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Social work instructor Angie Brower makes presentation to UN delegates

From Missouri Southern State University

Joplin, MO — There’s a misconception that girls rescued from trafficking situations must be extremely grateful. Not so, says Angie Brower.
“You have girls who have been forcibly addicted to drugs and are now hooked,” she says. “Some think that their trafficker is their boyfriend, or the other girls (in the same situation) are their family.

“You have to know going in that their reaction comes from a place of trauma.”

Brower, an adjunct social work instructor at Missouri Southern and survivor care director for Rapha International, recently made a virtual presentation to delegates from the United Nations on tools used to assess those who are experiencing intense and complicated trauma issues.

Her presentation to nearly 100 UN delegates and representatives from nongovernmental organizations focused on serving Haiti took place on July 1 as part of a conference being held in Port-au-Prince.

“The presentation was mostly focused on the Assessment of Survivor Outcomes (ASO) tool and the social-work services that Rapha International provides,” she said.

Developed by the International Justice Mission, ASO is a scientific tool used in more than two dozen countries to assess trauma survivors. It addresses issues such as mental, physical and emotional well-being, economic empowerment and education, social support and the potential for reintegration into their community.

“All of those areas need to be assessed in order to see what will help them best move past trauma,” said Brower.

Founded in 2003, Rapha International serves child victims of human trafficking at two facilities in Cambodia, one in Thailand and another in Haiti. They also offer a preventative Kids Club program in Cambodia and Thailand to help meet the needs of at-risk youth. Additionally, the organization’s Hope & Healing Center at their Joplin headquarters works with children, teens and adults.

Brower’s ties with Rapha run deep, as her father and sister are the co-founders.

Joe Garman was in Cambodia on a mission trip and was able to intervene when traffickers tried to seize a girl in a village he was visiting. Upon his return, his daughter Stephanie researched the issue of sex trafficking and how they could help. Their work resulted in the creation of Rapha — which means “healing” in Hebrew.

Brower said her family’s work helped her settle on a path as she prepared to continue her education.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get my master’s in psychology or social work,” she said. “This cinched it for me because I knew if we did this, did it right and on the scale we wanted to, we would be dealing with a lot of social workers.”

As survivor care director, Brower oversees the on-site clinic and works with social workers and counselors overseas to ensure Rapha’s trauma-care programs are meeting the best standards.

Gerso Nozea, Rapha’s country director in Haiti, asked Brower to fill in for the UN presentation as he was unable to attend. There was just one problem, however.

“All of the French and Creole interpreters were being used (elsewhere),” Brower said. “No one had been scheduled for this presentation.”

One day before the presentation, she reached out to the Foreign Language Department at Joplin High School and connected with French teacher Ryan Burnside.

“That was gutsy (of him),” she said. “He very bravely came in bright and early the next morning to be my interpreter. He did a bang-up job.”

Brower said her work with Rapha International has shaped her approach to teaching, especially when it comes to awareness of sex and labor trafficking — the two are often tied together — and other exploitation issues.

“Most students are surprised to discover that it happens right here in Joplin,” she said. “Rapha doesn’t have a safe house here because there are governmental avenues already in existence. But I teach students to recognize the signs.

“We also talk just about trauma in general, and how it can affect a person’s reactions. It has definitely informed the way I teach.”

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and Dickerson Park Zoo announce ‘Be fabZOOlous, Give Blood’ campaign

From Community Blood Center of the Ozarks

Springfield, Missouri — Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) and Dickerson Park Zoo announced a collaboration to reward donors, in a new way, for their lifesaving contribution during the “Be fabZOOlous, Give Blood” promotion. From August 1st through September 30th, 2022, successful donors at all Community Blood Center of the Ozarks mobile blood drives and donor centers will receive two tickets for general admission to the Dickerson Park Zoo and a “Be fabZOOlous” T-shirt. Zoo admission tickets are valid through July 31, 2023.

“The Dickerson Park Zoo is a real treasure for the Ozarks area, and this is a great opportunity to see all they have to offer, either for the first time or to see what’s new,” said CBCO Michelle Teter Media Relations Representative. “The “Be fabZOOlous, Give Blood” promotion is a fun way to encourage community members to make a positive impact in their community by donating blood.”

“We are happy to partner with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and hopeful many will be encouraged to give blood and visit Dickerson Park Zoo,” said Joey Powell, Public Relations and Marketing Director for Dickerson Park Zoo.

Donors can give at one of four CBCO donor centers located in Springfield, Mo., Joplin, Mo., Springdale, Ark., or Bentonville, Ark. There are also opportunities to give at mobile blood drives across the Ozarks.

To help avoid wait times, appointments are strongly encouraged. Donors can schedule an appointment at https://www.cbco.org/donate-blood.

Johnson named new coordinator for advocacy, wellness

From Pittsburg State University

Since childhood, Megan Johnson (BS ‘09, BSEd ‘12, MA ‘21) has had a passion for justice and helping others and has sought out jobs serving children, teens, and families. In her new role as program coordinator for advocacy services and wellness education at Pittsburg State, she’s looking forward to serving university students.

“Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for justice and helping others through values instilled in me by my family. That’s part of what drove me to become a teacher — I always wanted to make a difference and saw education as the avenue that allows people to better their lives,” she said.

Past positions include serving as a job placement specialist for clients in Beyond Tomorrow, as a family support worker for TFI Family Services with children in state custody due to abuse or neglect, and as a family education and support specialist for the Economic Security Corporation of the Southwest Area.

From 2013 to 2021, she was a high school teacher in Girard, Kansas. In 2021, she joined the staff at PSU as the Title IX coordinator, and since 2015 has been on the board of the SEK Women Helping Women: A Fairy Godmother’s Fund.

“I’m really excited about this new role – I’m eager to have a positive impact on the student body and on the culture here at Pitt State,” she said. “I’m really familiar with the systems and services that are available to students and will be able to help them navigate all of those resources.”

Her office is in the Bryant Student Health Center where she will help connect students to resources like Safehouse, which provides a broad array of services related to assault and advocacy services.

“I’ll help students connect to resources and then navigate them through counseling services and pursuing Title IX reporting,” she said. “And I will work with Safehouse to do programming on campus, as well. Safehouse will be much more visible on campus this year.”

She also will be the advisor for Students in Violence Prevention, or SVP, and will reignite the PSU Peer Educator Program.

“If students are interested in getting involved in violence prevention, we will have weekly meetings throughout the school year,” she said. “I will be recruiting students interested in becoming peer educators, too. They will be trained and certified by NASPA.”

“Any students who want to influence the culture on campus to be a healthier environment, and to become active in programming, those are the kinds of students I’m seeking,” she said. “It can be those who have a passion for wellness or who have a major that relates to it — social work, psychology, HHPR — in order to build their experience and their resumé.”

“I’m very excited about a multi-dimensional approach to wellness on campus — not just physical health, but mental, spiritual, social, and intellectual wellness,” she said.

Local assisted living community receives award

From Americare

Silver Creek Campus, assisted living by Americare, recently received an award for resident services, during a surprise ceremony held at the community. Members of Americare’s leadership were on hand to present the award and celebrate with the team. Alexandria Place was selected from Americare’s 86 assisted living communities to receive the award based on exemplary quality in the area of resident services. The recognition is one of four philosophy awards which reflect the four priorities of the company: service to residents, service to the employees, service to the community, and fiscal responsibility.

According to Christal Allen, administrator of Silver Creek Campus, the award belongs to the entire team at the community. “We’re so proud to be recognized in this way,” states Allen. Americare is a top-notch organization with high standards in every area. We were compared to many other excellent communities and came out on top. That means a lot” she finishes.

The community was evaluated using very specific criteria including state survey results, resident/family survey results and other quality indicators. Awards are given annually each Summer and reflects a community’s performance during the prior 12 months.

“The company considers a nomination in any one category quite an achievement,” comments Americare President Michael Hammond. “The community that actually wins the award is simply the best of the best and truly reflects quality that has made Americare a trusted name in eldercare services.”

Located at 3325 Texas Avenue, Joplin, MO, Silver Creek Campus is a 68 bed assisted living community licensed by the State of Missouri.

Bayer Fund Partners with Missouri farmers in effort to direct funds to local nonprofits, schools and ag programs

From America’s Farmers Grow Communities

St. Louis, Missouri — Bayer Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities program is once again teaming up with Missouri farmers across the country to find and fund the organizations and institutions that keep their communities thriving. From August 1 to November 1, eligible farmers can enroll for the chance to direct a $5,000 donation to a local eligible nonprofit organization, school or youth agriculture program.

Since its inception in 2010, America’s Farmers initiatives have awarded more than $65 million to thousands of schools and nonprofit organizations across the country. Farmers have played a key role in identifying and directing funds to programs and organizations that contribute to their communities’ health and vibrancy, such as food banks, schools and agriculture programs. In Missouri alone, farmers have directed more than $ $3.9 million in Grow Communities funds to local nonprofits.

“Grow Communities is a special program because we work closely with farmers to find and fund nonprofit organizations that make a positive impact in their communities,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer Fund President. “Every year, we hear from farmers and Grow Communities recipients who tell us the dollars are making a difference. Because of this feedback, the Bayer Fund team is excited to help strengthen rural communities through this program.”

Farmers are eligible to enroll in Grow Communities if they are 21 years of age or older and are actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres of any crop. To enroll in or learn more about Grow Communities, including program eligibility and rules, farmers can visit www.AmericasFarmers.com or call 1-877-267-3332 toll-free. Winners will be announced February 2023.

Missourians celebrate historic tobacco control funding

From the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

COLUMBIA, MO — Governor Parson, cancer survivors and health advocates met at the University of Missouri to celebrate the state’s new funding for tobacco cessation and prevention. In Missouri, smoking is responsible for 11,000 deaths in our state each year, including 31% of cancer deaths. Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death.

The additional $2.5 million for Missouri’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program is projected to:

• prevent 1,000 kids from growing up to be adults who smoke;

• mean 300 fewer kids growing up to die prematurely from smoking; and

• save the state $21 million in future health care expenditures.

“We know some of the tools to stop these needless deaths. Investing in programs to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help adults quit has a meaningful, measurable track record of success.” said Emily Kalmer, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This is a huge step in the right direction. ACS CAN is committed to continuing to advocate with Governor Parson for these valuable investments in the health of our family, friends, and neighbors.”

“Tobacco use remains a leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in Missouri, and we are taking action against its harmful effects and to encourage prevention with this historic funding in HB 3010,” Governor Mike Parson said. “This is the single largest investment in a tobacco cessation program in state history and is a step in the right direction to help protect the health of adults and children across the state of Missouri.”

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