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ARTREACH releases first book
November 15, 2017

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Last week, Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships announced their first ever book, "ARTREACH."

HTAP'S ARTREACH program which was launched in 2010, teaches children who attend summer camp or afterschool programs at Boys & Girls Clubs, PACE, The Heights Foundation and other organizations about human trafficking in an age appropriate manner. ARTREACH completes about 14 programs a year.

Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships Executive Director Nola Theiss said because they've accumulated so much art from the kids throughout the years, she thought one of the best ways to showcase their work would be to publish a book.

"I think they learned to start with a concept and figure out a way to express that concept in a way that other people can understand." Theiss said. "In this book, we see the interpretations of the kids."

The 64-page book represents over 150 pieces of art that were done by students between 2010-2016, all of the kids in the ARTREACH program are between the ages of eight and 18. Over 1,200 students have participated in the program since its inception. In addition to pictures, the book also features messages by the kids depicting what human trafficking means to them. The book was published by Panther Printing and illustrated by Leonardo Oliveros.

During HTAP's ARTREACH program, students work in groups of 3 to 5 to create a painting on canvas that sends a message against human trafficking. Once the students are finished, the paintings are hung in places like BIG ARTS, Alliance for the Arts, the Naples Art Association, banks and stores.

All together, 2,000 copies of the book have been published. The book was able to come to life thanks to the help of two donors. One of the donors helped fund the production of the book so that another 1,000 copies could be made.

"The book did not cut into program costs," Theiss said.

Proceeds from the book will go towards funding HTAP's afterschool programs during the spring and summer.

Theiss said that Florida has the third highest instances of human trafficking cases in the U.S.

"The group of people most targeted in the state of Florida are young girls between the ages 11 and 15," she said. "That's why we have to reach out to the very young ones."

Southwest Florida isn't excused. The Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed over 300 cases last year alone.

"Hopefully, this book will make a difference," Theiss said. "We're super proud of it."

Those who would like a copy of the book can contact Theiss at 239-415-2635 or send an email to nola@humantraffickingawareness.org.

For more information on the organization, go to humantraffickingawareness.org.

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