Restoring Hope with Scarlet Road: Fundraising auction needs donations, volunteers

BREMERTON — Scarlet Road is planning a “Restoring Hope” fundraising auction March 24, open to anyone who wishes to attend.

But if you’re interested in helping out, even better.

Scarlet Road is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping women and girls escape sexual exploitation. The organization works throughout Kitsap County to educate the community about sexual exploitation and helping victims get out of the life and start a new one.

The auction, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 24 at Coram Deo Church, 5951 State Highway 303 NE, Bremerton, will include not just the silent auction at the beginning of the show, but also appetizers, drinks, dessert and presentations.

“That’s going to be sort of like a narrative on several people’s different stories, taking a broad approach to the issue of exploitation,” said Rosie Ludlow, director of community engagement for Scarlet Road.

Ludlow said that at least one of the speakers scheduled will be sharing their story as the parent of a victim of sexual exploitation, and “that process of caring for someone going through exploitation and getting out of exploitation.”

Currently, the silent auction, the main part of the fundraising efforts of this event, consists of 20-25 baskets, Ludlow said, but they’re hoping for 50-60. Baskets can be donated from local businesses who wish to help support Scarlet Road.

“All different sorts, really,” Ludlow said when asked what kind of baskets they’re looking for. “Tangible items, service items — really, whatever the community is interested in giving. We are happy to incorporate them into our auction.”

Businesses interested in donating auction items should contact Rosie Ludlow, 360-551-2088 or rosie@scarletroad.org.

They aren’t just looking for donated baskets, either.

“We need a ton of volunteers for the event,” Ludlow said.

There will be a planning meeting for volunteers on Feb. 18; anyone interested can contact the volunteer coordinator at volunteer@scarletroad.org.

“She will help slot them into the right area where their interest is,” Ludlow said of the volunteer coordinator.

All the money raised in the auction will be going directly to Scarlet Road’s programs and general operating fund, as well.

“We have three arms to our programs,” Ludlow said. “We have a lot of community awareness programming and training programming for the community, so helping service providers understand this population, how to serve them, how to report … and how to really be addressing this in the community.

“We do a lot of outreach programming, street outreach, outreach in local schools,” she said. “We provide curriculum that is school approved in the classroom for high school age students for awareness, but also helping them protect themselves for safety.”

Ludlow said that through the outreach, Scarlet Road gets a lot of referrals from people who are being exploited or who have friends who are being exploited.

Scarlet Road also has a “comprehensive after-care” program, which helps women and girls who are leaving the sex industry.

“That works through a whole variety of support, everything from safety planning and basic needs and crisis planning to skill development and long-term transitional needs and educational support, employment support,” Ludlow said.

The after-care program is usually between 24 and 36 months long, she said, depending on the client’s needs and goals.

“In addition to the programs, some of the funds are going to be going to support the local drop-in center that we have in Bremerton,” Ludlow added. “That’s the only drop-in center available to women involved in exploitation. That’s a really critical need that we have, so just making sure that’s available (is important).”

Tickets for the fundraiser are $20 per person; group discounts are available. Purchase tickets online at scarletroad.org/restorehope. To volunteer, contact volunteer@scarletroad.org. To donate a basket, contact Rosie Ludlow at 360-551-2088 or email rosie@scarletroad.org.

Learn more about Scarlet Road at scarletroad.org.

Michelle Beahm is a reporter for the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at mbeahm@soundpublishing.com.

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