Washington Students Advocate for Social Justice

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Eleventh graders Danielle Van Zanten and Lexi Blom, both members of First Christian Reformed Church in Mount Vernon, Wash., are raising cash and awareness for victims of sex slavery and human trafficking.

After studying issues of social justice at Mount Vernon Christian High School, Danielle and Lexi decided to raise $6,300 for International Justice Mission, an organization that rescues victims of sex slavery, helps prosecute individuals who held victims captive, and funds recovery efforts. This amount would cover the cost of a rescue operation.

“When I learned about the victims and read some of their stories I wanted to do something right away, but I didn’t know what,” said Lexi. “I knew that I could pray for them, but I thought that I should be doing more.”

The girls, along with three of their friends, invited parents to drop off their children and enjoy a “kid free” evening. Two of these “big playdates” have raised $2,307 so far. “The generosity and support that we have experienced by completing these events has blown me away! People are so encouraging and want to help us because they believe in our cause,” Lexi said.

Besides hearing stories about human trafficking victims, the girls are raising awareness in their area. “Personally, what I have most enjoyed about this project is the community that it has built encompassing a great cause,” said Danielle. “This project has become a way that I can make a difference and share with the people around me what is on my heart.”

Their pastor, John Knoester, said, “It’s always exciting to observe young people discover the joy of living lives of service to others in the name of Jesus Christ. The enthusiasm and passion they have to proactively live out their faith is contagious.”

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.

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