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NOTEBOOK: Floorboard turned symbol of ‘reclaimed lives’


For a recent story, I watched the demolition of a 131-year-old home on the Dorothy’s House campus. The organization, which provides a safe place and programming for survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, launched a $500,000 capital campaign to rebuild at the property. In doing so, they’re adding more bedrooms to their campus and creating a better space for programming. 

Kellie Markey, founder of Dorothy’s House, was among those on hand to watch the demolition. The emotion was clearly visible on her face — while a new beginning, it’s always hard to see something go. That emotion was perfectly captured in a binder provided to me with an overview of the capital campaign. But it wasn’t your ordinary campaign flyer. 

When you open the binder, the first thing you see is a chunk of wood glued to the opening page. Underneath, it reads: “This board holds memories. Of pain shed. Of hope gained. It holds promise of reclaimed lives.” Then in smaller text: “These floorboards served to hold up the girls in our transitional living home and we are happy to share them with you as we rebuild our home.” 

The binder also includes poems from survivors, which help portray the complex challenges they face. Illustrations and photos show the programs focused on healing, while also calling attention to the staggering statistics about the survivors they serve. At a time when there are so many ways to share a message, the materials put together embraced the uniqueness of the situation and story the organization wanted to tell.

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