Jayla’s Journey to Freedom

December 15, 2022

This holiday season, support girls like Jayla.

Jayla describes herself as a “smart, funny, and talented girl with big dreams of being a graphic designer.” According to Dallas County courts, she is also a teenager with a history of drug abuse and a high risk of relapsing into criminal behavior once she leaves the juvenile detention center. Jayla turns 18 next year and has always been concerned about how she will care for herself once she ages out of her guardian’s home. Since 60-70% of trafficked children in the U.S. come from child social services, Jayla is also at high risk of various forms of exploitation due to economic vulnerability.

When Jayla joined the Youth Workforce Development Program, she was shy and melancholy. Over time during the workforce training sessions and work exposure events, we started to see her come alive and be more vocal about her career goals.

The Youth Workforce Development Program training sessions educated Jayla on personal finance basics, resume writing, and business etiquette, like showing up to work 10-15 minutes early. Jayla always wondered if someone with her background could make it in a creative industry like graphic design. But at a design panel event that Nomi Network hosted, Jayla learned about many famous designers and illustrators who overcame difficult upbringings similar to hers and became successful. One of the panelists reminded her that “she can do anything she puts her mind to.”

Jayla completed the workforce training phase of our program in late summer, and she is now seeing our case manager, who walked her through making her five-year plan. Jayla is also being paired with a graphic designer who will serve as a personal and professional mentor to Jayla. However, Jayla’s most immediate need is work experience and a stable income, especially since she will have to live on her own once she turns 18. Our case manager is teaching Jayla that success is not always linear and that she will need to find a job to pay her bills and invest in the future she desires.

Jayla will be onboarded for her first paid internship in a few short weeks, where she will be working in sales for a tech company in our network of corporate partners. Jayla is eager to hone her professional skills and earn money in a dignified way. She will be paid above minimum wage, and she plans to start saving towards a graphic design associate’s program that she can start in a few years. She told the panel of designers, “I was going to give up on my dream and settle, but you inspired me to keep them alive.”

With continued case management and mentorship, Nomi Network will support Jayla as she works towards her goal of becoming a graphic designer and gaining invaluable transferable skills at her new internship. She knows the journey won’t be easy, but we are confident and hopeful about the significant steps that Jayla is taking toward her future success!

Help build a world free from human trafficking this holiday season. If you want to help more women and girls from challenged economic backgrounds reach freedom and THRIVE like Jayla, donate today at the button below. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar and will help survivors, women, and girls throughout India, Cambodia, and Dallas overcome barriers to safe, sustainable employment.

*For privacy purposes, this story is a composite representation of real U.S. clients.

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