Volunteer Spotlight - Sharissa

The Freedom Café has a vibrant volunteer program that connects individuals from a diverse range of ages and expertise. Over 75 individuals, including 50+ high school and college students, are equipped each year to be advocates. These volunteers help run the café counter, host community gatherings, plan awareness events, and manage the organization’s marketing, communication, research, and fundraising efforts. The Freedom Café educates volunteers on social justice issues and empowers them to take action, while helping them develop meaningful transferrable skills that carry over into their vocational endeavors. 

Shariss (Left) with members of The Freedom Café Student Outreach Team at our Fall 2016 Gala

Shariss (Left) with members of The Freedom Café Student Outreach Team at our Fall 2016 Gala

The journey of one of our UNH student volunteers, Sharissa, paints a great picture of how volunteers grow as advocates during their time at The Freedom Café. Sharissa connected with The Freedom Café in the fall 2014 and got excited about our project goal to fund the construction of a clinic for survivors of bonded slavery in Nepal. Sharissa went home over the Holiday break and started talking up the project with her friends and church community. When she returned for the UNH spring semester she had raised $250 that she wanted to donate. We opted to use the funds as a matching gift and hosted a special open mic night where everyone's donations were doubled. We raised $600 that night and by the end of the semester had raised the $3600 needed to build and stock the clinic.

As Sharissa's knowledge of the issue grew, so did her passion to help end human trafficking. Sharissa connected with another volunteer who was passionate to help spread the word and the two of them initiated a student outreach team. The Freedom Café provided speaking training and helped the group develop 3 accessible seminars. Two months later they had given 8 presentations in residence halls, class rooms and a 200+ lecture class. This spring, as a social work major, Sharissa was able to bring the knowledge she had gained at The Freedom Café to her senior year internship where she created and presented an awareness and prevention program about human trafficking for the High School students with whom she was working.

Guests and volunteer applicants continue to share how those presentations inspired their own further research and engagement with the issue. 

Join the The Freedom Café and be a part of the movement to end human trafficking today! 

Save the Date - NH Gives - June 6-7, 2017

We need YOUR help to make NHGives* a success for The Freedom Café!

On June 6-7, 2017 The Freedom Café is excited to be participating for the first time in a statewide giving movement: NH Gives!

During this 24-hour giving event, The Freedom Café is raising funds to support our fall educational programing including our weekly Perform for Freedom and NE GIFT Box events and to pay the printing cost for educational materials like our Consumer Guide Post Card series. [We are looking forward to sharing our new coffee buyers guide soon.]

Our goal is to raise $4200 during the #NHGives event!

#NHGIVES is hosting a series of cash prizes for orgs based on amount raised and most unique givers between various time frames. We would like to focus our giving on the Tuesday6 June 6, 6-9pm in hopes of winning the $500 prize for that session.

Mark your calendar and get ready to give back! On Tuesday June 6, starting at 6pm, visit our fundraising page https://www.nhgives.org/organizations/the-freedom-cafe. You will have 24 hours to make your donation. All giving will end at 6pm Wednesday June 7th.

*NH Gives - an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits – is designed to bring the state together as one community, raising as much money and awareness as possible for New Hampshire’s nonprofits within a 24-hour, flash-mob of giving.

CourageSpeaks NH


The Freedom Cafe would like to thank to Cheri & Allison for being a part of the CourageSpeaksNH gallery and the YWCA, Haven, Deb Cram, Bags of Hope and Tabitha McElroy for collaborating on a fresh, compelling and hopeful project. 

We look forward to seeing CourageSpeaksNH continue to bring attention to the issues of domestic abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking and "offer hope for those who identify as victims and survivors of these crimes"!

Dialogue on Human Trafficking in NH

On Monday 3/27/2017, The Freedom Café hosted 3 members of the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force to speak and field questions concerning human trafficking in NH. 

- Kate D'Adamo, Project Manager
- Rebecca Ayling, Senior Case Manager, Child and Family Services
- Mike Posanka, Supervisory Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations

We opened the event by showing a short film created for the task force by AccessNashua, "A Conversation About Trafficking in the Granite State" available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK7_0... 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nK7_0Gv4QIo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Each of presenter introduced their role in the task force and work that is or needs to be done to address the issue of Human Trafficking in NH. Following these presentations at about 18 min. the dialogue turned to audience questions.

We are please to present a recording of the event. Our camera shut down prior to the completion of Q&A and final action points.

To bring the program to a close each presenter offered an important next step. To paraphrase their responses, here are 3 things you can do to help end human trafficking:

Mike - Be a good witness (ie notice the people around you and also understand the issue in the event that you serve on a jury) 

Kate - Be a good client / consumer (tip service industry workers, chose known ethically sourced products as often as possible)

Rebecca - Learn and re-share - leak information about trafficking to those around you

The Freedom Café would like to thank event sponsor Josh and Leah Bourdon for making this program possible.

Make Fashion Traffick-Free!

Working to end human trafficking is something all of us can do everyday. Being intentional about what we purchase can support or undermine the mission. But where do we start?

I remember a few years ago attempting a diet change. Going to the grocery store was grueling. Reading labels and trying to find new staples that fit new goals… Eventually it became clear that focusing on changing one product a at a time was a sustainable strategy.

Changing a routine is rough and if we are going to do it, we need to know the change is actually going to help. 

That’s where things like our ethically sourced chocolate and clothing postcards come in. This fall, Kelsey, a research intern through the women studies program at UNH spent hours researching and calling companies to ensure that the recommendations we make in these resources are accurate. They do not cover every possible option, but they give us a place to start. And as we get more engaged in the process, we can learn what to look for ourselves.

You can pick up these and other resources at the café. Further details from this research will be added to our webpage soon.

Training with Amirah Ex Director, Stephanie Clark

During our November volunteer team meeting we invited, Stephanie Clark, executive director of the Amirah Project to share about her work in the aftercare process. It was one of the most impactful training sessions we have hosted.

"You get involved in this work because you are sick and tired of not doing something about what you are sick and tired of hearing about" - Stephanie Clark

Stephanie spoke of the connection between the heroin epidemic and human trafficking, the great need for more effective aftercare opportunities (there are only 18 aftercare beds in New England for survivors of sex-trafficking, Amirah has 8 of them) and the challenge faced in the aftercare process. She shared that because there is not one fix when it comes to victim centered survivor aftercare, there is a need for individualized programs. Big load for staff. 

With humility and authentic knowing, Stephanie gave us a peek into the important work of survivor aftercare, inspiring our volunteer team to more deeply engage this issue and even consider long term work in the field.

Learn more about the Amirah Project at www.amirahboston.org

Letter From Our Outgoing Board Chair

Dear Café Volunteers and Friends,


I have had the privilege of serving the Freedom Café since before it existed. I remember sitting in the basement of the Lighthouse building when there was nothing more than a few old dorm room couches and cabinets with coffee mugs in them. What we did have was an impulse to try to make our world, and our small Durham community, a freer, more beautiful place. We thought then— and I still believe it now—that if you get people in a comfortable room with good coffee and allow them to freely express ideas and information, amazing things can happen. And if that coffee and conversation can also be a way of helping others, then doubly amazing things can happen.

Since our opening in early 2013, the Freedom Café has grown, increased its impact, and become an important landmark in the Durham community. I am proud of the contributions I have been able to make as a founder, advisor, and in my most recent role as the coordinator of the Freedom Café Board. But for the past year I have been winding down my role and now as we close out another impressive season, I am officially stepping down from leadership. I sincerely hope that the contributions of time, effort, and energy I have made will have helped to secure the foundation of our organization so that it can continue to make a difference for 5, 10, and 20 years to come. I am trusting that this community will continue to rise to serve the needs of the Freedom Café—we will need you as we try our best to respond to one of the most challenging social problems in the world.

I want to leave you all with two ideas, if I might. The first is that the Freedom Café could never have existed without idealists leading the charge. We let our imaginations run wild, wrote mission statements and possibilities on white boards, and dreamed up futures that seemed a little grandiose. That spirit of optimism and infinite possibility is something I see in so many Freedom Café volunteers, past, present, and (no doubt) future. We have to keep pushing ourselves and our communities forward and be fueled by a hope that we can make a difference. We can’t lose that, ever!

The second idea is that the process of actually trying to accomplish something never matches the ideal. The grind of effort, communal opinion, compromise, and number crunching can feel less than inspiring. But I think it is one of life’s great joys to act in the direction of our convictions, even if we can’t see where the impact is at that moment. I know I am preaching to the choir on this one, but never forget to be a doer. We can’t allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. Jump in and help where you can, whether it is with Freedom Café or your local soup kitchen or wherever. It will refresh your spirit.

The Freedom Café will always be progressing by its ideals and the sometimes messiness of acting on those ideals. Each is as important as the other. Contribute to both.  

Thank you all for your service and support of our mission throughout my time serving with you. I think sometimes of an old gospel song that goes “when I come to the end of this road, and I lay down this heavy load, let the work that I’ve done speak for me.” That is my hope.

A special shout out to some folks from the early days of Freedom Café, some whose impact might not be well known but I know is profound: Matt Rymer, Wilma Yowell, David Adams, Avary Thorne, George Adams, Liz Sterndale, Justin Patrie, Mike DeStefano, Larry Brickner-Wood, Katie McMahon, Tyler Racca, Melissa D’Angelo, and Sean Matthews. And a special shout out to my friends and comrades who have served on the Board: Paul D’Angelo, Greg Hadley, Theresa Trombley, Dan Demers, and, of course, Bryan Bessette. It has been a journey, a source of stress, a learning opportunity, a source of inspiration, a laboratory, an honor, a joy.

-Mike D’Angelo

NH To Receive a $1.3M Grant to Combat Human Trafficking

It's official! The Department of Justice has awarded a $1.3 Million Grant to support NH efforts to combat human trafficking. We are excited to partner with and support state efforts through involvement in the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force.


he following information about the Grant and Collaborative is from the Collaborative Core team Member, Give Way to Freedom originally posted at: http://www.givewaytofreedom.org/initiatives/New-Hampshire-Task-Force.php 


Give Way to Freedom is a member of the Core Team, providing leadership and technical assistance to the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force (“The Collaborative”).

The MISSION of the Collaborative is to develop and implement a multidisciplinary response to human trafficking in New Hampshire that is:

  • coordinated and collaborative,
  • victim-centered, and
  • trauma-informed.


  • The Collaborative is comprised of law enforcement, service providers, attorneys, state agencies, and other community stakeholders working together for the purpose of improving the statewide response to human trafficking.
  • Recognizing the complexity of the issue, as well as a fundamental lack of resources, the Collaborative functions as a central hub where interested stakeholders can connect, collaborate, and maximize impact through collective and strategic action.
  • Fundamental to the Collaborative’s efforts is the understanding that human trafficking impacts vulnerable people and populations, and any true response must include support to prevent and address vulnerability in whatever form it may take.


  • Human trafficking - both sex and labor - happens in New Hampshire.
  • Human trafficking impacts all genders, ages, and nationalities and our response, including investigation, prosecution, services, training, and awareness must be inclusive.
  • Collaboration is essential for success.
  • Effective investigations, prosecutions, and services are victim-centered and trauma-informed.
  • Preventing and responding to human trafficking requires a thoughtful and long-term approach, with policies and actions informed by data and experience.
  • Audiences should be empowered with concrete ways they can be part of the response in their personal and/or professional capacity.


Over the next three years, the Collaborative will implement plans to formalize and enhance existing efforts and build capacity statewide to achieve the following goals:

  • Identify victims of all forms of trafficking;
  • Investigate cases and prosecute cases at the local, state, and federal levels; and
  • Provide comprehensive, victim-centered and trauma-informed services and support to all survivors - men, women, children, citizens and non-citizens.
  • Engage the Community in ways that positively contribute to identification, investigation, and service provision.


Through a federal grant from the Department of Justice, as well as contributions from Give Way to Freedom and the Freedom Café, the Collaborative will be able to dedicate staff, support survivor needs, investigate and prosecute sex and labor cases, provide training, and coordinate data collection and evaluation in furtherance of the four goals.


A Core Team leads the Collaborative, comprised of Manchester Police Department, Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, Give Way to Freedom, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.


The Collaborative Partners represent a diverse group of stakeholders committed to sharing their experience and expertise. With the implementation of the three year plan, the Collaborative will continue to engage and grow its membership in order to develop the best response and supports and achieve the four goals.

Follow The New Hampshire Human Trafficking Task Force community page on Facebook 
“Like” the page to stay informed about events, training, ways to get involved, and other state efforts!

Fall Grant - Amirah Project

Several times per year, The Freedom Café raises funds for a competitive grant through the donations generated by its over-the-counter operations. These grants enable us to further the critical work of the anti-trafficking movement and at the same time raise awareness about the collaborative efforts needed to end human trafficking. This fall our grant is going to The Amirah Project to support survivor mentorship. In the month of September we raised $1200 toward our $3000 grant goal.

Amirah, located in the Boston area, exists to provide a refuge for women over the age of 18 who have been sex trafficked. This safe home is more than just a home; it is a place where each woman receives whole-person care as she works her way through her individualized, trauma- informed program. 

An important part of the care each survivor receives is a monthly mentoring time with a survivor leader who has worked through their own trauma and is now able to offer support, guidance and a voice of experience where the staff and other people within their lives can not.

Learn more about Amirah at http://www.amirahboston.org

Stop in for a café drink, donate what you'd typically pay and help end human trafficking one ethically sourced mug at a time!