Thirty million individuals are trapped in human trafficking and 1 billion go hungry every day according to Unseen Ministries website.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, problems of this magnitude may still go unknown.
That is why one of the goals of Unseen Ministries is to raise awareness about human trafficking, hunger and or poverty, and orphans. The local ministry that operates out of Fargo has fewer than 10 full time staff members. Together, they equip other non-profit groups with the tools needed to effectively fight poverty and human trafficking.
“Our ministry partners, equips and trains the best groups in the world fighting human trafficking and poverty,” said Jordan Maahs, project manager at Unseen Ministries.
Unseen is currently working with 16 non-profit groups from 10 different countries that focus on ending human trafficking. Human trafficking then stems down to the issues of poverty and limited efforts to help orphans. With the help of Unseen, many of these partner groups go on to raise higher funds.
Unseen focuses on equipping non-profit groups with media resources used for necessary fundraising. One job of Unseen is to help create professional-looking websites that groups can use to further their causes.
“I get to see first-hand what happens in people’s lives on the other side of the screen,” Maahs said.
Like many ministries, a problem Unseen Ministries encounters is how little money they have available to them. Although they receive a small payment from the groups they help, the vast majority of their funding comes from passionate donors of the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Despite the great support from the community, it is still not enough to allow Unseen to help several non-profit groups in need.
“We have a big waiting list, but we don’t have the funds to help,” Maahs said
Sophomores Bailey Tillman and Kirsten Stave both heard of Unseen Ministries through a friend and started volunteering there, but felt called to do more for the group. After an interest meeting with Unseen, the two students decided to bring Unseen to Concordia’s campus as a possible organization.
The two found that the mission of Unseen lined up with that of Concordia’s. Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World, or BREW, is one of the staples of Concordia College. Stave could not think of a better way to actively live out the words of BREW than the opportunity to start an Unseen club.
“I think the work of Unseen captures, in essence, what ‘BREWing’ is really about,” Stave said. “We are equipped to do so much and volunteering with Unseen is a really cool place to begin.”
Tillman and Stave went through the process of applying to become a club and were interviewed by the Student Involvement Council. Despite Tillman’s and Stave’s intent to become a student organization, however, the council decided Unseen at Concordia would work better as a student group under CSC. Tillman and Stave will act as heads of this group while students can volunteer for the group’s fundraising activities.
Tillman and Stave hope the group will act like an arm of Unseen. Tillman said the new Unseen group would be less of its own organization and more of an outlet into Unseen Ministries. This would hold true for all projects and fundraising events put on by the CSC group.
“As far as fundraising goes, we will mostly just be raising money for Unseen, not so much for us as a [group],” Tillman said. “Helping them is our main focus.”
The group is planning their first fundraising activity, in which they will sell bracelets in the Atrium and all funds will go directly to Unseen Ministries.
The help that will come from the new group will greatly assist Unseen Ministries in their efforts. Maahs was adamant about the importance of student participation.
“Every dollar raised from Concordia directly helps Unseen,” said Maahs. “If you’re passionate about the issues we stand for, please join.”
Unseen at Concordia is the flagship program for Unseen Ministries. It will be the first group formed for the ministry at any college and will serve as a test to see if an Unseen group works. If the CSC group is successful, Unseen hopes to expand onto other local college campuses.
Along with the CSC group led by Tillman and Stave, Unseen Ministries offers two internships to junior or senior college students involved in marketing, volunteer work and event planning. Tillman and Stave hope that the work environment of the ministry, along with the internships, will help attract student volunteers to their group.
Attracting students to the group will be Tillman and Stave’s first priority. They hope students will be drawn to the work that Unseen is doing and the impact students can have on the ministry.
“It’s so much fun volunteering for them and you can really see the difference they’re making,” Tillman said.
Stave is hoping that the new group will not only connect Cobbers to one another but also bring students together to better their community.
“Fighting human trafficking, caring for orphans and ending cycles of poverty — the missions of Unseen and other nonprofits — these are needs that must be addressed,” Stave said.
Tillman and Stave spoke highly of the the office environment at Unseen’s headquarters. With such a small staff, students and staff come to know each other well. This connection between the staff and students is what makes the work so refreshing, Stave said.
“Simply walking into the office is a breath of fresh air,” Stave said. “The atmosphere leaves you feeling centered and inspired.”
This article was submitted by Matthew Engum, contributing writer.