An article I read online from 2009 stated that Tampa Bay had:
– 43 Strip Clubs
– 43 McDonalds
– 41 High Schools
– 21 Fire Stations
– 13 Synagogues
– 12 Hospitals
Wow. Fast food, strip clubs & high schools – oh my. Strip clubs, fast food & high school – oh MY!
Ugh… I’m sure the estimated total of strip clubs has risen even more over the past seven years. And with that, so has the increased violence that evolves within their parameters.
Googling a little, it’s not hard to find reports indicating violent crimes directly linked to the adult entertainment industry in Tampa Bay. Between 2014-2015, two different shootings were reported outside the exact same club within 14 months of one another. Just this past October, a fatal shooting occurred outside one of Tampa’s strip clubs. While planning to write this blog post, just last week, yet another two more people were shot in the parking lot of a strip club in – you guessed it – Tampa.
Serving as a small group leader for high school senior girls, my mind can’t help but think that some of the women employed in these clubs, may not be that much older than the group of girls I mentor on a weekly basis. Even more so, they’re risking their lives just by going to work based on the statistics. Many are college students, or single moms, trying to take care of their kids… pay basic bills. As much as the acts of violence need to be addressed through law enforcement, there’s also a need to reach out to the women who work in the clubs. The Second Chance Ministry at Harborside Christian Church in Safety Harbor FL, is doing just that.
Harborside approached me with the vision to design a brand that accompanied their growing outreach which embraces women who are employed in various strip clubs throughout the Tampa Bay area. The third Wednesday night of each month, they invite anyone who would like to volunteer. Whether it’s making home baked goods, stuffing & wrapping small gift bags, praying, or visiting the girls for just a few minutes to hand deliver these gifts, this local outreach is making a difference through their approach and determination to build relationships with women whom may otherwise be ‘overlooked.’ Embraced by conversations with the Second Chance Ministry team, this outreach holds strong hopes of beginning meaningful & truthful friendships with women that work in an environment where selflessness otherwise may never be encountered. I was humbled to learn that last Thanksgiving the Second Chance Ministry asked one club owner permission to set up and serve a Thanksgiving meal outside in their parking lot, free of cost, to all of their employees.
I felt this brand should represent warmth, comfort, elegance, freedom and confidence. I wanted the colors and imagery to symbolize the strengths & qualities that each woman who is embraced, possesses. Thank you Harborside for letting me a part of the branding of this amazing outreach for women happening right here within our community. Every second counts. Every chance matters.