Tag: Trauma Workshops

Aug 10

Tutoring Commercially Sexually Exploited Children – CSEC 101

Young people who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation may have certain behaviors and special needs, and it is important to understand the challenges and trauma they have faced. In this workshop, child welfare consultant and organizer Miranda Sheffield gives School on Wheels tutors the information they need to successfully tutor children and youth rescued from CSEC scenarios. She is joined by a sexual trafficking survivor, Rachel Thomas, who discusses her experience. This workshop is specifically designed to inform School on Wheels tutors who are working with or may be working with CSEC students.

About the presenters: Miranda Sheffield has spent the last 10 years working within the child welfare community. Early on, she worked with Los Angeles County DCFS to promote youth engagement and accountability with youth living in group homes. In the last five years she worked with the Children’s Law Center supporting youth in extended foster care. Miranda helped create CLC’s Peer Advocate program, giving clients an opportunity to work with peer advocates who have had direct experience growing up in foster care. She was a part of CLC-specialized CSEC team, which included attorneys and case managers providing legal and social support to youth in the life. Miranda has transitioned out of her role at CLC and currently works as a consultant, providing training to those in the child welfare community.

Former music video model and sex trafficking survivor Rachel Thomas is a dynamic educator who speaks from the heart and aims at the head. With a Masters in Education from UCLA and over 10 years’ experience in teaching and mentoring, Rachel co-founded Sowers Education Group to sow seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.

Rachel was a junior at Emory University when she unknowingly met a trafficker: a professional and well-spoken ‘modeling agent’. He had business cards and a portfolio of contracts with beautiful models of all ethnicities. He groomed her with high-quality, all-expense paid photo shoots and legitimate modeling work in various music videos and magazines. Then, after he had collected a W9 form from Rachel (including her parents’ address and SSN), the relationship became dangerous. He began forcing her to have sex with buyers, threatening to kill her and her family if she didn’t obey. He became physically and psychologically abusive, ushering Rachel into the dark world of sex slavery. Thankfully, the police and FBI were eventually able to help Rachel, and the trafficker’s dozens of other victims, to escape this devastating situation. As Rachel continues to overcome and understand her experience, she is “turning a mess into a message” that will spread prevention and empower victims.

Since 2012, Rachel has reached over 36,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers. Rachel was also honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts. To learn more about Sowers or Rachel Thomas, please visit www.SowersEducationGroup.com.

Aug 9

Online Workshop: Tutoring Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) 101

This online workshop is open to both active tutors as well as tutors completing our application process. The workshop, however, does not substitute for the mandatory in-person Tutor Training required of new applicants. Please refer to our event calendar to register for a Tutor Training.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
12:00-1:00 PM

Young people who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation may have certain behaviors and special needs, and it is important to understand the challenges and trauma they have faced. In this workshop, child welfare consultant and organizer Miranda Sheffield will give School on Wheels tutors the information they need to successfully tutor children and youth rescued from CSEC scenarios. She will be joined by a survivor, Rachel Thomas, who will discuss her experience. This workshop is specifically designed to inform School on Wheels tutors who are working with or may be working with CSEC students. 

About the Presenters:

Miranda Sheffield has spent the last 10 years working within the child welfare community. Early on she worked with Los Angeles County DCFS to promote youth engagement  and accountability with youth living in group homes. In the last five years she worked with the Children’s Law Center supporting youth in Extended Foster Care. Miranda helped create CLC’s Peer Advocate program. The program provided clients an opportunity to work with Peer Advocates who have had direct experience growing up in foster care. Miranda transitioned into working directly with foster youth involved in CSEC while at CLC. She was apart of CLC specialized CSEC team which included attorneys and Case managers providing legal and social support to youth in the life. As of now Miranda has transitioned out of her role at CLC, she currently works as a consultant and provides training to those in the child welfare community. 


Former music video model and sex trafficking survivor Rachel Thomas is a dynamic educator who speaks from the heart and aims at the head. With a Masters in Education from UCLA and over 10 years’ experience in teaching and mentoring, Rachel co-founded Sowers Education Group to sow seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.

Rachel was a junior at Emory University when she unknowingly met a trafficker: a professional and well-spoken ‘modeling agent’. He had business cards and a portfolio of contracts with beautiful models of all ethnicities. He groomed her with high-quality, all-expense paid photo shoots and legitimate modeling work in various music videos and magazines. Then, after he had collected a W9 form from Rachel (including her parents’ address and SSN), the relationship became dangerous. He began forcing her to have sex with buyers, threatening to kill her and her family if she didn’t obey. He became physically and psychologically abusive, ushering Rachel into the dark world of sex slavery. Thankfully, the police and FBI were eventually able to help Rachel, and the trafficker’s dozens of other victims, to escape this devastating situation. As Rachel continues to overcome and understand her experience, she is “turning a mess into a message” that will spread prevention and empower victims.

Since 2012, Rachel has reached over 36,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers. Rachel was also honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts. To learn more about Sowers or Rachel Thomas, please visit www.SowersEducationGroup.com.

Register Here

Oct 15

The Importance of Building Resiliency

Resiliency has been defined as “the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds–trauma, tragedy, personal crises, plain ‘ole’ life problems–and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful.” (Resiliency in Action, 2012). It is one of the reasons why some of the children and youth we tutor are able to succeed in spite of experiencing the inconsistencies and stresses of homelessness.

This workshop discussed the importance of resiliency and offered tangible strategies to use to help both students and tutors learn the tools necessary to overcome adversity.

About the Host:

Renee Longan has worked with children and families in crisis for the past 20 years. In addition, she has provided multiple trainings on self-care for professionals, caretakers and volunteers. She believes strongly that volunteers are the heart and soul of any nonprofit and that the gift of being present is invaluable to those who are struggling. Renee has also been a tutor with School on Wheels since 2007.

Oct 16

Building Connections with Group Foster Home and Runaway Teens

Tutors learned how to help students at group homes feel safe and build a stronger connection as well as advocate for the needs of their students. The presentation covers the following topics:

  • Challenges in forming relationships
  • Respecting boundaries and making your student feel safe
  • Strategies for the initial meeting
  • Advocating for teen students
  • Dealing with disappointments
  • Real solutions based on experience

Building Connections Presentation Slides

Building Connections Handouts

Teenager Activities

About the presenter:

Hanna Duff is currently earning a Master’s in Education and teaching credential from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education. Through School on Wheels, Hanna has mentored dozens of high school girls at a group home in Ventura County and is serving as an intern at the School on Wheels South L.A. Learning Center.