Catching Dreams: My life, my experiences, and the drive to make a difference
Born the only child in one of the poorest ghettos of Chicago, Brenda always struggled to find herself and where she belonged. Facing adversity with the death of her mother when she was only an infant, Brenda grew up to experience physical, mental and sexual abuse at the hands of trusted family members. At the age 14 Brenda escaped an abusive home life only to fall into the violent world of prostitution. Brenda was also a researcher with Jody Rapheal of DePaul University studying the trafficking of young girls in the city of Chicago and the metropolitan area.
Brenda’s experience as a runaway teenager where she survived against all odds, makes her an advocate and an expert for young girls. She not only understands what they’re going through, she has been there. Brenda’s style of keeping it real with teenage girls and her passion to help other young women avoid the trauma she experienced in her 25 years as a teenage and adult prostitute enables her to successfully mentor at-risk youth. Brenda has the insight and depth to help others change their lives and live their dreams. She practices what she preaches and helps other obtain and reach new levels of achievement. She has a captivating personality and approach that touches the heart of everyone she is involved with. She makes you laugh and cry with her touching personal stories and does it with eagerness, integrity and enthusiasm.
Learning Areas:Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences
Discuss personal experiences and the way in which they are being used to end the cycle of sexual exploitation and human trafficking around the world.
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a survivor of abuse, drugs, and prostitution and am the co-founder and executive director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.