Local group helps women soar with upcoming Wings of Courage

Clarkston News Staff Writer
Women’s Life of Clarkston is partnering with Sanctum House giving women their wings to soar during Wings of Courage on Sunday, October 10 from 1-4 p.m. at Oakland County International Airport.
“We are excited about it,” said Jill Goss from the Clarkston chapter of Women’s Life. “It will be a fun afternoon. It all fits together with Wings of Courage and the hangar. We love working with Sanctum House, too.”
“It’s going to be early fall – it’s going to be nice,” added Karen Moore, executive director of Sanctum House.
Tickets are $100 each and includes flights of beer and wine, food from Sidecar Slider Bar and a live performance by The Rick Lieder Band. There is also a silent auction and a wish wall.
All money raised goes to the Sanctum House, a sanctuary for women survivors of human trafficking.
“It’s a residential program. Women live there for about two and a half years because of the trauma they have experienced,” Moore explained. “We are one of the few programs like this in the country because we have staff 24/7. We offer comprehensive and integrated care.”
Sanctum House is a 6,000-square foot facility which used to be a group home. There are large bedrooms allowing two per bedroom with two walk-in closests and one bathroom. It is for adult women, ages 18 years old and older. The women come voluntarily.
“We treat concurring disorders because of trauma,” Moore said. “These women have been trafficked for months. Some for decades.”
When a new resident arrives, they get two weeks of down time so they learn they are safe and can get used to living in the home.
Moore added most of the women arrive struggling with addiction which include drugs, alcohol or both. “Sometimes it’s a means of control by the trafficker. Sometimes it’s for survival – to shut out what’s happening to them every night, five to six times a night. They just want to forget.”
Sanctum House has a holistic program treating mind, body and soul.
“We have trauma specialists, therapists who deal with trauma,” Moore said, adding the women get into long term therapy and have individual and group therapy sessions.
They also work with a healthcare provider.
“Their traffickers didn’t care if they were healthy,” Moore said. “One of the interesting things we have found is once the women get there, their body relaxes and they start to feel safe, they have every ailment. Nobody cared to take care of it so your body just suppresses it.”
Moore added each woman has their own journey and individual goals.
“It can happen to anybody,” Moore said, adding one of the residents was an attorney. “It usually happens for the most educated is their lives change and they are vulnerable. They are searching and traffickers are so smart – they are looking for the vulnerable.”
The women also receive life skills training which includes cooking, cleaning, gardening, doing finances. They also expand to hobbies with crafting and bike riding.
“We get them on a path to heal then when they are ready we provided education,” Moore said. “Some are working on their high school. Some want to go to college. Some do a trade skill. Whatever they want we find a way to get it for them.
“It’s a structured program and more freedom as they move on,” Moore added. “They get a job and they transition to moving out. We work with them to find an apartment and save money to get a car.”
Sanctum House has served almost 70 women over the course of its years serving the local community.
“Each story is different and some take two and a half years and some after eight months say they are okay, ‘I have my internal strength,’” Moore said.
For more information or to purchase tickets for Wings of Courage, visit www.sanctumhouse.

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