Pictured from L-R is Stephanie Estrada, advisor Rebecca Schultz, Scott Smylie and Melanie Lopez. Photo provided by Klein Collins High School. Used with permission.
A group of SkillsUSA students from Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas, are calling attention to a devastating issue that is impacting their community and many others around the country: human trafficking. The group of students launched an initiative to not only raise awareness but help local victims.
The idea started when SkillsUSA members at Klein hosted self-defense classes for girls with local police officers. During the classes, the officers shared a presentation about human trafficking that struck a chord with the students, who were also interested in a community service project as part of SkillsUSA’s Community Service competition. The students decided to research the problem more thoroughly. That research led them to discover the issue was widespread in their area, and that realization led them to the Arrow Child & Family Ministries (ACFM) in Austin.
“This organization offers help to victims to help them overcome the traumatic experiences that they have been through,” said Melanie Lopez, a senior at Klein Collins. “Our group has not done this just for the competition, [but also] to be able to help our community and to have the girls know that they are not alone.”
The SkillsUSA students teamed up with ACFM to host an “Arrow Drive” at their school. The drive was designed to gather donations for the organization while raising awareness about human trafficking. According to Lopez, one of the reasons the students chose ACFM was because they have a program that helps victims of abuse and human trafficking find a path toward healing, and the donations gathered went to support the program.
“I believe the drive accomplished a goal set by the students along with helping women in need,” said SkillsUSA advisor Rebecca Schultz. “It also brings awareness to the needs in our community in this pandemic.”
“A network that lures people into the human trafficking system is around our school,” says SkillsUSA student Scott Smylie, “so we thought it would be important to educate our community about it.” The Klein Collins team hopes to continue the drives each year.