"Mend on the Move" event supports victims of abuse
Original Post Date February 7, 2017
BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) - "Mend on the Move: A non-profit is using jewelry to empower women who have survived abuse. The group is getting ready for a big event this weekend to support the cause. Click the video player to hear all about it from the organizer.
"Mend on the Move" says it "employs and empowers women survivors of abuse through jewelry-making." Much of the jewelry is made using reclaimed automotive metal parts and leather.
The Valentine event, "Love in Motion," will be held Feb. 10 from 7-9 p.m. at Northbrook Presbyterian Church, 22055 W. 14 Mile Rd., Beverly Hills, MI.
The group says its founder, Joanne Ewald of West Bloomfield, is a survivor of child abuse. She employs women who are victims of abuse in the hopes that she can "help break the silence of abuse and trafficking, empower survivors, and be their voice until they become strong enough to find their own."
by M Lapham
Want some jewelry with a story behind it?
How about some that represents a whole new life for someone?
On February 10 you can get a bauble made by women who survived abuse and were provided with a job making jewelry by Mend on the Move.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the event is called “Love in Motion.”
There will be jewelry for sale, a silent auction, hors d’ouevres and a performance by Rochester Hills’ singer-songwriter Olivia Millerschin and her band.
The event takes place from 7-9 p.m. at Northbrook Presbyterian Church, 22055 W. 14 Mile Rd., in Beverly Hills. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance at Eventbrite.com.
The slogan of the group is “Mend the Motor City.” In keeping with that name most of their jewelry supplies are leather and metal automotive parts.
Founder Joanne Ewald says the donated materials “advocate that nothing is a throw-away, especially people’s lives. We are passionate about helping survivors discover renewed purpose for their lives through healing and independence.”
Ewald, a West Bloomfield resident, who was herself a victim of abuse.
“I was abused from age four to 13,” says Ewald. “I was one of the fortunate ones. My abuse didn’t lead to trafficking, addiction, homelessness or domestic abuse. Through Mend on the Move I hope to help break the silence of abuse and trafficking, empower survivors, and be their voice until they become strong enough to find their own.”
According to the Mend on the Move website, one in four girls will experience child sexual abuse.
That often leads to broken adults who are vulnerable to many of society’s injustices.
“This is the common story of the women we serve through Mend on the Move,” Ewald says on the site. “My heart aches for those women who are still trying to find their way.”
Some of those who take advantage of the organization are drug addicts or have prison records in addition to a history with abuse.
Early on Mend on the Move partnered with Aliyah’s House, a five-bed safe house in Howell for women abuse. “Each week we work with the women there, teaching them jewelry-making skills,” says Ewald. “They are paid for their work and are able to see the results, which is a big confidence builder.”
For more information on Mend on the Move and the Love In Motion event, please visit the organization’s web site at http://www.mendonthemove.org .
By Brendan Losinski
BEVERLY HILLS — Abuse within a family can seem like a problem the average person can do very little about.
Often, the problem takes place behind closed doors and in the shadows.
Local nonprofit Mend on the Move is giving people a chance to do something about it at an upcoming fundraiser.
Called “Love in Motion,” the fundraiser will take place 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Northbrook Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills.
“Mend on the Move is all about putting words into action,” explained founder Joanne Ewald. “The goal is to help women who have suffered from abuse become independent again. This can be a complicated process, not only for emotional reasons, but because some need to work around caring for their kids, holding a job, dealing with legal issues or even hiding from an abusive spouse.”
Rochester Hills musician Olivia Millerschin and her band will perform while a number of items — such as Red Wings, Tigers and Grand Prix tickets — are auctioned off in a silent auction. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be available. Tickets cost $15 and are available at eventbrite.com — search for “Love in Motion” — or at the door.
Ewald started Mend on the Move after she learned about how wide-reaching the problems of abuse are and how survivors of abuse can face challenges most people never have to.
“I’m a jewelry artist, but my background is in journalism and corporate communications,” said Ewald. “I was working to promote some benefits that fight human trafficking and learned a lot about the subject. While in the process of learning more, about three years ago I traveled to a recovery center that made soap products to raise money for victims of abuse. While there I learned many of the women were abused as children, which I was as well. I thought I could do something to help, so I started forming Mend on the Move.”
Mend on the Move sells handcrafted jewelry created by women who have survived abuse. “By learning jewelry-making skills, survivors can earn an income and grow in confidence and independence while in recovery,” states the nonprofit’s website, www.mendon themove.org.
Mend on the Move is connected with Aliyah’s House, a Howell-based recovery house where abuse survivors can stay while they rebuild their lives. Linda Storey, the founder of Aliyah’s House, said the Mend on the Move project helps those staying with her in a number of ways.
“It helps because we have girls often with learning difficulties because they’re coming out of trauma-based lifestyles,” explained Storey. “These projects are very therapeutic, and they are also getting paid for it. We provide for food and housing while they live here, but this gives them the ability to pay for other goods. We have some other girls who are on probation, and they have to work around those restrictions and obligations, so getting a full-time job can be hard. This gives them the opportunity to earn an income they might not otherwise be able.”
The house began collaborating with Ewald through a mutual friend. Besides the financial and logistical burdens that moving past abuse can pose, there are also emotional hurdles to tackle. Storey said a group project such as Mend on the Move can be an effective means of doing so.
“I’ve sat there while they’re making the jewelry, and there’s a lot of ministry and therapy that can go on while they work,” said Storey. “They get to talk through their issues.”
As both Mend on the Move and Aliyah’s House have been in operation for less than two years, each is looking for the community to support its ongoing efforts.
“If you run a nonprofit, you need fundraisers,” remarked Ewald. “We need the help of the community so we can continue our mission.”
Both women said lending a hand is important. Storey said that’s what’s great about the fundraiser: It doesn’t require people to make a large contribution to help. Just buying one piece of jewelry can make a difference.
“I’m going to be speaking at the fundraiser,” said Storey. “We all need to do something to help. Some of us are called to put our feet into action, but others can support us behind the scenes by purchasing jewelry or making a donation. If you do, you are really helping these girls, and the effect of this support can be far-reaching. I’ve seen how much of a difference can be made in the lives of these girls.”
“I think it can be very overwhelming for the public to read about abuse and human trafficking,” added Ewald. “They feel it’s too big of a problem for them to do anything. ‘Love in Motion’ lets people make a difference just by buying a piece of jewelry. Also, by buying one of these pieces, you are making a direct connection with a survivor.”
Original Post Date February 9, 2017
Mend on the Move helps abuse victims recover from the past
HOWELL, Mich. - A Metro Detroit mother is coming to the rescue of women who have been sexually abused or involved in human trafficking.
"I was an abused child and I thought to myself, 'This is speaking to me. I need to do something,'" Joanne Ewald said.
Women are making jewelry, mending souls and moving on from past horrors.
"There are people on every corner waiting," Paige Akers said. "They look for women that are vulnerable or using or like to take advantage of the situation."
At a safe house in Howell called Aliyah's House, women are tucked away from their abusers and traffickers, but at the same time, they're trying to rebuild their lives.
Ewald arrived at the safe house and unpacked boxes of material to be used in a jewelry-making session.
"All of our jewelry is made from small automotive parts and reclaimed leather, scrap leather that we get from local Detroit resources," Ewald said.
But the gathering isn't just about making jewelry. It's also about mending souls.
"It was about three years ago," Ewald said. "I started learning about human trafficking and it just really broke my heart."
Ewald thought about what she could do as a jewelry artist.
"I thought, 'Well, let's start with jewelry,'" Ewald said.
The two women sitting at the table together have very different stories.
"I've been abused in my life, and then with self-confidence, I wasn't taught the right coping skills," Akers said. "I ended up getting into addiction really bad. That started about 19 and went for the next five years."
Things have gotten better for Akers since the 26-year-old mother found the safe house in Howell
"We see these girls that have had no value, never stability in their life, and now they have stability," Linda Story said.
But Ewald's Mend on the Move jewelry-making business brought employment right to the women's safe home.
"It's more than just a job, because when Joanne comes in and brings that, it's really almost like being in a therapy session," Story said.
"I think it's really important for them to realize that the abuse that has happened to them is not a definition of who they are," Ewald said. "I think it's really good for them to see that me, as a survivor, look what I was able to overcome and do myself."
The hours at the table bring conversation, hope, inspiration and money for a brighter future.
The hand-crafted jewelry is created by survivors who found the courage to begin again.
"It was just really inspirational to me," Akers said. "It was like making a change, like something that I would want to do."
Ewald hopes the artwork can start a conversation and break the silence of abuse and trafficking.
"I would say Mend on the Move is what the desires of my heart really look like," Ewald said.
Spreading the Word
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