LOCAL + TRAVEL

Waves of Hope In Martin County

Learn about local non-profit, Catch the Wave of Hope, which fights to end human trafficking through education, prevention, restoration, and legislation.

Catch the Wave of Hope (CTWH) is a 501(C)(3) non-profit that fights to end human trafficking through education, prevention, restoration, and legislation. Founded by local artist Lynne Barletta, the driving force behind establishing the foundation started two years before. In 2015 she was asked to participate in an art event in Singapore to help raise funds for a safe home for trafficked and abused girls called Dayspring. Lynne painted an 8-foot anamorphic wave that was used as a fundraiser. She worked with children from various nations to help create a block-long mural for the project, and an 18-year-old girl worked by Lynne’s side during the duration of the art project. Sadly this girl had been trafficked by her parents since age 8; Lynne was grateful to be able to help victims like that girl and was driven to continue working for this cause. A year later, she was then contacted by the President of the Women’s Club of Stuart to help raise money to help trafficked victims by painting a mural in Stuart Florida. That mural was painted in 2016 on the ATT building in downtown Stuart. With the help of teachers, local artists, and students ages 5 to 17, the mural’s creation was and continues to be a very successful fundraiser while also beautifying our coastal community. The mural was covered nationwide on television newscasts, which helped start the wave of awareness concerning sex trafficking. Then in 2017, Catch the Wave of Hope was born and received non-profit status. Its mission is to be a public voice and defender of sexually trafficked children and has a laser focus on taking a stance against this heinous crime that infiltrates our community on every level through awareness, education, legislation, and restoration.

 Since July 2020, Catch the Wave of Hope has offered mental health therapy to victims/survivors of human trafficking. A referral form can be found on its website. Both individual and family therapy are offered by a mental health clinician who is specifically trained in treating (complex) trauma and has experience working with this population.

Over the last several years, Sarah Marie Henry, Executive Director of CTWH, has educated and trained multiple community groups and personnel on human trafficking. Included are Martin County School District Nurses, Martin County Health Department, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis of Stuart, local law enforcement groups, foster parent support groups, and over 100 parents and families affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County; additionally, the CTWH anti-sex trafficking curriculum has been used in the Okeechobee and Martin County School Districts. The educational piece in the schools helps fulfill a Florida mandate that all middle and high school students should receive a human trafficking awareness training, which is incredibly vital to combat this issue. 

Recently, they have announced their strategic partnership with Operation Underground Railroad. The two organizations will team up together on efforts to keep children safe and to continue driving awareness and education on child exploitation and child sex trafficking. Operation Underground Railroad was founded in 2013 and is recognized internationally as one of the major entities fighting human trafficking. The organization recently released a powerful documentary titled “It’s Happening Right Here.” which will be presented on the Treasure Coast by Catch the Wave of Hope in the spring of 2023 and will be available for viewing by the general public.

Catch the Wave of Hope collaborates with other service providers to fill gaps in services that are not currently available to survivors. They take a trauma-informed, survivor-centered approach to everything they do and build their organization based on feedback from the community and those they serve. To learn more, request training, or submit a therapy referral, contact Sarah Marie Henry at sarahmarie.henry@catchthewaveofhope.org and visit www.catchthewaveofhope.org.

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