Posts tagged Great Lakes Church

Awareness Abound!

Awareness.January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
by Just Add Kids Founder,
Paula Herrmann

Child Sex Trafficking. Just typing it almost makes me want to vomit.
The industry of human sex trafficking, up until only over a year ago, was a reality I thought was only known in third world countries. The United States? Heck no. SE Wisconsin? Yah, right. (snicker).

My eyes were opened upon a presentation and screening that I attended in which the subject dealt with the dangers of the internet as it relates to children (and the vulnerable). It’s a freaking scary world out “there” for our kiddos. I know. Mine had been lured.  Read more…

Exploit No More stats children Wisconsin 1.2016

Source: Exploit No More Facebook page

My kids. Not your typical high risk target, you’d think. Internet predators scour through chat rooms (your kid’s games/gaming devices have them) and social network sites looking for children.  They will build a relationship throughout a period of time, over the course of weeks and sometimes even months, until the child target feels that they can trust their new “friend”. What kiddo doesn’t want to hear praise about how well they play Minecraft or other game? What kid doesn’t want a friend that listens and agrees with them when they feel they are unjustly being disciplined by their parent?

More than ever, today’s kids are at risk, even from the comfort of their own family room couch. Thank goodness, my son’s creeper activity ended due to the insight of my then 10 year old son who felt uncomfortable with the ongoing communication. He cut him/her off. I only found out about it AFTER I was informed by the tactics I learned about at that presentation and opened up the dialog with my kids. This is what ignited my passion to not sit idle, but do what I can to become part of the solution. Luring via the internet is only one of the avenues that can lead to human trafficking, and we as parents and community, need to take heed.

So now you are aware. And what better of a month, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, to glean knowledge about the second most profitable industry (after drug trafficking). The statistics will astound you!

In light of this month, the Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking is hosting a number of events in support of its work in Racine County.

As part of RCAHT’s Faith-Based Committee, I wish to highlight the vigil that will take place on Sunday, January 31, 2016 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. We would like to take a moment to recognize those who have been or are being trafficked and shine a light into the darkness of this crime that affects 27 million people around the world, including our own community members. The event is FREE and open to the public and will include music, candlelight worship, and viewing of the short documentary Chosen produced by well-known human trafficking organization Shared Hope.

Both vigil locations will have a donation area for Faith, Hope, & Love that creates New Beginnings bags for children recovered from human trafficking. Donations needed: new blanket, stuffed animal, flashlight, journal, personal hygiene items, non-perishable snacks, $5 McDonalds Gift Cards, feminine products, water bottle, shorts, t-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatpants, undergarments, socks, and flip-flops.

The vigil will take place at the following two locations, simultaneously:

Downtown Racine:                                                    Near the Interstate:
Living Light Community Center                        Great Lakes Church
(Old YWCA)                                                               (New Location)
740 College Avenue, Racine                                 9605 Spring Street, Mt. Pleasant

RCAHT Human Trafficking Vigil 1.31.2016

Due to sensitive material, Chosen is recommended for ages 12 and up and we will be offering childcare by reservation only for ages 1-11 years old. Email to reserve childcare. Please send child’s name, age, allergy or other key information, parent or guardian attending vigil, contact number and what location they will be attending.

For more information about Shared Hope and Chosen, go to:

In addition to the vigil, the Coalition has other activities going in support of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month including a benefit concert on Jan 28 with Well-Known Strangers and Saturday Night Preachers and a major wine tasting and live jazz benefit on Feb 5th. For more information on all events go to

I hope you see your role in the fight against human trafficking and take action. It took awhile for it to click with me.

More about Racine Coalition Against Human Trafficking: RCAHT  is a network of local resources (law enforcement, shelters, health providers and other services) collaborating to increase communication among all providers, identify gaps in services for victims and prevent conditions that foster human trafficking in Racine County through education and outreach efforts. For more information contact us at, find us on Facebook, or contact Karri Hemmig at (262) 909-6612.



Leave a comment »

Mmmm, Memorable


Shirt reads "This is faithfulness at its finest"

Shirt reads “This is faithfulness at its finest”

by Just Add Kids Founder
Paula Herrmann

I kinda don’t even feel like I have the right to write about this, having only been on the sidelines. But, it has been on my mind for the last 4 days. The impression it’s left…well, unforgettable.

                                                                                                                                  If you missed out on any of the snapshots, comments, chatter about it….my gosh, I’ll do my best, from the eyes and heart of this spectator who has been touched so deeply.  Read more….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I’m talking about “A Night to Remember – Special Needs Prom” that was brought to life this past Sunday evening by the Great Lakes Church community and Racine community at large. My heart has grown especially soft and fond for the special needs community all spurred on by friendship that has started and grown over the last year. Oh, and if you’ve been a reader of JAK Chat, you may be familiar with the trio I am referring to. That being 16 year old Gavin who has autism: his service dog, Rusty; and his mom, Cindy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The event brought together businesses, organizations, and individuals that donated tuxedos, dresses, limos, primping, photos,

Gavin at tux fitting days prior to ANTR

Gavin at tux fitting days prior to ANTR

time…so much happened behind the scenes, yet for those of us who were spectators, it all came to life on the Red Carpet as each of the nearly 100 honored guests (special needs teens and young adults) were announced and escorted down the path with crowds cheering, cameras snapping, videos rolling, and tears streaming, into Racine’s Festival Hall (which also played host to the prior evening’s Post Prom party for area high schools) where dancing and activities ensued. Of course, most touching personally, was when the crowd was summoned to do a silent cheer for Gavin with hands up (pictured above). Too much noise for Gavin is over-stimulating.

Gavin with his escorts approach the Red Carpet

Gavin with his escorts approach the Red Carpet

I didn’t partake and observe anything that went on inside, but let’s let the pictures and Gavin’s recap below do the “talkin’ “…

Gavin and friend, Jenna

Gavin and friend, Jenna

And they danced....

And they danced….

...and danced!

…and danced!

                                                                                                                              Here’s what non-verbal Gavin had to say about the memorable event via Rapid Prompting Method, in conversation with his therapist Jackie and his mom.

Jackie and Gavin post prom dialog 5.2014Mom – What did you think of the Night to Remember prom?
Gavin – I had a great time.
Mom – How did you feel walking down the red carpet and everyone was doing the quiet waving for you?
Gavin – I loved it.
Mom – Did you like dancing with Jenna and Bella and all the other girls? You danced with way more then 10 girls.
Gavin – I felt cool. They were all so beautiful.
Mom- What was so appealing in the quiet room that you kept going back there after every dance?
Gavin – It was relaxing.
Jackie – Were you trying to find more girls to dance with?
Gavin – Yes, next year can you come Jackie?
Jackie – I have Sunday’s off and would love to help if I am invited.
Mom – What would you like to tell Great Lakes Church, Jeremy and Angela and all the other volunteers that made this prom so AWESOME!
Gavin – I had a great prom. Thank you for all you did for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even more touched, is Cindy, Gavin’s mom. Reflecting on the event, Cindy was up late last night and wrote out her thoughts in these words…

When “you” realize life is not all about “I and me” it’s about “us and we”,

that’s when together we can truly make a difference in this world.

~ Cindy Schultz (Autism Solution Pieces – Co Founder).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cindy writes on her Facebook wall…”This is how I felt the night of the Night to Remember Special Needs Prom (Great Lakes Church, Jeremy Moore, Angela Tappa and the many other volunteers that made this night so amazing for our kids ~ THANK YOU!!!!)”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And from a woman, a mom, a friend from the sidelines (that would be ME!)….Kudos to Great Lakes Church, hundreds of volunteers, countless donors/donations. You’ve made our community a better place! Well done!


Leave a comment »