The Hurshes' efforts continue this week when their 306 Foundation (named after the motel-room number where Martin Luther King Jr. spent his final night) teams up with First Baptist Church of Orlando and Pastor David Uth for a briefing of regional faith leaders Wednesday.
On Friday, community leaders have been invited to the couple's new offices — in a former DUI substation off Orange Blossom Trail. (More info at 306foundation.org)
OBT is a far cry from the exotic places like Budapest, where the Hurshes once fulfilled their missions with Cru.
But they know they are where they are supposed to be. Said John: "This is an outgrowth of who we are."
Starting the journey
Jill Bolander Cohen's journey is a bit newer.
It started in 2011 when she joined other Presbyterians from Central Florida in lobbying Congress to pass the "Violence Against Women Act." She started hearing about teenagers forced into labor and sex.
At first, she didn't even want to think about such things. But the more she learned, the more she felt compelled to act. "Really," she said, "God just laid it on my heart."
So Cohen left her family's Altamonte Springs-based coffee business to focus full time on trafficking victims — specifically older teens who are no longer legal minors but still need guidance. "It's about helping people who have lost every right you can imagine."
Cohen and her Lifeboat Project are still finding their niche in this developing network of anti-trafficking nonprofits — and is willing to go wherever she is called.
On Friday, that was to help an exploited immigrant. In March, it will be to New York, where Cohen will serve as a delegate to the United Nation's 57th Commission on the Status of Women.
It's a big change for a 48-year-old former coffee executive from Apopka.
Just like working in an industrial area off Orange Blossom Trail is for the Hurshes, who used to travel the globe.
But the issue of child labor and sex slavery is evolving. And so is the face of those fighting to end it.
Saturday, Jan. 26, marks the fifth annual Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Awareness Day, noon to 4 p.m. at Lake Eola Park. For more information, call 407-495-5846 or visit floridaawarenessday.org.
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