For George Milsap and Tallulah Easley, fighting on behalf of children exploited sexually or in any way is personal. As survivors, themselves, of childhood abuse and exploitation, their personal experiences fuel their passion for their work at Marion County Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. A community-based alternative to youth incarceration and out-of-home placement, Marion County YAP serves children and families referred by Marion County Superior Court Juvenile Division.
Milsap, who made his childhood sexual abuse and exploitation public nearly 15 years ago, joined the agency this summer as Director of Programs. "It doesn't take courage to hide from your story, it takes courage to tell your story so that it can strengthen and empower others to come forward without fear or shame,” he said.
Milsap is committed to bringing his years of professional experience with supporting exploited youth to ensure that all youth served by YAP have tools to address issues related to sexual abuse and exploitation as well as other forms of abuse, violence and trauma.
“When we hear the stories of the youth we serve, we learn and understand that many of them have been exploited in any number of ways. Having experienced my own childhood trauma, I know that it takes support and healthy relationships to get on the right track,” said Easley, who serves as the Indianapolis-based YAP agency’s first Intensive Family Coordinator.
The effectiveness of the YAP alternative to out-of-home-placement model is its simplicity. The agency hires neighborhood-based Advocates who help young people identify and realize their strengths while connecting them and their parents/guardians with tools to firm their foundation.
Milsap and Easley are putting together a kickball team with the youth and families they serve to support a fundraiser for Purchased, an Indianapolis nonprofit that helps youth and other survivors of human trafficking. Learn about how you can help the Marion County YAP kickball team support their neighborhood nonprofit.
For information about how to support YAP, please visit yapinc.org.