rebelling against low expectations

The Freedom Ball: Fighting Sex Trafficking in Colorado


We love sharing stories about rebelutionaries making a difference. That’s especially true when we believe that what they’re doing will serve as a catalyst for other young people to do the same thing. Well, this is one of those stories.

Consider this shocking fact: Every year in the United States, between 100,000 and 250,000 children are trafficked and sexually exploited. Human trafficking isn’t just problems overseas—it’s happening in our own backyards.

When sisters Nicole (16) and Rachelle (20) learned about this heartbreaking reality, they were moved to action. Here’s the story of the Freedom Ball and Fundraiser—taking place on April 21, 2012—in their own words:

    Rachelle’s Story

    When my mom got a fiction book about human trafficking from the library little did she think that I would look at it and become passionate enough about the subject to end up trying to do something about it. It’s a very intense subject—sex trafficking. I’m 20 and the thought of girls younger than me being forced into such a horrible life fills me with both indignation at the men who would use helpless girls and compassion for the victims.

    I researched it, looked into different organizations, and wondered what I could do locally. I thought about contacting an organization and just talking to someone but all of the organizations that I could find were either focused internationally, in different states besides CO, or not decidedly Christian.

    When my cousin told me about Mercy Project Colorado, it sounded like the perfect organization to talk to. Then my sister came up with the idea of holding a ball as a fundraiser. I thought it was a great idea! So here we are—12 days from our first ever fundraiser: The Freedom Ball. It’s been an exciting journey so far and I can’t see where God will take this small event! I hope you will join us in supporting this great work!

    Nicole’s Story

    It started the last week of January, when I was hanging out with my cousin and asked him, “What’s your passion?” When he told me, “Fighting sex trafficking,” I was stunned. I knew next to nothing about it. He said sex trafficking happens in the U.S. just like any third-world country. What’s more, he said a friend of his was starting to build a safehome called Mercy Project Colorado right near Broomfield (about an hour from me) for girls rescued to get Christian counselling, free medical care, and just basic help.

    That evening, I began to do some research. Sex trafficking is a $58 billion industry in the U.S. affecting 100,000 to 250,000 children every year. But in all 50 states, there are only 10 safehouses for trafficking victims. I began to pray that God would show me how I could help. And while I prayed, the idea came, in a thought so clear, so obvious that it was eerie: “Host a benefit ball.” My first thought was, “What?! You’ve got to be kidding!” But God had given me a big goal in answer to my prayers. How could I back down now?

    I decided that moment that no matter what it took, I would host this ball. For me, it was a crazy leap of faith! I had nothing going for me. I had no money and I’m sixteen. But the next day, my older sister said she’d help. After that, getting our mom’s permission was easy, and the Freedom Ball was launched!

    Throughout the planning that has gone on since then, a lot of impossible things have happened, like someone donating a huge room for us to use that would usually cost hundreds of dollars! This project was built by prayer, and now we wait in eager anticpation (and a little nervousness!) to see what God will do with it. Please be a part of changing the lives of sex trafficked victims today!

We asked Nicole and Rachelle what rebelutionaries could to do help make the Freedom Ball a success. This what they told us:

  • Make a donation to help build the home (“Any little bit helps! You don’t have to be a millionaire. We certainly aren’t!”).
  • Sponsor someone to attend the ball (“If you can’t make it, you can help cover the $25 ticket for someone else.”).
  • Pray for the ball (“We’ve already seen the power of fervent prayer, please join us in praying for success and increase awareness!”).
  • Spread the word (“Send this to your friends, family, or church… Anyone who might donate. If they live in CO, encourage them to come!”).

We would add one more thing you should do: If you like Nicole and Rachelle’s idea, steal it! I’m sure nothing would make them happier than to hear that other teens were inspired to action by their example. In fact, I’m sure they’d love to help you. You can reach them at freedomballfundraiser [at] gmail [dot] com.

+ The Freedom Ball and Fundraiser +

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Yay for Nicole and Rachelle’s passion and action!! Go girls! I too am passionate about sex trafficking, but in my case, I’m in Australia, where there is also very little support or awareness about the issue.

  • Yeah!!!! I am blessed to know Rachelle and Nicole personally, and can’t wait for this ball. I’m hoping to see plenty of my fellow rebelutionaries there! Here is the ball blog by the way:

  • This is awesome! Such a great cause… and everybody, when they say every little bit counts, they totally mean it! If you can donate $1, $2, $5… it helps!

  • Speaking of teens working together for God’s glory, I had a question. I’m homeschooled, and most of my friends are homeschooled and Christians. The thing is, we rarely talk about anything along the lines of ministries, or talk about our faith. I love the Lord, and get really excited when I get opportunities to serve Him, and I’d love for my friends to be growing and sharing about their faith. I’m also pretty quiet, so normally I’m the one smiling an nodding and listening to conversations – not leading them. But then I realize that precious time together with Christian teens – able to accomplish so much for Christ – has slipped by, without a single reference to God. I’d love to see spiritual progess in our conversations – more than just surface deep chatting. Any ideas or thoughts on how to get to deeper subjects without making everyone totally uncomfortable?

  • [b]@ Ariel[/b]: I to, am homeschooled and have noticed this problem. Are you on the forums? Maybe we together could start a thread on this. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who have encountered this…

    I think another of the reasons my friends and I don’t talk about spiritual issues that much is because more often than not… we are doing school and studying together. So honestly… there’s no time.


    I live in Colorado and would come if able… but my family is really short on money right now (and there would be 2 adults and 2 students). BUT!… I will definitaly be praying.

    This issue has been on my heart a lot lately also… so I will absolutely be thinking about you guys…

    God bless you Rachelle and Nicole!

  • Leah – I was just about to say the same thing, but Alex beat me to it! I’m not sure if we’ll be able to sponsor your whole family, but we do have two students tickets available if you and your sibling could make it. Please do email me if you are interested! [email protected]

  • It is so encouraging to see fellow rebelutionaries making a difference! I really wish I could go to this ball and support your cause, but unfortunetly I live no where near Colorado. I will certainly be praying for you!

    Love In Christ,

  • Leah: Actually, I don’t know what “the forum” is. What is it? I’d love to know! 🙂 Thanks for your input!

  • I’ve had a burden from the Lord for teens trapped in difficult situations such as drugs, sex trafficking, alcohol, abusive situations, other sexual difficulties, and so on.
    So you can see I will be praying earnestly every day about this.
    I can only imagine what it would be like for these young women, but the Lord knows and he has granted me this burdened, of which I will take to Him constantly in prayer.
    Praise the Lord that godly Christians are taking a stand on issues that have been disregarded far too long.
    May the lord protect and grant countless blessings on them that seek the furtherance of His kingdom and the overthrow of sinful practices!

    In Christ alone,
    ‘1Timothy 4:12-13’

  • Wow! Go Rachelle and Nicole!! We need more people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and make a difference. I will be praying!

  • God bless your efforts, sisters! It is a worthy cause! I’m wondering where/how we non-local rebelutionaries can donate?

  • I have to admit, I was one of those people who thought that slavery was of the past. Well, that changed when I watched Amazing Grace and remembered the story of John Newton. Now after going through school, I hate any form of slavery with a passion. That includes sex trafficking. Power to you girls and may God shower you sith blessings

  • The rebelution forums (at the top of the page – the tab that says forums) is a community of teens who are commited to following the Lord and doing hard things. In the forums there are discussions started by teens who have questions, have a particular topic they think would be worth-while to discuss, need prayer, are starting a project, etc.

    Hope this helped, and sorry it took so long to reply!

  • I really like the Harris’s work, hopefully they will be able to find a way that the Rebelution will be able to continue without their involvement. Otherwise, it will die out. I hope that there will always be a positive influence like this available to young people.

  • It went fabulously. Thanks for asking! It was very successful, and we had about 107 people. So it was a nice turnout, and what’s more – we were able to earn more than $3000 for the Mercy Project! God did great and powerful things with the night, letting everything run smoothly and giving everyone a good time. Our prayers were answered beyond what we had prayed for!! Thanks to everyone who joined us in prayer and donated! 🙂 God does the impossible, and works through YOU.

  • Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say that you’ve done a very good job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Internet explorer. Exceptional Blog!

  • This has been a great burden on my heart for a couple years now. I have read so much about it, but sadly have never actually done anything. You have inspired me very much with this post. I am so happy to hear the grand total! God does awesome things, indeed! I will be praying for the Mercy Project. God bless you for all of your efforts! You are truly “doing hard things”!

    Many Prayers,

  • This is the kind of story that inspires me. I have been thinking about doing something completely different myself after reading Do Hard Things and Start Here.

  • Very funny I should read this just now, because I have been extremely burdened for women and children on this subject the last couple days. It is really unthinkable that such an morbid slavery trade could last for so many years while America does nothing about it! If people really care for “women’s rights”, why aren’t we getting out there and doing something about it? If there wasn’t so much pornography I don’t think there would be such an appetite for this kind of stuff. How anyone can find pleasure out of terrorizing innocent people I’ll never know.

    I am praying and praying for those in slavery, and this is a very good reminder to remember these slaves. Maybe some of us should sign a petition and send it to Congress!

  • Incredible…. Wow, there are so many young people doing such great things for God. I am so encouraged to know that there is such a great group of Christian youth out there trying to make a difference. You are in my prayers, and I will try to help spread the word.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →