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Set Free Refuge hosts gala to celebrate one year of healing

Set Free Refuge is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its transitional home for young women ages 18 to 24 who are survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Called The Refuge, the home provides a one-year program that helps young women find healing by providing a community of love and support to develop the necessary skills to live on their own. It opened Feb. 11, 2022.

Set Free Refuge is a nonprofit organization, here in Navarre, dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

This past Saturday, Set Free Refuge celebrated the anniversary of The Refuge at St. Sylvester Catholic Church with an Evening of Healing.

“We called it an ‘Evening of Healing’ because healing is so much a part of our mission,” said Executive Director Marcie Rey Landreth, MSW, RCSWI.

Freedom, healing and restoration are pillars of what Set Free Refuge is founded on.

“We help through the healing process, through restoration and we help to set them free – like set them free out into the world with all of those tools they’ve gained,” she said.

The program is one year long, but after they finish, Set Free Refuge continues to help the women with after care services, such as counseling, case management, group classes and just calling them to see how they’re doing.

A major component of Set Free Refuge that sets the nonprofit apart is the mental health aspect of their program.

“Yes, we have the house, but we also have trained mental health practitioners that really help to guide these young women,” Marcie said.

Set Free Refuge is also now able to accept insurance for the help they offer.

You do not have to be a resident at The Refuge to partake in the amazing resources that Set Free Refuge has such as support groups and counseling.

Trauma yoga classes will start in February at ElemenTree Yoga and anyone who has experienced sexual abuse of any kind is invited to join. Anyone interested can call the Set Free Refuge office at 850-463-5191.

When The Refuge opened last February, the staff was blown away by the community support and donations given to stock the house.

A local group called Navarre Ladies Chat and Chew pulled their money together and bought two laptop computers for The Refuge. A woman from the group named Sherry Clynch approached Marcie and said her group would love to hold a gala for Set Free Refuge. She also showed interest in helping the nonprofit with implementing a fundraising plan. Marcie and Sherry started to plan this gala many months ago and loved watching it come to fruition this past weekend.
“This evening of Healing Gala completely would not be possible without her because she has gone out there and just promoted and helped to get all the pieces put together and I am above and beyond grateful for her,” Marcie said.
Sherry now sits on the Set Free Refuge board, and she oversees the fundraising events.
The gala was Set Free Refuge’s first large-scale event and also a celebration that The Refuge has been open for a full year offering healing to women who are survivors of sex trafficking.
The celebration was emceed by WEAR Channel 3 News reporter Yona Gavino and local musician Steve Hall provided entertainment. There was a live auction and silent auction raising money for the nonprofit’s mission. Founder Skip Orth and Executive Director Marcie Landreth shared updates on the impact that Set Free Refuge had in 2022.
“To have 2022 culminate in having this big gala, I feel completely grateful and blessed for how much support we have received in our community for survivors of trafficking,” Marcie said.
“You have to have a vision; you have to think big. If you want to solve a big problem, you have to have big solutions. In my mind, we just started. We’re not done yet.”
Set Free Refuge will be holding a benefit golf tournament at Hidden Creek in May. Stay tuned to their Facebook for upcoming fundraiser dates, as well as inventory donation needs for their house.
For more information, or if you or someone you know has been affected by sexual abuse contact Set Free Refuge, Inc. at 850-463-5191 or visit SetFreeRefuge.org.

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