When Brenda Rose, RN, came across an abandoned 31-acre farm for sale near Guthrie Center, Iowa, she envisioned creating a safe space where women could heal. She was inspired by the beautiful landscape, natural spring, and commercial kitchen. Brenda immediately began learning about human trafficking and how often it was occurring in the state of Iowa. With her professional background and newfound knowledge – she was inspired to start a nonprofit organization that would generate revenue on the property while providing aftercare services for victims and prevention education for her community.
“Numerous state and national government reports have identified Iowa as a crossroads for human trafficking due to its location at the intersection of three major interstates,” said Brenda. “The need was evident, and I knew with love and determination, I could make a difference.”
Since its founding in 2014, Firefly Creek Ranch has provided aftercare and life skills training for eight women who have experienced sexual trauma, exploitation, or human trafficking. The organization considers itself a social enterprise offering transitional life coaching, animal therapy, reiki, and community outreach programs such as a meal prep and delivery service. Firefly Creek Ranch also works with youth in their community to help them stay out of vulnerable situations and know where to go for help.
“We believe that the body remembers trauma and can manifest itself into emotional and physical ailments. Sharing their stories in a safe place is an important step in the healing process,” said Brenda. “It’s all about restoring the heart. It’s about building love and trust so that we can work towards recovery.”
When asked where she derives the strength to help others work through such devastating trauma, Brenda stated, “It’s simple love that drives out the evil and suffering these victims have endured. Love brings out the hero in me and gives me strength. It’s so simple, yet so profound.”
Brenda was awarded a 2021 Nation of Neighbors℠ grant, which offers the opportunity to expand the Firefly Creek Ranch life skills and aftercare services. “We are so excited and grateful that Royal Neighbors has chosen us to receive this grant,” said Brenda. “It is a meaningful experience to help individuals heal and begin to live a more fully encompassing life.”