Joeline Magill has been the Executive Director of Hope Restored since 2019, but she was the cofounder and started doing research into this work in 2015. Sitting down with One Small Step, she told us that, “Jodi Kozan and I founded Hope Restored together, and we had five people on the original board. Now the board has grown to have eight board members and they’re looking to recruit new board members with finance, legal and medical background, along with survivors who have board competancies who wish to get involved.”
Hope Restored works tirelessly to help women and those who identify as women to escape sexual trafficking and exploitation and find hope. Joeline began to think about this population when she was at a presentation about child exploitation here in Saskatoon. When they talked about how children were exploited in our city, Joeline realised they were talking about the street that her paper route was on when she was a kid herself. She realised that things she saw at elementary school and in her neighbourhood were signs she hadn’t recognised at the time, and she understood that kids in her own class may have been exploited without her understanding. This jolt began a journey to understand and learn, meeting people who had been exploited, listening, reading and deepening her knowledge. Joeline’s own compassion and desire to put something forth that makes a difference inspires her daily work. She tells us, “A few names are those of people who inspire me daily, women I’ve met along the way. And my whys–the reason I do this work–grow every day.” She adds, “We fit with One Small Step well because we really believe in moving along a continuum one small step at a time. We celebrate someone feeling safe enough to sleep in their own room at night, we celebrate birthdays—one participant who had been in the industry had not had a birthday celebration in years. I find it such a privildge to see the drastic transformation in clients over time, but the small changes are what inspires me.”
The programming at Hope Restored are all part of a larger map toward healing. Hope Restored want to bring education across Saskatchewan so our community understands more of what’s going on: this reduces the myths and general stereotyping. Hope Restored wants to be a safe place for people. Women come to their programs and say: I feel like I can be safe here. I can be myself and share my true story.
“My larger hope is that we’re able to make a measurable impact for those who we get to work with,” Joeline says, sitting forward and speaking with passion. “We want to plant seeds of hope and that people can change and not be stuck in a cycle of exploitation. This industry is made up of horrific stories and we need to be able to sit in the uncomfortable and let people be unravelled if they need to be so we can be in the midst of it all with them.”
The biggest thing Hope Restored needs from our community is financial support to be able to continue and offer programs, safe places and community supports. They also need volunteers—extra hands on site. It does take a specific type of person to work with Hope Restored, but they also need help with mail outs and simple things, too, so think about how you might get involved.
Right now for the month of June, Hope Restored are doing a fundraiser and they’re looking for 20 new monthly donors and 25,000 dollars. Monthly donors give a gage of what is coming in every month and gives sustainable support for their work. They also do events with a cause where people can pledge their birthday or a special event in their life. Take a look HERE to find out more!
One Small Step asks Joeline what she wants our community to know, and she takes a moment to reply. “First and foremost, it’s crucial that people know this is happening here and not just overseas,” she says, giving us a glimpse of how she felt during that presentation years ago when she first connected those dots. “It happens all over our province,” she continues. “Understanding signs to watch for and how we as a community can work to be a safer space for people if they want to come forward with their stories or ask for assistance. We want our community to be willing to learn and to share what they’ve learned with someone in their life.”
If you want to recognise those signs, and if you can learn to do that, then that’s a good step for everyone in our community to take. Signs could be a younger person who suddenly has expensive items that they previously couldn’t afford, or someone in your life who has a new relationship and it seems like its moving too quickly and that person is becoming isolated from their previous supports. Traffickers themselves have an overexaggerated showing off of cars or money to say ‘if you come with me, look how fancy and excellent your life could be.’ To learn more, take some time with Hope Restored’s excellent YouTube video HERE.
If you feel inspired to support Hope Restored, donate to them directly today. Get to know them, volunteer with them, or reach out to see if you’re the right fit for their growing board. HERE‘s the link to donate!