Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $946,152)
Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE), in collaboration with HEAL Refugee Health and Asylum Collaborative (HEAL), will implement the Steps to Success project to address the unique needs and challenges of adolescent and young adult, foreign-born trafficking survivors in Maryland. Over the course of the grant, Steps to Success will provide trauma-informed, and person-centered services to 100-Spanish speaking, foreign-born, labor and sex trafficking survivors between the ages of 15 and 25. Project activities include connecting survivor youth to social, academic, employment, and skill building opportunities (AWE); establishing a Survivor Youth Advisory Board (AWE and HEAL); providing psychoeducation, crisis counseling, and other support services through a community health worker (AWE and HEAL); facilitating group support activities, including peer support groups, healthy relationships workshops, and field trips (AWE and HEAL); and providing individual clinical mental health counseling services through a licensed therapist (HEAL). Expected outcomes include the creation of opportunities for foreign-born survivor youth to build social, academic, and vocational networks; the inclusion and engagement of survivor youth in program and service design and implementation; enhanced provision of holistic and trauma-informed services adapted to the individual needs of the survivor; access to developmentally appropriate, linguistically and culturally responsive, and evidenced-based mental health services; and the development of an interdisciplinary team to address the needs of foreign-born survivor youth in Baltimore and the surrounding counties. The project will be open to Spanish-speaking, adolescent and young adult, foreign-born human trafficking survivors ages 15 through 25 across the state of Maryland, with priority given to survivors in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll, Harford, Washington, and Frederick counties due to their geographic proximity to AWE and the absence of appropriate resources and services for survivors in these areas. Steps to Success will allow AWE and HEAL to build on existing programs and partnerships and enhance survivor access to the comprehensive services and support they need to begin to heal and live with safety, stability, and self-sufficiency.