Rosanne Sharratt founded Back Home To Blossom, doing business as Blossom Care Network (BCN). This all started when she read an article about 52 girls who had been rescued in the U.S. in February, 2010, along with another 1,000 minors rescued in Ohio in 2009. They discovered there were only four residential treatment centers for their specific needs and a total of 45 beds in the entire country. Her first reaction was that she could not believe this was happening in the U.S. and secondly could not believe that they could only find 45 beds for these children. From then on, she spent a lot of her free time year investigating the issue of sexual trafficking and found that INDEED THIS WAS TRUE!!
In March of 2011, Rosanne was successful in her application for 501(c) 3 nonprofit status. For a period of time, not a lot happened. Then at the beginning of 2013 Roseanne's son Mathew took the reigns as interim Executive Director, beginning a process of discovery to decide what BCN should become and how it could maximize its impact. Over the next few years, the BCN team and the Board members became well versed on sex trafficking and intimately aware of the local situation. Many needs were identified and initially the Board thought that providing therapeutic housing may be something that BCN could help with. However, after further examination, due to high expense ($100K per child/yr.) and lack of wide impact, this option was passed on.
So we continued to ask, "What can we do that will have the greatest impact with the largest number of kids, that we can do as well or better than anybody else, and that we can get started within a year?" It was at a meeting of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) executives that one of them suggested trauma-informed mentoring. Immediately, everyone at the table agreed that this was a huge unfilled gap. After further thought we realized that every story we had hear since beginning our research had this one missing ingredient: a caring, consistent adult relationship. And this was something that BCN could get started with right away, without too much expense and would be relatively easy to sustain.
In July of 2014, longtime volunteer and part-time staffer Madeline Behnke, took over as permanent Executive Director and began to lead the effort full-time to pursue the development of a program providing trauma-informed mentoring for sexually exploited youth.
Under the leadership of Rosanne and Madeline, the Blossom Mentoring Center was opened in Arvada, in April 2016 to serve young people primarily in Jefferson County. Its goal is to be a safe place for mentoring, a center to coordinate complimentary services and a meeting place to help exploited youth identify and develop their interests and skills, encouraging them toward lifelong success.
Going forward in 2017, BCN is focused on reaching into and across the Denver area with a much more community-based approach. By meeting closer to where both the young person and the mentor live, work or go to school it is more convenient for both and will allow BCN to help many more kids in much more diverse neighborhoods.