By Bailey Basham
A PBS documentary aired last week on sex trafficking which included a lengthy report on trafficking in Trevecca’s neighborhood.
By Bailey Basham
By Bailey Basham
On Friday, Nov. 14th, Trevecca students, local professionals, and members of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities gathered in the Boone Convocation Center at Trevecca Nazarene University for a conference on human trafficking.
“Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” was designed to bring local agencies together to educate students, practitioners and members of the public on human sex and labor trafficking as a local issue rather than something that only happens in faraway places.
“This is a real issue, not some fictitious thing in a book. This is a real problem, and it’s happening to real people, right here in our community,” said Ron Maurer, director of the social work department.
Trevecca partnered with End Slavery Tennessee to raise awareness on the issue and what resources exist in Nashville to help.
“Being in Nashville gives Trevecca access to different agencies and government bodies to connect and work with. We hope to work with those agencies to integrate more into the community and let the Nashville area see that Trevecca really cares,” said Maurer.
The conference was divided into two sections: the first covered laws and policies, and the second dealt with therapy practices and treatment for victims.
Educating social workers and local agencies on the issue and how to handle current cases is crucial in the relief of the problem.
“The majority of the time, it’s the social service workers that are identifying these cases of sex trafficking,” said Peabody College research analyst Jill Robinson.
In 2011, 85 counties in Tennessee reported at least one case of human trafficking. In Davidson County more than 100 cases of minor trafficking were reported in the same year.
Founded in 2011 by Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch, The Hannah Project is a program that provides resources and education opportunities for women who have been victims of human trafficking. With about 10 opportunities per year for these women to participate in the program and almost 800 women in the past three years, Welch said that Nashville is serving as a model for the rest of Tennessee.
“It’s really easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t happen in Nashville, but it does. This is a reality,” said Welch.
Similar to the Hannah Project in regards to an educational opportunity for those involved in human trafficking, Nashville’s John School is a program that focuses on sharing the stories of the victims and how they are affected by their experiences in the trafficking circuit with the men who were arrested for solicitation.
“The goal is to shock them with the facts. After that, we hope that they will be informed enough to teach their sons and educate their brothers. They need to know that this is not okay,” said Welch.
In the courtroom, the fight against human trafficking looks a little bit different.
While the numbers of victims and cases of trafficking in Nashville are very large, seldom is there a professional who is willing to take on the prosecution of these crimes and work toward a conviction.
Immigration attorney Dawn Gerhard spoke at the conference about how, oftentimes, those coming to the states from different countries can be victims of human trafficking without even realizing it.
“There is no such thing as domestic violence in some cultures because it is the job of the man to make sure the woman is obedient; some don’t know what’s being done to them is wrong,” said Gerhard. “It’s the job of people like me to be aware of the resources and services to help them.”
Participants said they learned a lot.
“The conference was really eye opening on what human trafficking currently looks like and how we are beginning to stop it by intervening with victims, offenders, and potential offenders as well as educating the community on the issue,” said junior social work major Annah Hite.
By Bailey Basham
For five years Jason Adkins has been running a farm at Trevecca and teaching social justice majors courses on environmental justice.
Now, the wider Nazarene church will have access to some of this training.
Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and manager of the urban farm, and Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice have teamed up to write a small-group curriculum for churches and missionaries about the theology of creation care.
“It’s all online, and it is free so anyone can access it. It’s just another way we at the university are able to serve as a resource to the Nazarene denomination,” said Casler.
The program is in the final development stages and will consist of a video series and discussion-generating study guides.
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc. will provide any churches, missionary organizations, nonprofits and other interested groups with course materials outlining the basics of the creation care theology and what needs to be done to start and maintain a community garden.
Creation care is a form of ministerial evangelism with a focus on stewardship of the environment, the reconstruction and preservation of the world, and environmental sustainability from a theological standpoint.
“It’s about being part of God’s life-giving works,” said Adkins. “It’s to help people understand discipleship as the business of the church.”
Taken from the NCMI website, the care of creation is as fundamentally important as the care of physical bodies. “These are the vessels and dwelling places that God has given us to inhabit, and just as we are only given one body in which to live we are also only given one earth.”
Adkins developed a curriculum by which the targeted reconstruction and preservation objectives could be met. He said the program came about as an outgrowth of personal vocation to creation and farming.
“For the past five years, I’ve been looking at the ways the environment is evolving. Thinking on and writing curriculum for students, and teaching and learning about how they respond; what works and what doesn’t,” said Adkins. “In the classroom, we look at the ways humans presently support their basic needs. In looking at these life systems, we find that they are in crisis. We explore the ways in which they are in crisis and the ways in which we can change that by choosing to live responsibly for the benefit of creation and future generations.”
This model requires personal and societal changes. The focus of the curriculum is on what those changes might entail, said Adkins.
“Four years after the program was started, the NCMI board toured the farm, and it was decided that a partnership would benefit in informing the Nazarene people about discipleship and the discipline of caring for creation,” said Adkins. “We created a program with a theological foundation of practical ways for people to enact the creation care model where they are.”
The goal of creation care is to educate the public on the understanding that it is a Christian responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.
“A lot of times, the things we relate to environmentalism are things that we see as being very remote to us; the polar bears, chaining ourselves to trees, etc. One of the things we want to encourage is the breakdown of the idea that we’re not a part of everything else. There can be a harmony. We can be a part of the world and make it better. All we have to do is start where we are,” said Adkins.
By Bailey Basham
The community is invited to join the conversation Friday, Nov. 14 in Boone Convocation Center.
The goal of the program “Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” is to serve as a catalyst to create dialogue both on campus and in the community, to raise awareness for the issue, and to educate students, community members, and professionals on the policies and treatment concerning human trafficking.
Speakers at the workshop will include Jill Robinson of Vanderbilt University, Matt Dixon of the Metro Police Department, Antoinette Welch from the District Attorney’s office, intervention specialist Sheila McClain, Lizedny De la Rosa of End Slavery Tennessee, and founder of Freedom’s Promise, Amber Barron.
To reserve your place at the workshop, register here. This event is free for all Trevecca students, $10 for all non-TNU students, and $35 for professionals looking to earn CEU credits.
by Sydney Wiseman
Five private international schools, four countries, and three different languages.
Lexi Sunberg, freshman social justice major, is adapting to life at Trevecca after spending all her growing up years on the mission field.
Sunberg was born in Kansas City and then was moved to Russia when she was just five-weeks-old. Her parents are missionaries.
“I know a lot of people who don’t enjoy it. It’s normal life to me. I love it,” said Sunberg on the life of a missionary kid, “I really like to travel, meeting people, and hearing stories. There are some pretty awesome people out there.”
Sunberg and her family lived in Russia for two years and then moved to Bulgaria where they stayed for 13 years, and Hungary for three years. Sunberg is in the United States now attending Trevecca but her father and mother along with her three younger sisters still reside in Hungary. They have been in the ministry for 20 years.
Even though Sunberg is living in the U.S. for now, she doesn’t call it home.
“Bulgaria is my hometown. I love America and Hungary but Bulgaria is my country,” Sunberg said.
While in Bulgaria, Sunberg and her family did a lot of compassionate ministries. Bulgaria has a high gypsy population. They would go to villages and host vacation bible school. Sunberg was in charge of the crafts at VBS and they were expecting around 100 kids… 300 showed up instead.
Sunberg is a social justice major in hopes for working oversees and becoming a teacher when she graduates college. Sunberg feels that whatever she does will always be missions because she grew up in the world of missions.
“I don’t know if God is calling me to missions as a career but I will always be a missionary,” Sunberg said.
Rebecca Merrick, international student advisor, said that Sunberg is really adapting well to the life at Trevecca. Even though Trevecca establishes a friendly, Christian, environment, there are some challenges for international students.
“One of the challenges is finding friends. It is easy to find friendly classmates but it isn’t the same as finding friends,” Merrick said.
Emily Mowry, freshman and friend to Sunberg, said that they have a lot in common and enjoy one another’s company.
“We can talk about a lot of stuff and we like a lot of the same stuff. It’s cool,” said Mowry.
Mowry admires Sunberg’s ability to go with the flow and how calm she appears to be.
“You can tell culture shock well but Lexi is really good at going with the flow,” said Mowry.
Sunberg has made friendships even through the difficultness of coming to college on her own. Mowry said that when Sunberg and her family came to Trevecca to move in, Sunberg had one suitcase. The rest they had to buy.
Sunberg said that there is one piece of advice that she wants people to know from a missionary kid standpoint:
“If you go overseas, don’t try to change people. Love people. It goes a lot farther.”
By Bailey Basham
Every summer high school students from Nashville Metro Public Schools spend their days on the Trevecca Urban Farm.
The goal is to introduce students to farming as a way of life.
By demonstrating for the students ways in which they could enact the model of farming as a livelihood in their own communities, fresher foods and healthier options are no longer as difficult to find locally.
“It’s easier to find a gun in this neighborhood than it is a tomato, or at least it used to be,” said Jason Adkins, manager of the Trevecca urban farm and environmental projects coordinator for the university.
The goal of the program is to educate these students on farming practices and to show them practical ways in which they could apply what they had learned to better their communities and lives.
Over the summer, 18 student participants represented nine nations.
With hands on experience on the farm and classroom education by way of videos and discussions, the students who participated left with a new understanding of farming as a vocation and with new connections in the Nashville area.
“A lot of these students had a really hard time in their countries of origin and came as immigrants off their farms into America. It was the hope of the camp to facilitate a reconnection with the soil and animals, a chance to put down roots in a new place by connecting to their agricultural past,” said Adkins. “We spent 5 days teaching them everything we know.”
Coming from different places around the world, each student had a different perspective to offer on farming practices.
“We got to learn from them about international farming and teach about nutrition, the way the American food system operates, and how and why it works or doesn’t work,” said Adkins.
Goats, chickens, pigs, worms, fish, bees, and guard dogs provided the students with lessons in animal husbandry alongside the experience of working in the gardens composting the soil and harvesting produce.
“There were a variety of projects for the students to work on. They planted trees and worked with the animals, in the gardens, and with composting. There was some sort of project and chore for them everyday. This way, they were able to get an overall feel,” said director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice, Jamie Casler.
At the end of the week, campers got the chance to reap what they had sown. Cooking demonstrations with the produce they had helped grow and family-style meals that allowed them to taste the freshest foods available provided the chance for the students to see and experience the benefits of a hard day’s work in the gardens.
By Bailey Basham
The social justice club at Trevecca Nazarene University is working toward bridging the gap between issues in social justice and Christian-oriented solutions.
The club is made up of about 25 students from all disciplines who share a common passion: to enact social justice where justice is due.
Previously known as the International Justice Mission Club, the name was changed as the focus of the club was broadened, said Jamie Casler, Director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice.
“The purpose of the club is mainly to educate students, make them more aware of social justice issues, and to engage them in social justice opportunities for service,” said Taylor Flemming, social justice major and member of the club’s leadership team.
In the past, the club has worked to organize events that educated on issues like slavery, immigration, human trafficking, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and the water crisis in Africa.
This semester, it is the hope of the club and leadership team to participate in the End It movement to raise awareness for the nearly 27 million men, women, and children that are trapped in slavery and to provide students with involvement opportunities by way of film forums, guest speakers, clothing drives, and service projects.
“We want to try to educate students on issues that are often neglected or forgotten about. There is still so much injustice, and we want to get students thinking about it,” said Flemming.
by Rebekah Warran, Staff Writer
This summer, the Urban Farm received a $25,000 grant from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) to serve the local Nashville community.
NCM is an organization that partners with the Nazarene churches around the world to help those in need.
The region that surrounds Trevecca, particularly the Napier and Chestnut Hill areas, are considered to be a food desert,” said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
“The people in our community do not have access to healthy foods within three to five miles,” he said.
The money donated with go to multiple projects that are taking place in the farm.
Some will go to green house development and expansion and the majority will go to camps that bring high school students from around the area and around the world to learn about farming in an urban setting.
“We are seeing to educate and inspire people to understand issues surrounding nutrition and health,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and overseer of the Urban Farm.
Local students will have the opportunity to learn how to grow their own crops and take care of them. The funds will help with staff support, especially in the summer.
“It will also pay high school students to work part time… learning how to farm and leading others,” said Adkins.
For the local community, the work of the urban farm will have a long-term impact with the potential to shape the way future generations handle food consumption and how well they care for themselves.
“We surround them with the resources, love and care that they need to grow their own food,” said Casler.
By Bailey Basham
Compassion currently provides food, education, and security for nearly 1.6 million children living in poverty around the world in 26 different countries.
This experience is designed to show its participants a world that is unlike any other they have been exposed to before.
“The Compassion Experience allows people of opportunity to see what life was like for these Compassion graduates and will hopefully spark some ideas for how they might be able to work towards a solution,” said Heather Daugherty, associate chaplain at Trevecca.
As a part of this experience, visitors are given an iPod and pair of headphones through which the true stories of Compassion graduates are shared.
The mobile experience at Trevecca offered two tour options: a walk through the life of Julian Alum, a young girl from Kampala, Uganda whose family fell into poverty after the death of her father, and Ruben, a boy who grew up in Bolivia in a broken home ravished by poverty and abuse.
Once inside the mobile replicas, visitors get to explore the homes, the Compassion schools, and the streets where the children worked.
At the end of the tour, a video is shown on each person’s iPod showing just how much Compassion benefited Julian and Reuben. Julian was able to attend university where she earned her master’s in social work, and Ruben was able to escape poverty and graduate from high school.
“It was a really cool experience, especially since we each got to hear and see the things that Reuben did,” said sophomore Abigail Larimore.
For more information about Compassion, child sponsorships, and their mobile ministries, visit their website by clicking here.
By Emily Mowry
On the last day of Trevecca’s annual Social Justice Conference, the speaker gave attendees a reason to go home.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, pastor of the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in Manhattan, challenged conference participants to begin the work of justice by listening in their communities.
“The first job of justice workers is to listen,” Salguero told attendees. “Because to respond to a challenge that is nonexistent… or to defend where the devil is not attacking, is to become an ally of the devil.”
Salguero, as president of National Latino Evangelical Coalition, has spent hours listening to immigrants as he’s led efforts to welcome and care for the 52,000 immigrant children who have poured across U.S. borders this year.
His work with the coalition focuses on poverty, immigration, and education and landed him an invitiation over the summer to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss how the should respond to immigration issues.
“To learn is to invite people in. To invite people in churches, have listening sessions, have dialogues, have forums,” he said.
He suggested bringing in immigrants and undocumented students at Trevecca and giving them a chance share their stories.
Just before Salguero spoke, he was presented with the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Award. Each year the center gives this award to someone who has been a catalyst for social justice. Jamie Casler, director of the center, explained his reasons for choosing Salguero this year.
“He is an outstanding model of biblical social justice, someone I’d like our students to look up to and to follow in his footsteps,” Casler said.
Welcome to micahmandate.com, the online magazine for the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.