THIS MONTH WE HONOR OUR YOUNGEST SPIRIT OF TEXOMA AWARD WINNER EVER.
BLAINE TOWNSEND IS JUST 19-YEARS-OLD AND AS A MEMBER OF TODAY'S GENERATION HE IS DOING HIS PART TO HELP
SOME YOUNG MEMBERS OF THE NEXT GENERATION IN A FAR AWAY LAND.
Blaine Townsend says, "I really felt like it was a calling from God. I really had no idea where it was going to take me, you know just to try to save slave children I don't even know."
BUT BLAINE QUICKLY LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE SAD FACES IN THESE PHOTOS...THE IMAGES WERE CAPTURED ALONG LAKE VOLTA IN GHANA IN WEST AFRICA...WHERE CHILDREN BARELY OLD ENOUGH TO WALK ARE SOLD TO FISHERMEN FOR SLAVE LABOR.
Townsend says, "What is really sad about it is that their family gave them up for the money, so their family sold them into slavery. So that is what really broke me down."
SOME OF THESE BOYS AND GIRLS WERE SOLD FOR AS LITTLE AS TWENTY DOLLARS.
MANY HAVE TO WORK UP TO 20 HOURS A DAY.
Townsend says, "We just wanted to let everyone know this is real. I wasn't very aware of so much of the human trafficking, it is a business."
SO BLAINE WENT TO WORK TRYING TO RESCUE SOME OF THE KIDS FROM A LIFE OF SLAVERY.....BUT HE SAYS THAT IS ONLY HALF THE BATTLE...BECAUSE ONCE FREED MANY HAVE NO PLACE TO GO.
"They are almost forced back on the streets and that way some of their masters, that is what they call them, will pick em up."
IN AN EFFORT TO BREAK THIS CYCLE BLAINE STARTED HANDS FOR THE BROKEN.
"It really broke my heart and I thought I should doing something about it and we started selling these bracelets with Mark Kwadwo's name on it. He was the first slave child that was rescued."
AND SO FAR BLAINE'S MISSION HAS NETTED ABOUT TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS THROUGH SALES OF THESE BRACELETS.
ONCE HE RAISES 15 THOUSAND AN ORPHANAGE CAN BE BUILT AND THESE CHILDREN WILL HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO CALL HOME.
"This isn't right. These kids have more to live for than work on a lake up to 20 hours a day...just to get them off the lake and into an orphanage home, food and have their life back.
BY SHARING HIS SPIRIT OF TEXOMA WITH KIDS HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD BLAINE IS GVING THEM A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE.
BLAINE'S SERVICE TO OTHERS REACHES BEYOND HANDS FOR THE BROKEN.
HE TRAVELED TO JOPLIN TO HELP A GROUP WITH CLEAN UP FOLLOWING THE TORNADO.
HE ALSO SERVES OTHERS HERE AT HOME.HE ORGANIZED A COAT DRIVE FOR FAITH MISSION AND HAS ALSO VOLUNTEERED AT STRAIGHT STREET DOWNTOWN.
IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ON HIS CHARITY WORK IN GHANA YOU CAN VISIT http://www.facebook.com/handsforthebroken