Wapak senior stands against human trafficking

Mar. 16—WAPAKONETA — A senior from Wapakoneta who dedicates most of her time to service and others was honored as a recipient of the local Jefferson awards. Following an encounter at a youth conference, Kylie Engle felt compelled to do more. While at the conference, Engle learned the devastating truths of human trafficking. As she left the experience this quote stood out, 'You may choose to look away but never again can you say that you did not know'.

"I remember reading this and thinking, 'wow that is so true,'" said Engle. "What am I going to choose to do after just learning all this? Am I going to go back to being ignorant and not telling others that this is something that is literally happening in our world today? This form of horrific slavery is taking place throughout our world. After that, I looked up several organizations in my own state. That was the driving force and inspiration and creating this club."

Engle decided to start a 'Students Against Human Trafficking' chapter at Wapakoneta High School. The chapter meets and hosts fundraisers to give back to the organization it is under.

"Students against human trafficking is part of Operation Underground Railroad," said Engle. "That is a larger organization that allows for students to create clubs in their own schools and it is kind of like a movement to push to educate our youth on the risks of human trafficking. That organization itself sends out rescuers to save victims of human trafficking in other countries."

Engle said the organization also advocates for legislation in the United States to help those in human trafficking. Engle plans to close this chapter of her senior year and start the next at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. There she will study a Major in Criminal Justice with a double minor in Global Studies and Psychology. She then plans to go to Law school.

Engle was nominated by her school counselor, Cori Fields. In her nomination letter, Fields said Engle is a rare find. Fields also said she is always finding ways to serve others and she is an 'unsung hero' in the community.

Engle said she found inspiration by watching her mother serve at the Child Protective Service Agency and listening to her father always say 'go and be a leader'.

"I think the Lord really gave me a passion and a broken heart for victims," said Engle. "I think that I do have a calling on my life from Him to just be led in whatever direction He has for me and to impact others."

The Jefferson Awards honor 10 individuals for their community service. There will be an awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the City Club in downtown Lima. At the ceremony, one of the winners will be selected to represent the region at the national Jefferson Awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.