As the White House community grows, so does its areas of influence.
The community has been fortunate enough to gain a new non-profit from California that brings their mission of rescue and healing for trafficked girls. The organization, Together Freedom, has already made an impact within the local community in many ways.
One of their recent partnerships is with His Children Foundation, a local-born non-profit that provides duffle bags for foster children. His Children recently sent duffle bags to the young women who are residents of the organization’s safe house, and in turn, Together Freedom has stepped up as a support and resource for His Children Foundation to be able to better identify victims and help place them.
They have also recently joined the White House Chamber of Commerce to “connect with churches, organizations, and other leaders to share more information about what we do,” says Jessica Ludwig, Director of Development. They were able to hand out brochures to the parents of the attendees of the #NoFilter Girls Summit event on June 23 with information on signs to look for in regards to trafficking.
“We are establishing our corporate home base here as well as our personal home base. We love the community and want to be a resource to help as much as we can. Especially as we start raising kids here, too.”
Founded in 2016, Together Freedom was formed as a supporting organization to raise funds for a residential care facility for sex-trafficked girls. Its powerful mission statement is “to support rescued victims for as long as they need and want help. By first meeting their needs, we are able to build trust that opens the door for hope and healing.”
That journey of hope started in 2010 when retired San Diego police officer Phil Ludwig and his wife, Kim, opened the first safe house in California. Phil became aware of this need during an FBI sting operation. As Jessica Ludwig says, “Often the focus is on the first part—rescuing the girls, but we have to examine what’s next.” A safe house became a sanctuary for growth—a bridge into renewed life.
It’s a bridge that starts with individual assessments to determine education gaps and needs for each girl. An on-site teacher guides every resident through year-long school. A regimented schedule is part of the framework for each girl’s journey to wholeness. Chores, taking care of animals, doing homework, as well as seeing a counselor are part of their routine. Each girl has her own dorm style room to decorate and take care of. “They can take autonomy of themselves this way,” says Jessica.
As the world shut down in 2020, Together Freedom began picking up their roots and replanting them. The corporate team, which had grown in 2013 to include the Ludwig brothers, Jacob (CEO) and Nathan (CFO), moved to White House.
First, Jacob and his wife, Kimberly moved to be closer to her parents. The couple was followed by Phil (Kim had passed away in California) and finally Nathan and his wife, Jessica, in 2021. While the family team transitioned out of California, the physical facility moved to Texas due to a generous land donation.
The sanctuary is beautifully secluded on a forty-five-acre ranch dotted with playful wildflowers. A lake offers refreshment to the cows, pigs, and horses roaming the property. Chickens and ducks peck and waddle around the serene setting.
The animals contribute to the girls’ sense of responsibility. Caring for something else is like healing balm to their wounds. The girls are taught life skills too—money management, anger management, and boundaries, for example. This enables them “to take ownership of their life after they graduate,” assures Jessica.
A typical stay is two years, but even after they graduate, the girls are given the option of remaining on campus. “We will support them for as long as they want it. We want them to know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved.”
North Nashville is part of that mission as Together Freedom offers the community education and resources for both parents and churches.
Jessica adds, “We want to be a resource for girls who have been groomed and/or trafficked as we have seen the benefit of getting girls out of their current environment. If they stay local to their abuser, there is a higher chance for them to return to the situation.”
The chord of hope and healing, restoration, and freedom gains strength as it runs from our White House streets all the way to that rural Texas ranch. Indeed, we are better together.
Grant is part of more than $81 million given by Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to support safety across the U.S.