2019 Leave Your Mark Winners Update
IMG’s fourth annual Leave Your Mark essay contest has officially begun. The contest gives an opportunity for mission and social good organizations to increase their global impact by awarding two winners $5,000 each.
Since the beginning of the Leave Your Mark contest in 2017, IMG has awarded six organizations with $5,000 investments towards their outreach programs. Those 6 organizations include:
2017 Winners – Friends Without Borders, New Life Children’s Home
2018 Winners – Canopy Life, Concern America
2019 Winners – Mission Housing Ministries (MHM), Destiny Rescue
Every year, we like to check in with the previous year’s Leave Your Mark winning organizations. Let’s take a look at what they have been up to, and how the current obstacles impacting the world have affected their continued outreach efforts.
Leave Your Mark Update: Destiny Rescue
Destiny Rescue is an organization dedicated to rescuing and protecting children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Their goal is to empower survivors to heal and create a new future for themselves. Within the first quarter of 2020, Destiny Rescue rescued 217 survivors – 99 children and 118 adults.
The Destiny Rescue international leadership team is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic daily and working closely with each of the involved nations to determine how to best operate during these unique times; rescue missions must continue. Although much of the world has come to a stop, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the potential trafficking and exploitation of children. The rescue teams at Destiny Rescue, are working more online than ever before and are talking with existing targets to understand where and how this trafficking might take place. Aftercare teams are working to ensure that survivors’ needs are met and they are equipped to stay free during this time of increased vulnerability.
Destiny Rescue caseworkers have been working hard to ensure that the girls in their care feel safe by communicating with them regularly via texting groups, while food has been delivered to survivors and families in need. The aftercare team has also sent educational resources about COVID-19 including information on symptoms and instructions to educate the girls on how to protect themselves and others. Additionally, the team has offered up tools to address some of the emotional health needs many of their girls are facing at this time of heightened fear and anxiety.
One of the Destiny Rescue teams located in Cambodia was recently able to deliver crucial food supplies and hand sanitizer to families of survivors. Destiny Rescue Khmer staff members were also able to teach the families proper hand washing techniques and give important pointers on how to stay safe and healthy. The $5,000 Leave Your Mark prize, awarded by IMG, was essential in order to assist these additional programs.
“These might be uncertain times but the caring hearts of our teams carrying out our mission on the ground remain unchanged. We're thankful for this team of compassionate leaders who relentlessly care for these precious lives” said Rick Baltzerse, Director of Corporate and Foundation Partnerships.
Leave Your Mark Update: Mission Housing Ministries
Mission Housing Ministries (MHM) serves in an underdeveloped area of northern Guatemala. Their service typically includes partnerships with churches and charitable groups from the U.S. MHM hosts around 15 teams annually that spread the hope of Jesus Christ and contribute to community development projects such as farming and education initiatives. They provide a ‘Hand-Up’ for those in need.
The communities where MHM serves have taken a big hit because of COVID-19. The number of local cases has been small, but the impact of the sheltering restrictions has been huge. Many of the impacted families have small farms or small tiendas (stores) on the roadside. With local markets and businesses being closed by government mandate, travel between cities has been halted, and curfews are in effect from 6PM to 5AM. Families that were in difficult situations before are now facing very serious challenges just to have basic food and shelter.
In the face of these changes, MHM has adjusted their focus. They’ve made 2 commitments:
- MHM is committed to their staff and partners. They will make every effort to maintain salaries and grants so that the MHM team has confidence that they will not lose their positions, and can focus on serving the community. The IMG award was to be directed to staffing one of our agricultural programs, and it has helped tremendously.
- MHM is committed to meeting basic needs in the community. This includes distributing food and providing additional jobs as help is needed to conduct the purchasing, packaging, and distribution of food.
Before the pandemic, MHM had roughly 130 families that received a scholarship for monthly support to help keep their children in school. This support could be used for food or basic school supplies, with some limits and accountability. Now, they have added an additional 125 families receiving food monthly.
MHM is looking forward to relaxed travel restrictions with great anticipation. “It will be wonderful for me to see our team again, and to reunite our U.S. partners with their friends and contacts in Guatemala. For now, though, we are praying for protection for rural Guatemala as we work diligently to serve others in the ‘new normal’ said Eric Ferree, the U.S. Administrator.
At IMG, we know this is a difficult time for many mission and social good organizations around the world and we hope this year’s contest provides some much-needed relief. The Leave Your Mark essay topic for 2020 is: “How is your organization working to overcome the current obstacles impacting the world? If your organization were to win, how would $5,000 support your continued global outreach efforts?” In order to participate, organizations must submit a 500-word essay by August 31, 2020. For more information on how to enter and to view the terms and conditions of the contest, visit http://www.imglobal.com/leave-your-mark.
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