Posted by Gurdip (Honorary Member) Hari on Aug 24, 2017

At the August 24 meeting, Lynwood Rotary members and guests heard a presentation by Sandra Ekhart, Children's Pastor, Lynwood Worship Center, and Outreach Coordinator for Forgotten Children, Inc.  (The Senior Pastor is Woody Robinson, who has served the community for 20 years.)

Deborah Warren, whose multiple titles include Senior Pastor's Assistant and Ministry Coordinator, made several comments.

More than a decade ago an outreach program was started by Lynwood Worship Center to the victims of sexual exploitation along Long Beach Blvd., which included a safe refugee house, or Drop-In Center, for the victims to visit on Long Beach Blvd.  Thanks to the hard work initiated by Pastor Paula Daniels, Associate Pastor, there continues to be an active program in serving these victims in Lynwood.  Pastor Daniels was the founder in developing “a welcoming center” for these victims.  The goal is to be a part of the solution in helping these girls develop an alternative to getting caught up in the business operated by the pimps.  Starting with creating a loving relationship for each victim, there is a need to help each girl obtain skills such as a GED education that will enable them to not have a financial need provided by the pimps.  Long Beach a “training track” used by the pimps for their business.  The Drop-In Center on Long Beach Blvd. is an important step in reaching out to these girls.  It was stated that the pimps are now going after girls as young as 12 years old.

The pimps know these girls are love starved.  They state to them they will care for them.  They try to get to know personal contacts of the victims.  The girls have a quota every day.

Support from the Welcoming Center involves helping the girls get necessary education and assistance in applying for and getting a regular job.  The Center offers them a hope.

There is a “safe house” in San Bernardino, operated by a faith based organization.  It was noted that in attempting to follow up for care and support, that unfortunately the rate of recidivism is high in the sex related industry.  It was noted that since 2006 through the efforts of Pastor Paula Daniels, 5000 girls from Long Beach Blvd. have been served.  It was explained that some of the girls are incarcerated by LASD Officers and held at the the Alameda LASD Jail.  Girls in the outreach program are sometimes taken to the LASD Jail as part of their training.

Sandra Ekhart showed a “Rescue Bag”, also referred to as a “Love Bag”, which contains items helpful for someone on the streets, and showed that it included a MacDonalds card for food.  She had handout cards that promoted financial support for Forgotten Children.  Below are several quotes:  “Our Mission is to rescue, restore, educate and bring hope to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.  … Known Facts:  – The average age of a teen entering sex trade in the U.S. Is 12 to 14 years old.  – Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.  – California harbors 3 of the FBI's 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation:  Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.”

Before the presentation, Lynwood Rotary President, Joe Wang, again encouraged participation in the Annual District 5280 Beach Party & Cardboard Boat Race, Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach. 

Joe Wang again explained his construction of the cardboard boat in which a member of the Roosevelt ES Youth act will use in the boat competition at the lagoon.  It is expected there will be a large turnout of Lynwood Rotary Youth act together with their parents and friends.  Youth act parent Maria Garcia mentioned the need for a list of names of everyone who will participate in this event.

After the presentation, Daniel suggested a visit o the Drop-In Center on Long Beach Blvd.  Sandra Ekhart explained that the Lynwood Rotary should call first and get an appointment for a group visit. Sandra mentioned the fund raising golf tournament for Monday, October 30, 2017, at the Western Hills Country Club in Chino Hills.  From the hand out card: “Forgotten Children, Inc. The Second Annual Charity Golf Classic, Swinging Against Human Trafficking, since 2006.”


 Daniel Miller /  Omar Franco / Rowland Becerra –

 Public Relations  and Community Outreach for the Lynwood Rotary Club