Free to Thrive presents ‘Journey to Freedom’


Free to Thrive and Fôlsheart productions kicked off the premiere of their new film, The Last Warning Shot, as part of Free to Thrive’s “Journey to Freedom” annual fundraiser held Sept. 23 at the Carmel Valley home of Dan and Cynthia Kronemyer. The Last Warning Shot cast and producer, Alicia (Ali) Buckner, dazzled the red carpet along with several other event guests including Mayor Todd Gloria and District Attorney Summer Stephan.

In recognition of their resilience and strength through adversity, Free to Thrive honored two of their clients with Thriver Awards during the event program. The evening’s main event was the powerful story that the Fôlsheart crew told through our film, The Last Warning Shot. The film told the story of Maddy, an unsuspecting teenage girl who meets the guy of her dreams on social media, and is slowly coerced into the world of human trafficking. Although the film was fictionalized, it spoke to the reality of so many young women across the U.S. right now. In his powerful speech, Mayor Todd Gloria called upon event attendees to take what they learned from the film as inspiration to tackle human trafficking in their own community.

The evening was a huge success with over 60 sponsors, 200 people attending in person and nearly 200 people joining virtually from 26 states and two countries. Free to Thrive surpassed its fundraising goal and all net proceeds from the event will go to its programs and services that support survivors of human trafficking and their families.

Although the event is over, Free to Thrive plans to carry the event’s momentum into a new campaign, The Journey Continues. Anyone interested in learning about how they can play a role in supporting survivors of human trafficking can check out the organization’s The Journey Continues Campaign, which equips individuals with the tools they need to engage their community in the anti-trafficking movement.

Free to Thrive’s mission is to empower survivors of human trafficking to be free from exploitation and to thrive by providing them with holistic and trauma-informed, legal and support services in collaboration with Free to Thrive’s service partners, and by increasing access to justice for all survivors.

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Photos by Vincent Andrunas