EN Team
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WHO WE ARE  >  TEAM

EMPOWER HOW

“If the old me could see this version of herself, she’d know there is a life outside of being trafficked and it’s beautiful.”

– EN Alumnus

THE EMPOWERMENT PLAN

An Innovative Program with Demonstrable Outcomes

Members collaborate with a local Empowered Network advocate to pursue their dreams by working on a 12–18-month empowerment plan with the goal of economic freedom.

Click to view the 2023 Impact Report

THE GOAL

Every plan is unique (because every human is unique!)

But the goal is always the same: financial independence.

Agency is a basic human right. Economic freedom is required to truly exercise this right. Empowered Network supports survivors by addressing societal barriers through advocacy and tactical funding that propels survivors toward economic freedom.

ADVOCACY

The guidance, growth mindset, and affirmation provided by EN’s advocates is a key catalyst in survivors reaching their goals. Examples include:

  • Sussing out viable career paths and corresponding training/education requirements
  • Creating a budget and learning basic fiscal best practices
  • Advising/researching financial aid/scholarship opportunities and assisting with applications, registration, course work accountability, and academic expectations
  • Preparing for professional opportunities with interview practice and resume assistance

HOUSING

Securing stable housing is the top priority for most survivors. Many nominations are prompted because residential/shelter housing is expiring/has expired and the survivor has bad or no credit, no savings, and no experience navigating complex housing markets. Until a person is in a safe living situation, it is difficult (especially with children) to focus on the next steps of achieving independence. EN strives to establish housing in the survivor’s name to solve the root cause of the problem moving forward. Examples of housing solutions include:

  • Providing temporary rent coverage as an economic empowerment tool to access otherwise unattainable education opportunities
  • Covering the security deposit to overcome financial hurdles in securing a first apartment that is otherwise affordable
  • Buying household essentials such as beds, basic cookware, etc. 

EDUCATION

EN seeks aid wherever possible to avoid overlapping resources. In many circumstances, tuition is covered; a large portion of education expenses falls under advocacy. But the barriers to take advantage of education opportunities don’t stop with tuition. EN funds needs such as:

  • The delta between aid and tuition 
  • Promising vocational paths when no aid is available
  • Course materials, registration fees, and commuter passes 

EMPLOYMENT/CAREER

One of the most exciting parts of the program for participants are the empowerment sessions exploring possible career paths. Often, it’s a two-step process. Advocates spend a substantial amount of time working with members on elevating their immediate job situation from one or two minimum wage jobs to steady-wage employment. Increasing hourly wages frees up time and resources to take advantage of learning opportunities that open a career path. While most “career” program expenses fall under advocacy, EN funds tangible needs such as:

  • Uniforms
  • Equipment/materials (i.e., sewing machines for seamstresses, required nail technician supplies)
  • Professional fees (i.e., food prep certification, annual dues for a newly licensed realtor)

“It is an honor to serve the anti-trafficking community alongside our partner organizations and survivors. Survivors’ futures are unwritten, and we are here to help empower them as they determine their next chapter.”

– Kristy Norbert, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Empowered Network

Alumni Q&A

Think about Empowered Network now in your life. What thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. do you have that you can share with us?

“I feel a sense of community and support. I feel seen in where I am and where I am headed, not where I have been and what happened to me. The Empowered Network west coast retreat connected me with so many amazing women who are excelling in all different areas of life, and it was exciting to connect with fellow survivors and honor where we have been while also praising what we have accomplished and where we are headed. The best was the laughter we had, and we had so much! Also, the Christmas party is one of my favorite holiday events every year!”

Looking back at your time with Empowered Network, why were you nominated and what did you accomplish during your time with them?

“I was nominated because I was potentially needing some housing and relationship support, and I was also interested in a sealed name change. I was able to get the support I needed through Lena and an attorney she connected me with who worked with me pro-bono to legally change my name! It was something I wanted to do for many years for safety reasons but hadn’t been successful completing on my own. Now that I have, I feel more freedom, safety, and autonomy. I was also able to complete an HR Management Certification program at a local university! This helped a lot in moving forward in the nonprofit human resources field.”

What is something you wish people knew about Empowered Network?

“I wish people knew Empowered Network connects survivors with support to expand skills and explore careers, life paths, and financial independence. The financial webinars were super helpful as that has been one of the biggest challenges I have faced getting out and staying out of the life. Knowing I fully support myself and am planning for my future without having to do what I once thought was the only thing I could do to get my basic needs met, I know I am making that high school senior I was when I got in the life so proud.”

Who will you empower?