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Break Free Run 2021

Wow, I cannot believe Break Free Run 2021 has already come and gone! What a joyful weekend it was.

First of all, thank you to those that registered and participated. Your continued support is empowering and truly strengthening for our staff and those we serve. Though the race looked quite a bit different this year, we were still able to raise over $55,000 for our prevention programs!

I hopped onto our social media accounts a few times throughout the weekend to share some stories about previous Break Free Runs. From humbling to heartwarming to hilarious, I have been so blessed to witness a collective community stand up against human trafficking over the past 11 years. After all, the Break Free Run is what started it all.

I am thrilled that my collection of incredibly powerful BFR stories has grown after April 9th-11th! I absolutely loved reading all of your comments and emails regarding how you chose to participate. One of you hiked in Yosemite, one of you dressed up your dog in Break Free Run gear, and one of you rode your horse! Might I add, that person riding a horse decided not to submit a time… man, that would have been one quick 5K!

If you are a new follower and supporter of 3Strands Global Foundation, first of all, welcome! Thank you for joining this community. Second of all, I’d like to share with you about a teacher and team who have participated in the Break Free Run for years. My good friend, Karen Norwood, teaches at a high school in northern California. She has implemented PROTECT Prevention Education in her classroom countless times and has educated thousands of students on how to stay safe and protect themselves from human trafficking.

Karen always brings a HUGE, seriously MASSIVE, team to the race and gives a rather encouraging pump-up talk before the event. I mean, I feel equipped to run the Western States run after she has given her energizing speech! This year did look different for this team and all of us, but Karen didn’t let that stop them. After the team got together outdoors and safely completed their run, she emailed us with this incredible recap:

“I started with a little presentation for all the runners and their parents at the parking lot about why we were out there and the importance of our virtual run. We then counted our warmup mile and the 2-mile Hill Challenge as our Virtual 5K! … [Our team] loves to support this event and we felt it was very appropriate to do the virtual Break Free Run not as easy or fun as we could, but demonstrating as much grit, hard work, tenacity … pride, honor, and spirit as we could! I think we did it!!!!

… We had over 50 students make it to the top of the hill and many parents take the shorter climb straight from the parking lot. Both before we started and when we got to the top, we took time to talk about what we were fighting against and the young lady we were honoring so it NEVER happens to a [student] again!”

I sat in my car on race weekend and read that story, tears streaming down my face. There is so much about it that I love:

  1. That she would honor us and the Break Free Run with this special challenge

  2. That it shows resilience in this pandemic and that mirrors the resilience we are seeing in our survivors daily

  3. That she had the time to share about what human trafficking is and what it is not

  4. Her commitment to teach the kids this semester

  5. Her determination in pushing for justice and protecting kids

For those reasons and so many others, I knew I had to share this story with you, our incredibly special community. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for continuing to seek freedom, and continuing to declare that human trafficking is not okay.

Best wishes,

Ashlie Bryant

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