I'm Running To End Slavery And You Should Too

Slavery Still Exists But, I'm Running To End It

Run for something bigger than yourself.

Loui
Loui
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When I was a senior in high school, my youth pastor started talking about a movement called 30 For Freedom. It was started by Brent Silky, who had this amazing inspiration to find 30 friends, run 30 miles, and raise $30,000 for this cause to end sex trafficking and it was all to take place on his birthday. The whole movement exists to end sex trafficking in our lifetime through prevention, rescue operations, and survivor care. All the money raised through 30 For Freedom is given to Venture, Lighthouse Foundation Nepal, and F.R.E.E. International.

Venture is an organization that encourages people to run, hike, walk, bike, and swim to raise money to fund the rescue missions and after survivor care. They don't just participate in ending sex trafficking but also provide meals for the malnourished in SouthEast Asia, provide education, and empower children. Venture works in the Thailand Burma border which is a massive global center for trafficking, sex slavery, child soldiers, extreme poverty, and refugees. It's one of the world's worst human trafficking crises.

Lighthouse Foundation Nepal is a non-profit organization that was built to improve the lives of children in Nepal who are at risk for abuse, trafficking, and neglect. Their main focus is to support abandoned babies, orphans, and children living on the streets. They focus on child development and try to encourage the communities to get involved in helping these children.

Project Rescue exists to rescue and restore victims of sexual slavery through the love and power of Jesus Christ. The organization educates poverty-stricken areas and provides residential care for children and prostituted women. They have medical clinics, night care shelters, and red-light district churches that provide care and supplies that are needed. Project Rescue sets up aftercare safe houses for rescued women and children and provides vocational training to give these victims a chance at life outside trafficking.

F.R.E.E. International has four parts- find, restore, embrace, and empower. F.R.E.E. International partners with different programs to find victims of sex trafficking and provide awareness programs for at-risk communities. They also partner with KlaasKids Search and Rescue to organize community search efforts to find missing children.

During natural disasters, human traffickers are known to go to low-income areas and search out the vulnerable. F.R.E.E. International has dispatch to support vehicles which are stationed in low-income neighborhoods to provide vital programs like legal services and medical help.

F.R.E.E. International provides resources to spread awareness to individual, communities, and survivors. The survivors need people to be aware and provide encouragement and support for them from the things they've had to endure.

You can go to https://venture.givingfuel.com/30forfreedom to make a donation through 30 For Freedom, or join me in running, this May, in the 30 For Freedom run. As many as 4.8 million people are trapped in sexual exploitation, that's more than half of New York City's population. Slavery will not end if we keep turning a blind eye to what we know is going on around us. I'm choosing to run for something bigger than myself, will you?

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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If You've Ever Ran A Half-Marathon Then You've Probably Had These 18 Thoughts

There's so many thoughts during a half-marathon.

Loui
Loui
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Two weeks ago I ran my first ever half marathon. I've never run a race in my life before and I'm not really a runner so it was an interesting experience. Over the course of my training, I actually learned to enjoy running and I can say that I actually like it now.

This half marathon was really challenging but really rewarding. These are all the things that I was thinking about (there was probably a lot more, too) during those 13.1 miles.

1. "This is really easy but all these people are running way too fast."

2. "This is so much easier than a training run."

3. "Wow I already ran three miles."

4. "I need water."

5. *Casually sings Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn

6. "I'm getting really hungry. I hope there's muffins at the end."

7. "Dang, this is easy. I feel like I could run for forever."

8. "Okay, so we went six miles so 13 minus six is seven. We have seven miles to go." 

9. "The sun is so hot."

10. "I could use some more water."

11. "Would my group judge me if I walked at mile eight?"

12. "Why am I running again?"

13. "I'm on mile 10 so in 10 minutes I'll be on mile 11. This will totally go by fast."

14. "I'm still on mile 10."

15. "I'm still... on... mile.... 10... now mile 11."

16. "This is the longest run of my life."

17. "Oh great, now my calf is cramping." 

18. *When the run is over* "Man, I feel like I could do another one!"

Loui
Loui

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