All-the-way House

A Hollywood take on aftercare—and a pretty inspring one at that.

Even today, there are only a handful of other shelters in the United States that cater specifically to former prostitutes, despite the growing number of children in the trade (estimates say there are 250,000 at any given time in the States). GEMS, opened in New York in 2001, and another, Angela’s House, opened in Atlanta in 2003. Children of the Night was the prototype for both, but both are newer, smaller, and don’t have the capacity to house their charges indefinitely or to provide services to former residents. Another difference: COTN isn’t funded with government grants. It is supported entirely by private donations, which means that Lee can spend the money pretty much as she chooses.

What she chooses is to provide the kids at her shelter with the closest thing to a comfortable middle-class childhood that they have ever had. All of their needs are met, and many of their desires as well. They are flown into Los Angeles from all over the country, and delivered to the shelter in a cab. Upon their arrival, kids are assigned a semi-private bedroom, and issued either a CD player or a DVD player.

First, Children of the Night takes care of the basics: each girl is assigned a caseworker. She is sent to a doctor for a full physical, to an off-site therapist, to a dentist. She is also enrolled in school, which is right on-site, and fully accredited. Residents at COTN get haircuts and manicures at high-end salons that volunteer their services. They attend workshops, where professionals drop in to teach them photography, yoga, meditation, acting, screenwriting, and dance.


from All-the-way House, by Kimberley Sevik, Good Magazine

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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