How much is a life worth? For those at Wellspring Living, an organization that serves survivors of sexual exploitation, the value is innumerable. This is one of the reasons CDH Partners decided to offer design services for the renovation and facelift of a Wellspring’s new upscale thrift store in Marietta. This store and others like it provide financial help for girls, who were caught up in sex trafficking.
Leaders for Wellspring say their mission is very straight forward: help as many victims as possible to develop the courage to move forward to a point where they realize their full potential and create a plan to fulfill their dreams for the future.
Girls come to Wellspring with emotional, mental, and physical brokenness etched throughout their lives. Their self-esteem is shattered and in many cases they don’t believe there is a future or any hope. Wellspring offers both of these and much more. This is the second reason the Marietta design firm was attracted to Wellspring. There was an opportunity to step in and give what they could so girls from all ages could live fully and freely.
One example of a fresh start at life is Ashley, who is 17-years old and whose story is briefly outlined on the flyleaf of one of the organization’s brochures. “My mom never understood,” she said. “So I left . . . . As I stood at the bus stop crying, a guy walked up to me and asked what was wrong.
“I thought, Finally! Someone cares!” Ashley quickly discovered just how wrong that thought was! She was taken to a place to live with a man she evidently called “Daddy.” He locked her and five other girls in a closet and each night they emerged and were forced to meet their quota of $2,000.
“Man after man after man came in,” said Ashley. Weeks later, she was arrested and ended up in a detention center. Shortly after that, she was given the opportunity to go to Wellspring Living. “They looked at me differently there. Even when I was at my worst, they pointed out my strengths. They cared.”
Wellspring Living is an Atlanta-based, non-profit organization that rescues girls from the sex trafficking industry. CDH architect, Andrew Savage was introduced to the organization through volunteer work at his church. “A few years ago, the people at Wellspring learned that by operating higher-end thrift stores, they could use the proceeds to make a bigger impact and help more girls.
“When I heard they needed architectural services for a new store in Marietta, I presented the need to the leadership at CDH Partners, and they were eager to help. We developed a tenant ‘build-out’ plan so Wellspring Living could obtain the needed permits for their new Marietta store.”
With the combined efforts of many volunteers and local churches the store opened and has been a great success. “I’m honored,” says Andrew, “to have played a small part in the great work that Wellspring Living is doing. It is a way for us to give back to the community but in a far greater way, it gives us an opportunity to help these girls have a new start in life.”