by Elizabeth Turnbull
On March 3, The Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), which helps both youth and adult survivors of the sex trade through social services, resumed operations in a new location in Burien.
“We welcome survivors of the sex trade from all over the region to our new space,” the OPS wrote in a statement sent to the Emerald. “. . . We are excited to bring our survivor-centered model of services to this space and are eager to get to know our neighbors and community.”
Now located at 112 SW 157th St. in Burien, OPS continues to offer a wide array of services, including individual and group counseling, weekly meals, one-on-one case management and advocacy, chemical dependency counseling, yoga therapy, art workshops, drop-in hours, training for professionals, policy advocacy and mentoring.
With walk-in services available Tuesday through Thursday from 1-6 p.m. and drop-in art workshops on Saturdays from 2-5 p.m, OPS advocates are also mobile and capable of traveling throughout King County to meet with participants in locations that are more convenient, according to the organization.
In addition to providing counseling, groups and case management throughout the week, OPS also serves individuals who are looking to build a community and who are hoping to find a space that provides social support. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has worked with an average of 100 survivors per year since expanding its services to reach both youth and adults.
“Survivors come to OPS for many reasons, but the one I hear most is that OPS gives participants a safe place to form community and connections that last lifetimes,” said Alisa Bernard, a former participant and current OPS Director of Education and Partnerships. “OPS gave me space to learn who I am and find out who I could become.”
Containing staff offices, direct services, large group and activity rooms and convening and training spaces, the organization aims for the new space to provide a gathering place that’s a respite from the rest of the world.
“OPS truly is that kind of special place you’d brave a snowstorm to get to,” Bernard said. “I started coming to OPS as a participant seven years ago, going to support groups and art workshops.This organization has given me so much: community, family, support, love, acceptance.”
With a survivor-led and survivor-centric approach, OPS also offers more recreational events such as yoga therapy on Tuesdays, art workshop drop-in events on Saturdays, dinner on Thursdays, and counseling groups and case management throughout the week.
In relation to volunteering, OPS is constantly looking for individuals to collaborate and partner with, and prospective volunteers can participate in trainings, open houses and volunteer drop-ins.
Due to concerns over the coronavirus, services are currently closed but will resume regular hours Tuesday of next week: Tuesday – Thursday from 1-6 p.m. and Sat from 2-5 p.m.. Any updates or changes will be posted on social media
For more information on OPS visit www.seattleops.org and contact Nykki Canete with questions about OPS at firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Turnbull is a recent journalism graduate with a passion for writing human-centric pieces. Some of her most recent work includes writing for the Jordan Times where she highlighted issues faced by refugees.