• Inez Allard

Girl Up Club Invites SLHS to Participate in Dressember

The Girl Up Club, the week of December 6-10, 2021, challenged the students of Spring Lake High School to wear a dress, skirt, or tie every day of the week as a campaign to raise awareness and end sex trafficking. Students and staff are welcomed to make donations to The Hope Project of Muskegon via giving to Mrs. Draeger in the media center. The Hope Project, established in 2006, was a program created to, “educate and inform the community about the issue of human trafficking.” The mission of this project is to provide women and girls who have survived sex trafficking with mentoring and education. The Hope Project is working on building a residential home for girls from ages 11-17 which will provide residential and non-residential treatment programs.

Human trafficking is considered to be a “modern day slavery” Jennifer Boodt says, advisor for Girl Up Club. The way Spring Lake decided to partake in this international foundation is by having students wear a dress/skirt/tie and pay $5 to participate. Boodt said, “On our first day of opening it up to the whole school, we had 60 participants including students and staff.” Spring Lake High School has had a history with The Hope Project and Dressember. “Maybe 10 years or so,” Boost said, there was a “... student group dedicated to bringing awareness and education around human trafficking- that it existed.” The group partnered with The Hope Project and had speaker Tessa Flores, a trafficking survivor, come in to talk to the school. Additionally, the girls varsity basketball team did a service project to help support The Hope Project too.

Students, in Girl Up or not, have shown great support for this project. Senior Emily Anderson says, “I think it’s necessary [to have Dressember at our school]. It’s more than wearing a dress because it’s such an important cause.” The students have felt the need to continue their work and support for human trafficking because, here, in Michigan is ranked within “...the top 10 states for human trafficking in 2019 with 364 cases”, according to the Polaris Project. The impact the students feel from participating or seeing others participate has been immense. Senior Anna Bisacky said, “I have had other students come up to me and ask why I have been wearing dresses or skirts and men wearing ties, I feel empowered.” and Airo feels, “... excited to be a part of a group and also support a worthy cause…” Numerous students have voiced the importance of this education, when it’s often overlooked and not noticed how close it is to us. Human trafficking is real.

Although our Spring Lake Dressember is over, donations and support can still be given to The Hope Project in Muskegon here. More information about Dressember can be found here.