BRANCH OF THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT: Ladies of Charity
NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Veronica’s Voice
PROJECT ADDRESS: P.O. Box 172472, Kansas City, Kansas 66117-1472 (more cannot be published)
CONTACT PERSON: Kristy Childs
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 9 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: www.veronicasvoice.org
Purpose: To offer compassionate and non-judgmental counseling and services through peer survivor-ran services. Veronica’s voice offers individuals who are sexually exploited an opportunity to be educated and empowered to take back their lives. This program provides individual assessment, peer counseling, licensed therapists, shelter, food, healthcare, drug treatment and legal advocacy for clients. Veronica’s Voice provides the ability to leave a life of prostitution and sexual exploitation and transition to a new life free of these abuses.
History: Veronica’s Voice was founded by Kristy Childs as a peer rehabilitation program. At one time it was the only such program in the United States. The women who work in the program are former prostitutes or victims of sexual exploitation. One of their activities is to walk the streets of Kansas City Missouri and Kansas with a brown sack containing toiletries and supplies for a night, inviting the women to a shelter and offering them help. Walk-in services are provided in the form of showers, clothing, food, phones, and referrals. They work in conjunction with local authorities and provide a safe environment and mentorship. Legal aid is provided. A unique aspect of their program is a “Johns School” which anyone who is convicted of soliciting in either Kansas City, Kansas or Kansas City, Missouri must attend for one week. The school is run by the women from Veronicas Voice. Replication of the program at another location in Kansas was recently discussed by authorities in Kansas and Missouri and by Catholic Charities on both sides of the state line.
Vincentian Family Involvement: Through the Sisters of Mercy, the Ladies of Charity learned of the project. They helped create a recreational area, donate clothing, and help publicize the work of Veronica’s Voice.