MIAMI – When Kara Zeder Rosen was in college, her mom invited her to a luncheon for Kristi House. “My mom was on the board, but at that time I wasn’t involved in the charity,” says Zeder Rosen, a sales associate with The Jills Zeder Group of Coldwell Banker in Miami.
That all changed once she heard the luncheon’s keynote speaker, a sex abuse victim who was helped by Kristi House Inc., a non-profit in Miami dedicated to healing and eradicating child sexual abuse and sex trafficking.
Zeder Rosen recalls: “It was there that I learned about the horrors of child sexual abuse, its pervasiveness, one in four girls, one in seven boys, and the toll it takes on a family. But it was also at that lunch, when hearing one of our child victims share her story, that I realized the young girl speaking was no longer a victim but a survivor, standing in front of hundreds of strangers telling her story of triumph. Yes, it was heart-wrenching. Yes, I had tears and couldn’t believe what this poor child had been through – but at the end of the day, there was hope, not only for her but for all victims. It was clear to me that Kristi House was her light at the end of the tunnel; we were her unicorn.”
From that day on, she was hooked.
“The more I learned, the more I wanted to help,” she says. “I learned sexual abuse was a cancer, but that Kristi House had the cure. While we can’t change a child’s past, we can change their future. So, I went to work doing what I could with incredible support from my family, friends, amazing board members, and most of all, the extremely dedicated angels at Kristi House.”
That was in 2012.
“I’ve been president of the board since 2015,” Zeder Rosen says. As president, she says, ensuring services to help those in need has been her priority. Kristi House has a $4.4 million budget and has been operating for 24 years out of six locations.
She adds, “We saw over 1,400 children and their families last year at no cost to them, and Project Gold helped 45 girls heal from the complex trauma of child sex trafficking.”
All of Kristi House’s services are entirely free.
“No one pays a dime, so, fundraising is a huge portion of what we do on the board,” she says.
The group is also extremely involved in outreach and education, according to Zeder Rosen.
She notes, “It’s a topic that people aren’t comfortable talking about, but we want to educate parents, teachers, everyone. The more that we’re learning about child sexual abuse, the more tools we can give children to learn about what’s appropriate and what’s not. The more they know, hopefully, the more you can prevent it.”
While Zeder Rosen says she would love to work with the victims that the Kristi House serves one-on-one, “We [board members] don’t interact with our clients because we respect the privacy of those who are there [at Kristi House.] Many have cases that are going to court, so the board members are dealing with the state attorney or police.”
All of those who come to Kristi House inspire her, Zeder Rosen says. “When I walk into the lobby, and children are waiting to be seen, and you know they are in the right place, it inspires you to keep working to serve as many people as you can. The work I’m doing behind the scenes is helping them,” she says. “Honestly, it’s changing their lives forever for the better. They’re going from victim to survivor. And, I’m proud of that.”
Want to know more about Kristi House, or possibly make a donation? Go to http://www.kristihouse.org/.