Carol, a highschool friend, told me about a group in Texas "We Are Cherished" that shares the Gospel with women in the sex trades. There are so many similarities to what we do for women offenders. I called founder, Polly Wright, and asked her for an interview. I know you will be blessed by her message.
Q. Your website states that your ministry is directed toward women in the sex trades. Can you tell us who that includes?
A. We help women in all parts of the industry including women who dance in strip clubs, prostitutes and escorts.
Q. "We Are Cherished." What a beautiful name for a ministry. How did you decide to call it that?
A. When asking God about what He thought of His daughters and how He saw us, He kept bringing up the word Cherished. And I loved the name “Cherished!” I looked up online to see what URLS already had Cherished and of course they were all taken. So I took it back to the Lord and He kept saying, “It’s not all about you it’s about all of My daughters!” You are Cherished! But because WE are all in this together WE ARE CHERISHED!!! By a beautiful and mighty King!
Q. What led you to choose this particular direction for reaching out to others?
A. I come from the industry myself. I used to be a dancer and all that encompasses that trade. The Lord grabbed my heart in 1999 and has been doing a mighty work since. After much healing through the Word of God & learning and pouring myself into His will for me, He started telling me approximately three years ago that my story was to be used for His Kingdom. I said “Yes” to Him in Aug. 2010.
Q. Is there a specific location for your ministry or are you only web-based?
A. We have our offices in Colleyville TX and service the Dallas/Fort Worth TX area. We take emails and phone calls from people outside of our area and try to help where we can with resources and encouragement.
Our website is also full of resources for women who may not want (or are not able) to contact us but would like help.
Q. The sex trades aren't readily visible to most of us. How do you find the women?
A. We actually go to the women in the strip clubs and take them gifts and an information card telling them that we are there for them if they need anything. If you do not have clubs in your area you might want to talk to your local police department about areas that seem heavier in prostitution. Please tread lightly though for the safety of the women and yourself. It can be dangerous for them if their pimp thinks they are trying to get free and get help. Please use caution and wisdom. I’ve heard of people talking with some of the motels and giving them free small bars of soap with help information on the wrappers. Also ads on buses. If God has put on your heart reaching out to the women in the industry ask Him who and how He wants you to proceed. He will guide you.
Q. What would you say are the most common reasons someone would enter this type of lifestyle?
A. Sixty-six to ninety-five percent of women in this industry have been sexually abused as children. So our perception of what love is has been twisted and warped. Our desire to be loved and accepted or “in control” of men may be some of the factors. Poverty and having no family support is also another draw for making money. Very few women get into this business that have not had some kind of trauma during their life.
Q. What kinds of services do you provide?
A. We Are Cherished provides a weekly dinner and support group on Wednesday nights. The support group is for women who are currently in the industry or have been out and just need support from women who have been there.
We provide a mentor program specifically designed to help women in the sex industry. Our hearts are to build a “community” a “family” around a woman and help her visualize her dreams as they were before the enemy took them away.
We help with resources such as budgeting, receiving or completing education. We assist in job searching and resume writing plus practice interviews.
We also have a Cherished Boutique that gives women a time to be spoiled for the precious daughters of God that they are! We help them pick out outfits and shoes and accessories to help her feel better about going to an interview and get a couple of outfits for everyday too! This is by appointment only so we can make sure each women gets her fair share of spoiling!
There are so many other ways we help. Most importantly, we help her see how God has always loved her and has a perfect promised plan for her. We help her see she is loved, valued and cherished by Him!
Q. Are the women open to being ministered to, or does it take some encouragement?
A. Most women receive us really well when we come into the clubs. Who doesn’t love a fun gift of earrings, lip gloss & lotion??? When they ask us why we are there we tell them because we love you and some of us have been in the business and want to tell you and encourage you and love you right where you are in life.
The women who call us are usually ready and in a place to be ministered too. We do not go into the clubs preaching the Gospel by mouth, we preach it by actions. We LOVE!
It has taken time to build relationships. There are approximately 65 clubs in the DFW area and we go monthly into 14-16 clubs. We are able to revisit each club every 3 months and the women are seeing we are investing time and love in them on a regular basis. We will be back again and again to tell them the same thing. That we love them!
Q. What age groups have you encountered in your work (youngest/oldest)?
A. We usually do not get ages and, maybe because I’m older now, the young women seem so much younger! LOL! You have to be 18 to dance in the state of TX but we do know that there are much younger girls in the clubs. The oldest dancer we know of is in her mid-forties. The average age for a prostitute is 12-14 years old. *Polaris Project (We have not encountered this as of yet because we are not reaching out directly with this type of industry yet.)
Q. What is the hardest part of your ministry?
A. The stories and not being able to “fix” the situation. God told me from the beginning, “It is not my job to save them it’s my job to love them.” Some of the stories are heart breaking but we just have to remember that God has them right where He wants them and He is doing a mighty work in their hearts and we must pray and be obedient to what He wants for them. Jesus NEVER gave up on me and many of the other women I know from this industry. I also struggle with not being able to help them financially get back on their feet or help subsidize their income just a bit so they don’t have to go back to dancing.
Q. What is the most rewarding part?
A. It is when their eyes are open to the heart God has knitted in them! When they get a job and are able to stop dancing or prostituting! When they see, for the first time, they are valued! When they break the cycle in their own families and build healthy relationships. The ultimate reward is when a woman will be able to be in this ministry helping other women who have been in her situation - when she realizes her story matters and has a greater purpose.
Q. Is there a way for others to help you in this ministry?
A. YES! There are so many volunteer opportunities in We Are Cherished! You can come to help stuff the 500-600 gifts a month for outreach.
You can volunteer your time in the Cherished Boutique helping women get “Clothed in Beauty and Grace." Or you can help sort clothes or do a clothes drive for the boutique.
PRAYER!!! If you are not in our area and or are not able to give time we always love prayer especially on outreach nights which are the 3rd Fridays of every month.
You can do a gift bag collection. We put lip gloss, fun earrings, 3-4oz lotions/body sprays, nail polish, make up in the gifts we take to the women.
You can also give a financial tax donation to We Are Cherished.
If you feel led to go into the clubs you will need to fill out a volunteer application and be trained.
To get more information on volunteering you can email us at volunteer@WeAreCherished.com
Q. Is there anything else you would like to tell my readers?
A. God is doing a mighty work in His daughters in this industry. When I had finally said “yes” to Him in Aug. 2010 I opened my Bible immediately to a verse He had put on my heart 7 years ago about my daughters.
“Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” Lamentations 2:19
He said, “Polly, these women are My children and I want you to go and love them.” I didn’t argue with Him from that point forth and He has blessed His daughters over and over again!
I am every statistic. I went into the industry because I thought that was all I was really made for. After a failed suicide attempt I hit rock bottom and left the industry. Years later God became real to me; because for so many years I hated Him. I didn’t understand why a God so great would have let all the horrible things that happened to me happen. But by His Grace and His Love and His Patience I finally saw Him for who He really is: A loving Father, a mighty King, a Friend.
Thank you so much for asking us to share our hearts for We Are Cherished!