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Student raises funds for victims of sex trafficking

Loomis sixth-grader's spaghetti feed to benefit Courage House
By: Kathy Maynard, Gold Country News Service
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Helping sexually exploited children has become a life purpose for a Loomis sixth-grader and her family. Sydney Jones, 11, is the driving force organizing this Saturday’s Community Spaghetti Feed and Concert to benefit Courage House, a home for girls rescued from sex trafficking. The event will be held at the Blue Goose Events Center at 6 p.m., Jan. 14. “Once we got involved with Courage House as a family, I had a passion for being a voice for girls, so I planned this spaghetti feed, with my mom’s help,” said Sydney. “We got enough sponsors and donations to pay for all the food and supplies, so 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly for the kids.” The event will feature a concert by The Music Room, a local band, who will also donate the proceeds from their next CD; a silent auction; and speaker Jenny Williamson, of Rocklin, with Courage To Be You, Inc. (C2BU) – the nonprofit organization which established Courage Houses in Northern California and Tanzania. Williamson originally founded C2BU to help people find their life purpose. After learning that the Sacramento area is a major crossroads for the sex trafficking of minors, she dedicated herself to building homes for these children. In the last four years, a special FBI Task Force has rescued over 200 sexually exploited kids, age 11 to 17 years in the Sacramento area. Without safe, supportive homes to return to, most of these vulnerable, abused and traumatized children cycle through the system and end up back on the streets, said Sydney’s mom, Danielle Jones. Courage House is one of two state licensed group homes for kids rescued from sex trafficking. Currently set up to house six children in a house on 52 acres in rural Northern California, C2BU is raising funds to add 10 cottages to provide homes for 60 more children. Courage House provides a safe and loving environment with specialized education, therapy and even an equine program to meet the unique needs of each child. “It’s not your typical program, it’s a long-term home where these kids can stay until they’re 22,” said Danielle Jones. “And we’ve taken it a step further as families. We find that the family model is healing so we bring kids home for a weekend or a night, integrate them into our home life and love them as our own.” The entire Jones family has embraced helping these girls as their life’s purpose. Danielle Jones works as C2BU’s volunteer director of advancement to raise funds. Her husband, Mark, owner of a landscape construction company called Turning Leaf, volunteers on the property team to expand the facilities. He and their oldest daughter, Jordyn, 15, a Foresthill High School student, are going to Tanzania this month to work on the Courage House. “We also provide resources for families and work in partnership with the FBI, Juvenile Hall, Child Protective Services and Koinonia Family Services to develop foster care and find emergency foster care families,” Danielle Jones said. More than 350 volunteers have paid to take their training to learn how to work with these kids, she said. According to Danielle Jones, a girl recently walked into Starbucks, in Loomis, and asked to borrow a phone from one of their trained volunteers. When the volunteer recognized the conversation was about trafficking, she called the group’s Compassion Response Team. Someone came to talk to the child and connected her back with her foster family. “There are so many ways for people to get involved. It’s amazing to see how people from so many different walks of life can change a life,” she said. _______ COURAGE HOUSE SPAGHETTI FEED AND CONCERT Who: Courage House, home for girls rescued from sex trafficking When: 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14 Where: Blue Goose Event Center Tickets: $25 adults, $10 children, 2 and under free Donations: Courage to Be You, 3031 Stanford Ranch Rd., Ste. 2, #433, Rocklin, 95765 Contact: 997-6523 or c2bu.org/events