Local woman dreams of opening home for child trafficking victims
In fourth grade former Gypsum Middle School teacher Ericka Smiley read a book about runaway girls. Since then she has wanted to open a home and be a mother to children in need.
Twenty years later, when Smiley was traveling in India, she decided she wanted to open a home to rescue children from trafficking. During her trip Smiley had ended up at an orphanage run by a missionary who purchased children being sold, so that pimps could not get them.
“The first time I saw those kids, I saw that they had hope in God and hope for their lives,” said Smiley. Smiley said it was then that she realized she wanted to be a mom for children facing such dire circumstances.
On Sept. 24, Smiley is taking her first major step towards opening her dream house. She is leaving Gypsum for a six-month Youth With A Mission discipleship training school in Hawaii. The focus of the program is learning about child trafficking and children with AIDS.
When Smiley finishes the program in March she hopes to be able to open her own house for children rescued or to volunteer in a similar house.
“I just don’t know what doors God will open and where,” said Smiley.
The training program Smiley is attending costs $10,500. Smiley has raised $5,000 so far and hopes to raise more money at a Hawaiian Potluck Luau at the Eagle Fairgrounds on Sept. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will include Hawaiian dancing, music, speeches, a Hawaiian pig roast and punch.
For more information about the event or Ericka Smiley’s mission call 317-709-5545. Please send donations to Smiley’s parents’ address: 2424 E. 91 Street, Indianapolis, IN 4624.
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