RISE | Our History
RISE is currently the only prostitution and trafficking-specific program in Toledo, Ohio that follows the Social Work Code of Ethics and offers quality and comprehensive programming in partnership with professionals and survivors. The program was founded in 1993 as Second Chance through the efforts of Dr. Celia Williamson. The design of the program was based on over 500 hours of interviews conducted with survivors/victims from the Toledo community. From the founding of the Second Chance program into its development as RISE, the program has sought to not only help individual women and girls but to engage in community change as well. Before Second Chance, there was little or no recognition by the Toledo community that women involved in street level prostitution were often victims of violence and exploitation. There was also little to no recognition by the Toledo community that child prostitutes are victims of child abuse.
Throughout the years Second Chance empowered many women and girls to find their own voice and to regain choice in their lives. Due to the past and continued efforts of the Second Chance program and Dr. Celia Williamson, the Toledo community has begun to recognize that children involved in prostitution are victims/survivors of sex trafficking and that women involved in street level prostitution suffer violence, abuse, and discrimination. However, change is often a slow process and RISE will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the Toledo community is sensitized to and recognizes the victimization and violence which occurs in sex trafficking of children and the prostitution of women.