OUR STORY...

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Zera is seed in hebrew...

 

Zera House founders Ariel Wagner and Katie Van Gorp met for the first time in August 2015, at which time they immediately knew that they were called together to create a safe house dedicated to helping women who have been sexually exploited. This began a months-long journey to raise money (via GoFundMe) and gain as much knowledge possible through consultation with mentors and advisors in hopes of building a non profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. With the help of a supportive community, they were able to build their team and board by December of 2015, receiving official tax-exempt, non profit status at that time. 

 

By August of 2016, they were interested in a house in the mountains of West Virginia with the intention of building their program there. The house is equipped with all that it needs to support Zera House including enough room to house their women, land for the gardens, privacy from the road and places to volunteer and work within a short distance. Katie is an active board member while living over seas serving. Ariel is the director of the organization and is working hard to provide a safe dwelling for survivors of sex trafficking. They have a target date to open the doors in fall of 2018. At Zera House, women will receive counseling, build necessary life skills, volunteer in the community, learn about sustainable living, and much more. Their main goal is to equip women with the skills, community, and personal resolve they need to function adaptively in society without returning to exploitive industries.

 

The idea of and motivation for Zera House developed as a result of Ariel and Katie’s journey with their relationship with Jesus Christ, and for that reason, the organization believes strongly in using faith-based rehabilitation. Not only can faith-based approaches help women recover from trauma and abuse, connection to a broader religious community is a strong protective factor that will open doors and prevent relapse. The name “Zera” itself was chosen with intention; it means seed in Hebrew. Zera House’s desire is twofold: to plant seeds into the ground while teaching survivors how to live sustainably and to plant seeds into women’s hearts and souls so they can live out the purposes of their lives.

 

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