The One With Why – Someone Like You Podcast

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.
Why am I so passionate about homeless youth? Well, it’s layered. This week’s episode tells my first experience that unlocked a much more personal reason.
When I was twenty I hit a rough patch. I dumped my boyfriend (now Husband <3) because he loved me too much, yes you read that right and didn’t want to stay at my apartment because my roommate and her boyfriend lived there. So without mine, it felt like I was intruding on their home, so I stayed out.
Ate out, drank out, went out. For the first time in my entire life, I was irresponsible with money and it got me in trouble. My roommate wanted to move in with her boyfriend and I needed to find another place to live, but I didn’t have enough to put down another first month’s rent and security deposit.
This is where it gets tricky, and what I buried for years until participating in my first Sleep Out. Listen to today’s episode to hear the full story and I promise, next episode will follow the regular programming.
Thanks, friends!
Ps: if you’d like to donate to my 2018 Sleep Out campaign via Covenant House California, you can support me here: https://www.sleepout.org/participant/17254 – every donation instantly doubles because of Marconi Foundation for Kids

Someone Like You podcast is dedicated to answering these three questions: who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? What can we do to end homelessness? So join me as I try to find the solution, one interview at a time. 

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

Sex Trafficking In Our Backyard

I wrote this blog for work back in July after attending Orangewood Foundation’s Sex Trafficking Forum. The contents of that education still haunt me and I don’t want its lesson to be lost over time. It’s not old news because we haven’t found the solution.

We live in an imperfect world and bad people will always find a way to inflict harm on their victims, but this doesn’t mean we throw in the towel. We fight.

Please take the time to read the forum recap below and listen to Oree’s story. She led the forum discussion that night and I couldn’t begin to describe the amount of strength this woman holds. Orangewood Foundation asks to please help spread awareness to help end the growing pandemic of sex slavery, we can all do our part. 


Last night the Marconi Staff attended Orangewood Foundation’s Forum on sex trafficking in Orange County. The moving dialog from a survivor stirred up a fiery determination to do more in each staff member’s stomach.

The Marconi Foundation for Kids did recently donate $3,000 to the Orangewood Foundation, but it’s not nearly enough and there’s plenty of work to be done; we want to do more! The number one goal Orangewood has in regards to its sex trafficking program is to bring more awareness to this sensitive issue.

With the need for awareness on the brain, here is a recap of what was learned and spoken about on Monday night’s gathering.

Disclaimer: This post will use potentially alarming vocabulary to promote awareness about sex trafficking. Viewer discretion is advised.

Sex Trafficking Statistics:

  1. 100,000 – 300,000 American children are victims of sex trafficking per year.
  2. 1 out of every 3 runaway girls in the U.S. is approached by a pimp within 48 hours of running away.
  3. Almost 400 victims of sex trafficking in Orange County have been identified in the past 10 years and almost half of them were children.
  4. In the past two years 1,277 victims have been identified in California.
  5. 50-80% of sex trafficking victims in California are or once were in the foster care system.
  6. There were 145 victims in Orange County in 2014.

Q:What is sex trafficking?

A: The use of violence, threats, lies, debt bondage and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Also known as: sex slavery, human trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). 

Terminology:

  • “In the life”: involved in sex trafficking
  • “John/Trick”: child molester; the buyer
  • “Bottom bitch”: the pimp’s head girl
  • “Wifey”: the girls who work with you and your pimp

Q: Who are these girls?

A: These girls are the regular “run-of-the-mill” children. It can happen to anyone.

Victims are predominately young females who are insecure, questioning their self-esteem or looking for a way out of an abusive family.

Listen to Sex Trafficking Advocate and Survivor, Oree Freeman, tell her story in the video below.

In addition to Oree telling the forum’s crowd her story, she shared numerous survivor stories, or in her terms, her “survivor sisters” stories.

“My survivor sister grew up in South County and like most young girls in Southern California, dreamed of becoming a model and walking the runways for the fashion world’s most elite. But, early on her dreams were crushed when she didn’t have the support from her parents. Determined to make it in the industry, she got in contact with a reputable agent who continually booked her in successful events that advanced her career. 

Until one day, the gigs stopped and she had no money to support herself and didn’t want to ask her parents for help after they had previously voiced disapproval regarding her career choice. The agent became her pimp, even though he spent time furthering her career, turning her over was always his end goal.”

Kinds of pimps:

This kind of pimp (in above story)  is considered a CEO Pimp; the character who has all the opportunity to give out and uses it to lure in  victims.

A Romeo Pimp will wine and dine you for however long it takes until sold into the ring.

Women pimps are referred to as Madams and have usually been former workers “in the life.”

Recruiting Spots:

Any area where a large group of children frequent, i.e: bus stops, malls, skating rinks, group homes and the Internet.

Oree told the crowd she once walked into a skating rink during the afternoon and saw her ex-pimp and “bottom bitch” scouting out the mobs of kids, looking for the weakest link.

Girls’ Expectations:

One pimp’s formula his women must make:

  • $600 to eat
  • $800 to sleep
  • Didn’t collect the money from the John, punishment was sleeping with the next man without a condom.

This math equates a need to make $208,000 a year and work 16 times a day for 5 days to achieve it. This means one woman experiences 4,160 rapes a year to be able to eat and sleep. 

Other facts to keep in mind:

  • Orange County is a number one destination location for sex trafficking because of its high prospect to make money.
  • Sex trafficking is almost as lucrative as drug hustling because gangs are becoming more interested in selling kids than selling drugs, it’s “safer.”
  • Recent reports have shown pimps come from violent upbringings and/or have experienced sexual assault while growing up.
  • Sex trafficking victims often get mislabeled as prostitutes.

The Good News:

  • The Orangewood Foundation has been working for nearly 35 years to care for abused and at-risk youth. The foundation has numerous programs to aid children in need.
  • First responders are being taught how to recognize a sex trafficking victim and what questions to ask.
  • The creation of a new program called The Lighthouse Program, by the Orangewood Foundation.

The Lighthouse Program is transitional housing for young women who have left “the life.” It’s a house with 24/7 care for women aged 18-21 (minors are generally placed in foster care) that will help a survivor recuperate and plan for their future, and stay as long as needed to become successful.

This program will work in tandem with other Orangewood programs which offer help with basic needs, independent living skills, employment and education.

As the first kind of home/program in the Orange County and L.A. area, the foundation needs our support. Below is a list detailing how YOU can support The Lighthouse.

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If you are interested in attending a forum, the meetings happen every second Monday of every month from 6:30-8:00pm. Plan to be a part of the discussion on August 8th and September 12th at 1575 E. 17th St., Santa Ana.

Awareness is the first step in stopping the problem.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition Part IX

My follow up interview was at 3:30 Monday afternoon, and I did as much cleaning, exercising and organizing to settle my nerves.

I was meeting the rest of the team at the Marconi Automotive Museum, and to not test the jinx rule, I wouldn’t allow myself to get too excited just yet, and it was hard to keep my emotions level.

But I kept my chant of why not me going in the back of my head.

True to form I showed up early, but not as early as the previous interview. I still had a case of the nerves, and I felt more anxious than I had the Friday before. Probably due to the fact I knew I could possibly get the answer I had been waiting for, for the past 10 weeks since graduation.

I was potentially going to become a productive member of society, and I could almost taste the sweet nectar of victory.

An hour later, after meeting the rest of the Marconi squad, I was pleased with how comfortable I felt during this interview, too. They all seemed like motivated, successful and fun women to work with, and I was hopeful I would be added to their team.

As the interview began to wrap up …..

I WAS OFFERED THE JOB. 

Say hello to the new marketing coordinator for the Marconi Automotive Museum!

It’s a wonderful thing when the universe works in your favor. As my FIL would say, “when it happens, because it doesn’t happen often, it’s like you understand everything completely. The path you took now makes all the sense in the world.”

And it’s true. I think the universe knew I didn’t want to live in Texas for another tornado season. It knew I wasn’t made to be a Texan for life and that California living could be the place for me. But due to my stubbornness it also knew I had to feel like I had given it my best shot before exploring other options seemed plausible.

Why not me. 

I will hopefully never serve another cup of coffee or Thanksgiving dinner as a waitress. I was able to make my phone call home and scream “you’re moving to California, I got the job!” And I was able to jump up and down with my in-laws (still too early to be nerdy with the Marconi squad) singing I got the job, I got the job!

I can’t wait to learn and grow as a communicator and begin this new chapter in life. A special thanks to my husband for pulling the trigger and shipping me to California, because he knew I needed the change and helping push. To my in-laws for housing me and loving me like their own, and to my parents, thank you for the constant support. I am who I am today because of you.

Life is good.

Unemployment Diaries: California Edition

Welp. This past Monday I was on a train headed to Los Angeles. A 36-hour tour (in my Gilligan’s voice) from North Texas to the West Coast.

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Last week I blogged about not being able to ignite my spark. I had forgotten that my spark was in the shape of a 5’8 good looking, former Californian – my husband. A few days prior to my Columbus Day voyage, my husband got home from work to announce he had pulled the trigger. I was leaving to see what opportunities lie out west.

I spent the majority of the rest of that day bawling my eyes out, and it shocked me I was taking such good news, terribly.

But duh, it’s the fear of the unknown, and I’ve always hated when people would use the cliché. My life has changed so many times I refused to believe I was afraid of the unknown. Hell, in four years I’ve moved to two different states with a possible third move on the way. How could I be afraid of the unknown?

It’s simple when you have a clear mind to think about it. I’m worried this trip will end in heartache. I’m afraid I won’t land a job in my field, the trip would be for nothing and a waste of money. I’m not sure when I’ll see my husband or puppies again and the same nagging question of if I could afford living in California, remains.

Knowing I don’t have a definite date of when I’ll be reunited with my tiny family is the hardest. I don’t think I realized how much of my stability, saneness and homey feelings resided in the Hubs. He had been deployed a few times, gone for weeks during work-ups and were used to the normal goodbye exchanges.

But I had never left him.

I had always done the dropping off and picking up.

In each goodbye, I would think how easy it was to be the one leaving and how hard it was to do the sitting and waiting. Ha. On the drive to the train station the Hubs and I had a great laugh about my ignorance. It ain’t easier leaving, it’s friggin’ harder.

I felt uneasy for the rest of the week, but was surprised to hear well wishes from coworkers and managers after I explained what I was going to be doing.

“That’s great you’re taking a chance!”

“Good for you! I think this is going to work out, I can feel it!”

“The best part about this is you’re getting out of your comfort zone to make a change. Many people wouldn’t and simply sit content, or accept it. You’re going out to grab it!”

It gave me an extra pep in my step the rest of the weekend, they were right, everyone I had told was right. This was an adventure and I should enjoy it. How many people are lucky enough to have in-laws who invite you into their home AND offer to help you find a job? I’m going to guess not many, or even if they wanted to, couldn’t.

The pep talks carried me as far as the platform out front of my locomotive. The Hubs had helped load my luggage onto the train and get me settled in a seat. We hugged, kissed and began to walk our separate ways, but I had to sneak one last hug before I could leave (I always need the extra freebie).  

Awhile back I kept the mantra, why not me singing in my head while writing and submitting my personal narrative to a writing competition. And I won. I can only hope past mojo can get me the same result.