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Getting Support : Safe Passage Foundation

Introducing Safe Passage Foundation

from Jules - Wednesday, June 04, 2003
accessed 1956 times

As we all know too well, for we who were born and raised in a restrictive community, leaving our community of origin and starting over in society can be a difficult process. Basic life skills like finding a job, finding a place to live, and getting a high school education can seem overwhelming. Many of us have succeeded despite the odds, some people are still catching up, and others may be simply frustrated by the enormity of the challenges. Still others are still in the group and want a different lifestyle than that of a member of The Family, but don’t know where to start or how to begin to survive on the outside.

Outside of our own experiences with The Family, there are hundreds of thousands of children and youth raised in similar organizations and settings. From the limited research that has been done and from the contact I and others have had with these youth, it seems that the similarities between our experiences growing up and the challenges we face leaving are striking. I believe the need for support exists beyond our own demographic and is in fact much larger than anything any of us are currently aware of.

Over the past several months, some of the participants here have been working towards setting up a public foundation to provide support for young people leaving isolated communities. The people involved have worked very hard on this, and include Lauren, JohnnieWalker, Sharon, Nahchey, Ian and Andrew. I am very excited to announce that the foundation is now a reality. Safe Passage Foundation (SPF) was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in New York in April of this year. We are currently in the process of applying for tax exempt status, creating the bylaws and setting up the corporate structure.

We felt that it was essential that the management of this project remains the responsiblity of the second generation, as this is our issue and the success of this approach depends on us being empowered ourselves. The founding Directors and Officers of SPF will all be young adults raised in the Family. The domain names for and .org have been registered, and a web site will be coming soon with many more details on this.

While there are some very concrete goals as to what we plan to accomplish, establishing a project of this size is a long-term endeavor, and there is still a great deal of work to do. For the first few years we will mostly likely focus on youth raised in The Family, as a pilot, before including other groups. I wanted to ask everyone here to think about this, and let us know if you are interested in working with us on this, or if you have ideas for things that you would like to see happen, or specific things that you want to set up in your own area, or other areas that should be addressed.

The following is an un-finalized copy of a brochure being developed to explain what SPF is and some of the specific things we are working to establish, which should provide a clearer picture of the project and our goals.

To contact the SPF team write to:


Safe Passage Foundation is a non-religious, New York not-for-profit corporation that provides resources, support and advocacy for youth raised in restrictive or isolated communities. The universally accepted principles of basic human rights are the cornerstone upon which Safe Passage Foundation is established.

About Safe Passage Foundation

Adults with a high level of commitment to an ideal, religion or alternative belief system, sometimes choose a lifestyle within a restrictive or high-demand community. Children born into these communities are often isolated and may be without access to conventional forms of education, socialization or protection. Youth who leave these communities often do so without the support structure of family and friends. People raised in restrictive communities are an invisible demographic.

Safe Passage Foundation seeks to ensure that the rights of minors within restrictive communities are protected and that those who choose to leave their community of origin have a support structure throughout the transitional period.

Kevin's Story:
“When I was a child, my father moved our family to India. We lived in a branch of the isolated community he was part of. From the age of fourteen I had decided that I did not want to continue with his way of life. A few weeks after my 16th birthday, three friends of mine and I jumped over the wall of the compound with enough money to get downtown. We contacted our grandparents and were able to purchase tickets for each of us to return to our country of origin. Although I am a US citizen, I had never been to the USA. I had not been to school since the third grade. Catching up with schoolwork to bring me to the 10th grade was a non-stop struggle. I didn't fit into the new environment and lacked any knowledge of the American culture. I cried myself to sleep nearly every night for the first year."

For children being raised in such organizations, our goal is to provide advocacy exclusively in the best interests of the children. To this end we seek to partner professionals from a wide range of disciplines with those who have the unique understanding of the community that comes from having been raised in these environments themselves. This unique approach provides both cultural sensitivity and professional expertise in order to best communicate with and support those who are at risk.

Young people who leave these communities with inadequate preparation for life outside their community of origin may be exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation, marginalization, suicide, medical complications, crime and substance abuse. Our goal is to provide a network of support to enable successful integration into local communities. We provide educational and occupational tools to assist young adults transitioning from isolated or restrictive communities to becoming independent and productive members of society.

We Can Work Together To......

...Create AwarenessFor healthcare workers, educators, law enforcement, other professionals and members of the general public who are likely to come in contact with youth currently in or formerly raised in isolated or restrictive communities, Safe Passage Foundation provides training and education in order to raise the level of acceptance of members of our client base, diminish discrimination, while raising awareness of the challenges these young people face

....Provide Community SupportMentors, friends, peers and support can make a vital difference in the life of a young person who may be struggling to fit in and catch up. Safe Passage Foundation pre-screens and partners youth with people who can teach them about their national society and provides support groups, peer advocacy and counselling

....Provide OpportunitiesYour donation to Safe Passage Foundation is used to fund scholarships, occupational and support programs, advocacy, and research.

...Create NetworksAs part of a support network, Safe Passage Foundation provides referrals to community professionals who provide program involvement in areas such as work placement, tutoring, occupational training, emergency housing, childcare support and legal advice

...Provide AdvocacyWe aim to facilitate open dialogue and interaction with the communities themselves to aid in the advocacy for and protection of the rights of children within restrictive communities

...Conduct ResearchDue to the insular nature of some restrictive communities, little is known about the long-term effects that the high-demand lifestyle of parents may have on their children. Research is needed in these areas to identify the issues that children in these communities face.

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from skurtu1
Monday, August 02, 2004 - 16:49


I know this site is for those born into the family, but I happened to stumble upon it this weekend & have to comment. I joined the family @ age 15 as a cat & full-time @ 17. For 1/3 of my life I spent it "serving God" in the family. When I left, or rather, was asked to leave with a new-born baby & 4 other children in the early nineties, it was pure, living hell. I didn't have a high school diploma, job skills, etc. I worked hard & got my high school diploma & went on to college, but it was a very difficult time.

I want to say how happy I am to see Safe Passage Foundation available for others, like myself, that want to leave the family & other cults. If there's anything I can do to help please let me know.

Lynn(formerly Joanna, lived in Puerto Rico, DR, St. Thomas, & US while in the family, so anyone that knows me, please contact me)
(reply to this comment)

from gingersnaps
Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 08:23


Hey,Jules! Just wanted to get more info on the Safe Passage Foundation. I wish this would have been available when I left ´cuz it was hell to say the least! Thank God for friendly relatives! But, I wanna know what I can do to help out. I live in Brazil and would like to know what exactly you need for us to do. I could take someone in for a couple of months if they need a place to start from, look for a job, and all that goes along with it. I live specifically in Rio de Janeiro. Anyhow,please send me an answer ASAP on this. My E-mail is:

(reply to this comment)

from lmerrick
Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 23:48



This is a great idea. Being from a different and much smaller cult myself, I can't help but ask if their is any way to give help and recieve help for some of the people that I grew up with that can't get out, or who would get out if they had some support. I am a close friend of Michael Martella who formerly from I'SOT. Could there be some kind of qid pro quo arrangement? Either way, how does one donate and what would it be going for? Contact Mike if you are looking for support.

I'SOT survivor (1979-1992)


(reply to this comment)

from Mir
Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 16:09



This is excellent. You can count on my support. Please let us know how to go about donating...  It will be a pleasure to give to a cause like thisthe .  It feels so good to be able to give rather than to take...

(reply to this comment)
from xhrisl
Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 10:19


My darling Jules,

could you use a soon to be be college grad with extensive knowlegde of the field on you commitee?


(reply to this comment)
from Regi
Friday, June 06, 2003 - 10:27


It sounds like a modern-day Underground Railroad. Thank you for all your efforts Jules, it will undoubtedly make a difference in many people's lives.

(reply to this comment)
from Alf
Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:14

So how would i go about claiming my money off the foundation?
(reply to this comment)
From mike's passage - smelly but safe
Friday, June 06, 2003, 07:43

Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5(

No one brought it up so I will...

Great work by the way absolutely fantastic but oh the name...

There must be ten other foundations and charities with the same name from cat shelters to abused wives and gay babtists.

I'm positive I've seen a topical cream by the same name. Wich brings me to the point that almost every usage of the word "passage" that doesn't refer to an orifice is by and large obsolete.

may i recommend "association for the normalisation and integration of horror sex cult victims" - tagline  "god is not a pervert" now thats got movie rights in its future.

Then again "whats in a name"... maybe give us a bit of background on the the choice?

(reply to this comment
From Jules
Saturday, June 07, 2003, 00:49

Association for the Normalisation and Integration of Horror Sex Cult Victims" doesn't quite roll off one's tongue.

We were aware that there are other charities with similar names, but
the reason for choosing this one is that the goal is to provide
support during the transition and we needed something that portrayed
that concept. The key factor is the adjustment phase from our
community of origin (The Family) to integration into society, and
this transition is the most difficult to do alone. Most people, with
the exception of Alfie, aren't looking for handouts, but just a break
to get us to the same level as the other citizens of our national
society. Young exers are some of the most ambitious, hard working,
socially aware and responsible people I have ever met, and any
support given by society is a very worthy investment. Once we get on
our feet, we will be paying back and contributing to society for the
rest of our lives, and most of us have embraced the chance to do
this. The term Safe Passage implies transition, and that there is a
destination and goal in sight.

The phrase "Safe Passage" is a bit archaic, but Foundations (at least
on the Director level) typically are conservative and formal. We
needed something that would both appeal to and convey an accurate
concept to our donors as well as the eventual client base, which is
being set up to be quite broad. Establishing a organization like this
requires a lot of very stuffy paper work, and if it were not for the
support of some extremely brilliant and competent people who have
helped step by step, this would have remained a pipe dream.(reply to this comment
From Tim R
Saturday, June 07, 2003, 02:44

I agree, but I think it would ALSO be cool to have a foundation named: "The Association for the Normalisation and Integration of Horror Sex Cult Victims", Don't you think? ;-)

It would also make a great business card. (Lol)(reply to this comment
From different opinion
Friday, June 06, 2003, 13:19

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(

A Safe Passage is not a laughing matter when you ain't got one.  The name would not have been laughable to me when I escaped 12 years ago.  I would have given anything to have a Safe Passage.


(reply to this comment
From mike's passage - smelly but safe
Monday, June 09, 2003, 05:19

Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 2.5 out of 5(

I admit it can be quite painfull, I too would give anything but I've learnt the secret of drinking loads of water and eating plenty of roughage and my passage has never been safer - oh and I had to give up the insanity sauce.

If in need of a quick fix see here -"> >(reply to this comment
from dave
Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 02:18


This is great Jules.

(reply to this comment)
from Joe H
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 20:10

As soon as I have some taxable income, a big chunk of it will be going to the foundation.  Can't wait to make my first write-off! Yay!
(reply to this comment)
from frmrjoyish
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 18:59

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I'd be more than willing to help!  I could have really used something like this when I left.  Even though I left with my parents, they pretty much expected me to automatically know how to cope and deal with life in the real world.  They just didn't understand how new everything was to me since they had been through it all before.  My friend in high school had to teach me how to write checks, open a checking account and even how to drive. 

Maybe you could give a little more info on the specifics of what the average person could do to help out.  Good job to everyone who had a hand in this!

(reply to this comment)
from EyesWideShut
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 17:33

Count me in! Once it's all set up and you have brochures, etc., make them available. I have a lot of wealthy friends that would be willing to give to a cause like this.
(reply to this comment)
from Nique
Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 15:41

I think what you are doing is awesome and I am definitely interested in working with you and helping out in any way I can. Once you get all the details worked out with tax exemption etc., you should find out what you need to do to be added to the list of organizations under the Combined Federal Campaign. It would be a great way to raise support and even publicize the cause. Count me in!
(reply to this comment)

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