Phoenix Suns Charities have donated $100,000 to a learning center to help sex-trafficking victims receive an education and avoid a life on the streets.
The project, which has been in the works for three years, came to fruition at the Phoenix Dream Center campus on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Phoenix Dream Center provides housing, clothing and food assistance to people in need, but the money the Suns provided will specifically go to helping female human-trafficking victims and at-risk youth. The focus will be to help women attain a GED or high-school diploma and provide preparation for college.
The learning center is equipped with tablets, computers, study areas, a children’s play area, and books focusing on the GED exam. The donation from both the Suns and Verizon helped fund the construction of the center and education efforts provided by the Dream Center.
Sarah Krahenbuhl, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities, said she hopes the center better prepares women for college. Though the center has given women college scholarships since 2009, she said some of the women weren’t ready for higher education.
“Now they have access and connectivity,” she said. “Hundreds of women can learn and now advance their lives.”
One of the most important parts of the center is an area for children. Karma, a woman who did not give her last name because she is a sex-trafficking victim going through the program, said women can now focus on their studies in the center and not act as a babysitter while they are there.
Ann Meyers Drysdale, vice president of the Suns and the Mercury, told the women in a speech that she knew they faced difficult challenges, but provided words of inspiration.
“Silent women don’t make history,” she said. “Know that there is always hope. Know that there is always someone there for you. Know that there is always someone to talk to.”
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