Jeff Wilbarger – #VoicesofJAF
July 12, 2016 by mitchellcohen
We believe that celebration is inspiration, and that by telling incredible stories about Jefferson Award winners, we inspire more people to participate in public service. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing stories from our National Ceremony, where Jefferson Award winners talked about their service and how winning a Jefferson Award magnifies their efforts and boosts their impact. They are the #VoicesofJAF.
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In June Jeff Wilbarger won a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities. He is the Director of the Daughter Project, which is a recovery home for girls rescued from human trafficking.
When Jeff received a book about trafficking called ‘Not for Sale’ from his son-in-law in 2008, he knew he had to act. “I thought slavery was over, at least in the U.S.” he said. “But the book proved that was a lie and I knew I could not continue living my comfortable, American, Christian life and not do something to help.” Jeff set out to volunteer, yet discovered that despite there being over 100,000 children in the United States who are victims of sex trafficking, there are only several shelters throughout the country. Called to serve, he set out to form his own.
I’m very glad to accept this award. It’s a great honor, a great blessing, and the most exciting thing for me is that it’s going to raise awareness about trafficking, raise awareness about the Daughter Project, that maybe it will rally people around to address this issue and help solve this problem.
Since its founding, The Daughter Project has helped 12 girls between the ages of 13 and 17, offering abuse and addiction counseling, family and friend restoration, health and nutrition education, medical care, legal counsel, and spiritual mentorship. The goal is to care for them, protect them, provide any resources they need, and get them back to their families. Jeff is determined to help even more children rescued from trafficking, and he believes winning a Jefferson Award will “raise awareness about trafficking, raise awareness about the Daughter Project, that maybe it will rally people around to address this issue and help solve this problem.”
Jeff Wilbarger is a math teacher at Emmanuel Christian Academy in Toledo. He was selected by The Toledo Blade, WTVG 13, and Buckeye Cable System to represent the Toledo area at our National Ceremony.
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