Changemaker Becca Stevens turns past trauma into service

Changemakers

Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens knows firsthand just how difficult it can be to experience childhood trauma.

“My dad killed when I was young,” Stevens said. “And I was abused in the church, beginning at the age of 6, and up to the age of 9.”

But with the love and support of those around her, she was able to channel her pain into purpose. Today, Stevens is a globally celebrated speaker, social entrepreneur, author, and priest. However, her success is an outlier for girls who go through so much, at such a young age.

In fact, Stevens says they can often find themselves caught up in sex trafficking.

“It’s going on all the time, and it has its roots in childhood trauma and abuse.” Stevens said. “It makes people vulnerable to traffickers, and to people who want to use young women as commodities.”

With those girls in mind, Stevens founded Thistle Farms in 1997 as a single home in Nashville, Tennessee for survivors of trafficking, and addiction.

Now, 25 years later, there are five homes, and residents receive housing, medical care, therapy, education, and job training for two years, at no cost to them. The company also has 30 partner organizations in 20 countries that provide resources to women all over the world.

Stevens was named a 2011 Champion of Change by the White House, and a CNN Hero in 2016, and just released her 11th book, “Practically Divine.” She says it’s her favorite, because its message of leading with love, and making small, positive changes in our daily lives, is a timely one.

“This is the right book for the right time, to both inspire and challenge people. We can do better as a community, better creatively, and we can look at life in a way that gives us hope about what tomorrow can bring.”

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