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Our Mountain Heart will host Operation Underground Railroad fundraiser

Our Mountain Heart, a nonprofit organization founded by Jenny Adams, left, and Natalie Kershaw, raises money to help Operation Underground Railroad in its efforts to stop child trafficking. (Courtesy of Natalie Kershaw)
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Human trafficking is the modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation and commercial gain, and each year millions of men, women and children are trafficked across the world, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Our Mountain Heart, a Summit County-based nonprofit, wants to do something to help fight human trafficking, especially when the victims are children.

So, the organization, co-founded by Jenny Adams and Natalie Kershaw, will host a fundraiser that will raise money and awareness for Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a nonprofit that works with the world’s experts in extraction operations and anti-child trafficking efforts to bring an end to child slavery.

More information can be found by visiting http://www.ourrescue.org.

The event will be held at North Summit High School on Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m., and will feature a concert by gospel and world-music recording artist Alex Boyé, who is also known for his work with the Piano Guys.

"Alex didn’t hesitate when we asked him to perform," said Kershaw, whose family Boyé had lived with for a year. "Even though he has stopped playing small venues, he told us that he would love to help us."

The evening will also feature a presentation from Operation Underground Railroad.

"They will show a clip that tells us what is happening to kids in the world," Kershaw said.

"Child trafficking is as big an issue as drug trafficking worldwide," Adams said. "It’s also a topic that no one wants to talk about, but when we find out, it hurts your hearts.

"So, to do something like this, it creates awareness to the issue and to people like Tim Ballard, who started Operation Underground Railroad," she said. "He was willing to step out of his comfort zone to help someone else. He knew it was going to be hard and hurt emotionally, but he was willing to do it."

That sentiment resonated with Kershaw.

"When I saw what Operation Underground Railroad was doing, it was something that I have been interested in for a few years," she said.

When Kershaw, a foster parent, first contacted the organization, she was told that she could help by buying T-shirts and dog tags and making donations.

"That was fine, but I kept wondering what else we could do to help with their cause," she said.

While Kershaw pondered, Adams, who is also a foster parent, discovered Operation Underground Railroad through Facebook.

"I had read an article about them at the end of April that my friend posted and my heart got attached to what they were doing," Adams said. "I knew that I wanted to get involved, but didn’t know how."

A couple of days later, Adams decided to form her own organization that would raise money for Operation Underground Railroad.

"Natalie came to mind and I texted her and asked her to read the article," Adams said. "She texted back a picture of the [Operation Underground Railroad] dog tags that her husband was wearing. And then she called me and said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, we’re on board.’"

A few days later the two talked over some ideas.

"We decided that we would create an organization that would continue to fundraise in our community, but we needed to kick it all off with an event," Adams said. "Since Natalie knows Alex, she asked him to participate."

Our Mountain Heart is the perfect way for people to get involved with helping children, without having to jump into the commitment of becoming foster parents.

"The whole idea is to help raise money to help children," Kershaw said. "Our long-term goal is to provide a place, a facility, for these kids to stay and get rehabilitated, and that’s the same thing we do as foster parents.

In order to sell tickets and raise money for the June 24th event, Our Mountain Heart has recruited North Summit Middle School and High School students.

"This is a great way for them to do something for others and show them that if you have an idea, you can put it into action and make a difference," Adams said. "They will see that one person can do wonderful things and if you have many people getting together, we can do amazing things."

Our Mountain Heart will host a fundraiser for Operation Underground Railroad at North Summit High School, 111 E. 100 South in Coalville, on Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.ticketor.com/alexboye. Tickets will also be available at the door. Businesses and corporations that are interested in providing matching donations can also contact Adams at 435-513-5639 or Kershaw at 801-792-6528. For more information, email ourmountainheart@gmail.com.


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