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From an Resident ’s Perspective
Freedom, a resident's poem
His strong claws wrap chains around,
Tight to his needs I’m bound.
His fangs are deep in my throat,
Blood given for him to gloat.
His sharp stare cuts deep in me,
Spears my heart I give for free.
His venom eats at my soul,
Pleasing him my only goal.
His enormous weight I bare,
Sinks me straight into his lair.
From the cold depths I submit,
To treatment that’s decrepit.
My vision fades deepest black,
What can save and bring me back?
Inner strength is found in all,
Seek it and break down that wall.
Freedom I want and will get,
I struggle but will not quit!
Fight for my life I will win,
Not to try would be a sin.
Happiness and Peace will be—
Reward for those that break free.
From an Advocate’s Perspective
August 22, 2006:
We met a 19 year old, second generation prostitute, who had been stopped by a beat officer out of South Patrol. She was searched and found to be clean, so I approached her about our project.
She had been in detox for her crack addiction and would have gone into treatment but didn’t have the resources to pay for it. She was back on the streets with no money, no place to sleep and headed for a notorious drug house in the neighborhood. She stated she was still clean and hadn’t used in 1 ½ days, but probably would when she got some money.
I talked with her about the project and she listened, but really began to pay attention when I told her I knew she was worth much more than what this type of life afforded her. She began crying and said she wanted to be different, but this was the only way of life she knew. She also has a 23 year old sister who is doing the same thing. Her mother is very willing to go into treatment and wants to get her youngest daughter off the streets if possible. I gave her the care package, along with the tip card and my name. I shared with her that the decision was hers. She can call and ask for my help when she’s ready to get clean, and get help in securing her GED which could help lead to a different job. She was particularly happy to get the care package and said she wanted to use it that evening.
By the next evening her mother was in detox and headed for treatment. We looked for her on the streets and found her in a motel with her “boss”. She was getting ready to go to her second job (works for an escort service 3 evenings a week) and was very appreciative of being able to wash her hair, use soap to take a bath and had cleaned up better than she had in over a month. She is not planning to come into the project at this time, but I feel we have planted the seed which may take more nurturing to grow. Time will tell!
# # #
The next woman we met was approximately 36 years old, addicted to meth and was reluctant to open up about her lifestyle. When confronted by the officer with me, she did admit that she used and would like to get out of this type of life because she had just been beaten by her “partner” for being rude to his mother. She showed me the bruises and cuts/scrapes and told me more about the incident. She moved back here from Las Vegas because she had family in the area. The family has completely severed their contact with her because of what she is doing. She has lost her children and was hoping this current partner would help her build a new life. When the officer stepped away, she opened up and began crying because she hates what she has become. I explained the program to her and gave her the care package, which she was very happy to receive. She wanted to go find her friend who would help her retrieve her belonging from the man who had just abused her and then she wanted to contact us and make the move to enter the project. She was sobbing and hugging me saying she had not been treated this kindly in quite some time and she didn’t think there were nice people left in the world anymore. I reminded her that the choice was hers but that we would help when she made the call and was ready to move forward in finding a different life. I don’t know if we will hear from her again, but I am hopeful!
# # #
August 23, 2006:
We encountered a 42 year old woman walking the south Broadway corridor around 7:30 p.m. She denied that she was prostituting, using drugs or had no where to live at first. When the officer with me confronted her about the color of her teeth, the burn calluses on her hand and the fact that she was very dirty, she finally admitted the truth.
She used to work in the local aircraft industry (at Cessna) and got layed off after 14 years. She denied that she had ever used drugs before the loss of her job. She then lost her house, her children and said she had no choice but to take to the streets to make a living. She is addicted to crack and marijuana and has been on the streets for approximately 2 months. She wasn’t sure she wanted help from us but listened quietly while I explained the project. She cried when I gave her the care package because she hadn’t had a bath or washed her hair in many days. She had a place to sleep for the night and wanted to know if she could call me later if she wanted to get help. I assured her the choice was hers and I would be happy to assist whenever she was ready.
She stated that she didn’t care for this lifestyle and was very ashamed of what she was doing. I told her we were not there to judge her in any way, just to offer help when she was ready to take it. She thanked me again for the care package and left us walking back toward the motel where she said she was staying for the night. She pays for her room by providing “favors” for the manager and then works the streets to support her drug habit. Currently she does not work for a “boss” but admitted that it was just a matter of time before that happens!
# # #
We stopped a person who looked like she was about 15 years old in a motel parking lot. She was hanging out with a guy in a white car and when asked what she was doing told us the guy was her brother and they were leaving to go to the grocery store. She said she was 21 years old and was not doing anything unlawful. When asked if she was using she said no and walked back toward the car. She definitely was not 21 years old, and she showed signs of using drugs of some kind. The motel manager said she has frequent visitors of another race in her room and that someone besides her pays the bill.
This situation will require more watching by the police and possible follow-up. She could be an ideal candidate for the project, but if underage, will probably be admitted to the juvenile justice system.
# # #
A redhead, approximately 19 years of age, working on South Broadway contacted Officer Diehl. He worked with her for several days trying to get her off the streets and into a safe place until we could get our fledgling program up and running. She was impatient at best and nervous about what would happen to her.
She ran once, and then surfaced late one night requesting help. The officers at Patrol South picked her up and brought her into shelter for safety for the remainder of the night. When I encountered her the next morning, she was somewhat “foggy” but compliant and was taken into the Project Butterfly program by agreeing to enter into drug inpatient treatment. She stayed there approximately 30 days and then walked away one day with another patient. We didn’t hear from her for several days. Finally she surfaced and notified us that she was back living with a sister in the area and working on staying clean (she had not yet used again after being in our project). She did not go back to the streets, but because of our project and the treatment she had received, was able to reconnect with her parents and has moved out of state where she continues to thrive and do well. She contributes her success at this time to the belief we showed in her through Project Butterfly and the fact that we didn’t give up on her.
# # #
A 26 year old addict who worked the South Broadway corridor to provide money for her own existence and to pay for her drug habit had been dumped in Wichita by a boyfriend who stole all her earthly belongings.
She was approached about Project Butterfly on the street by the police, but did not choose to enter the program until after her latest attempt to end her life. She showed up at an inpatient treatment facility on her own and asked to be taken in as part of our project. When we were contacted about her, we immediately said “yes” and allowed her to enter the project.
She is an independent type who never worked for a “boss” even while on the streets. She has done very well in the program and has been sober and clean for almost 90 days. She is out of treatment, living in a recovery house, has a job and is trying to get her life back by considering education opportunities and options for personal growth for her future. She continues to be independent and takes great pride in the fact that she has made it out of the life of addiction, prostitution and death. She likes being referred to as a butterfly and our expectations are that she will one day fly freely away.