVM; and Sr. Rita Ann Wigginton, OSU.
• That fall the group agreed on two goals: 1) Education and outreach regarding human trafficking which started immediately: 2) The long-term goal of establishing a home/shelter for survivors of human trafficking. Not long after, the group expanded membership with the participation of a survivor of human trafficking, a professor at the University of Louisville who teaches a class on the issue as well as a passion for eliminating exploitation of humans, and two members of Catholic Charities working with statewide task forces. Several other community individuals are connected by email and have made contributions to our efforts.
• Experience with the public prayer services taught us that much education can happen through media outlets as these were covered by the Courier-Journal, The Record and a number of TV Stations and other venues too numerous to name. Members also wrote editorials in newspapers, letters to the editor and were interviewed on a variety of TV programs.
• A Lenten film series in four parts of Louisville was very successful. At these sessions, Theresa Hayden shared the 15-month study of Human Trafficking in Louisville on Backpage.com advertisements. This research confirmed our suspicion that these incidents spiked during the Derby but surprised the researcher by showing they go even higher during March Madness.
• In the spring of 2015, the group spent a couple of meetings brainstorming a name and settled on PATH Coalition of Kentucky.
• Members have also worked on a putting up a billboard during Derby week, educating businesses about human trafficking, demonstrated and advocated against places known for human trafficking.
• In the spring of 2015, the group decided to apply for non-profit status. Sr. Julie Driscoll, SCN asked an attorney friend who allowed his paralegal to work with Sr. Joetta Venneman, PBVM, and Sr. Julie Driscoll on a pro bono basis. The application was mailed on Sept. 16, 2015 and we were shocked and delighted to receive non-profit status on Oct. 8, 2015.
• The attorney who provided his paralegal to guide us in the IRS application is a partner with Borders and Borders in Louisville.
• The Founding Board of Directors were Theresa Hayden, President; Marqueax Gray, Vice-President, and JoAnn Paulin, Secretary / Treasurer. Board Members are at Large were Theresa Butler, OSUA; Sr. Julie Driscoll, SCN; Sr. Judy Morris, OP; Amy Nace-Degonda; Sr. Joetta Venneman, PBVM; and Sr. Rita Ann Wigginton, OSU. Contributing Members were Rosetta Fackler; Betty Anne Hamilton, SCNA; and Julie Horen-Easterly.
• PATH joined membership with the Center for Non-Profit Excellence (CNPE). This organization provides guidance for developing a board and many other aspects of non-profit organizations. Julie Driscoll and Joetta Venneman took on the task of recruiting interested board members. Since joining CNPE, PATH members have alternated attending monthly Community Coffees and participating in trainings that advance knowledge for operating a non-profit.
• Provided education and outreach trainings beyond our usual scope of networking. In particular at these locations, Highland Baptist Church, 2nd Presbyterian Church Pathways Group, and Bellarmine University.
• Participated in a Panel Discussion at the North American Ursuline Conference in Louisville KY, July 9th, 2016.
• Hired a part-time program coordinator to assist with the day-to-day tasks of continuing growth.
• Traveled to safe houses in Chicago, Nashville, Birmingham, and New Orleans for the purpose of learning from successful programs serving trafficking victims.
• Worked with an attorney realtor in searching for the appropriate property.
• Communicated with the Mount St. Joseph Ursuline Sisters on potential use of property in Daviess County, Kentucky. Geographical spread is expanding.
• Educated members about essential services to provide in the safe house.
• Began working toward development of a “digital and online safety training” concentrating on keeping safe on apps, smartphones, and other areas online where youth are active. This curriculum has a specialty focus beyond HT 101 that PATH can market to potential groups serving youth or youth and their parents. Piloted public presentation to Presentation High School Feb 28, 2018.
• Invited speakers to PATH monthly board meetings to continue our education: Amy Leenerts with Free2Hope, Vanessa with Polaris Project.
• Engaged with marketing and web design consultants for PATH to improve marketing and printing materials. As a result, web site published and website domain name in use until 2022, 1000 brochures printed, emails assigned to PATH members.
• PATH members represented at the Jan 18th Celebration Collaboration at Catholic Charities
• PATH members represented at the Feb 22nd HT Awareness Conference on UL campus.
• Year-End marketing letter brought in approximately $5000.
• Implemented a policy for nominating, screening, and interviewing potential PATH Board members. An official application filed by potential Board Members will be forwarded to the Nomination Committee. The Policy details a 5-step process. After review by the PATH Board, there was a suggestion for one revision in the language and process in Step 3. (The PATH Board members making the referral will meet with the person “face-to-face” at least once before officially submitting recommendations.)
• Developed a Problem Statement on Human Trafficking to be used with future work.
• Edited PATH By-Laws to update definitions and language related to voting.
• Policy Manual developed
• Added board members from the community to compensate for attrition of Founding Members.
• Committed with UL Kent School and Department of Criminal Justice as a practicum site for field students.
• Developed a Business Plan to be used for fund raising
• Met with Steve Rose (realtor) to discuss potential of purchasing abandoned funeral home property on Oak St near St Therese Church Louisville. Sent a Letter of Intent to company owners Dec 22, 2017. Response was non-acceptance because they have a cash offer on the property.
• Initiated relationships with community partners essential to housing and zoning: The Homeless Coalition in Louisville, New Directions Housing Incorporation, Rotary members, and potential investors.
2019 – 2021
• Developed 3-Phase Strategic Plan. Eliminated the goal to open long-term housing for survivors
• Adapted to Covid Pandemic with Zoom meetings
• Achieved partial goals in Phase One of Strategic Plan