Meet Our New Board Member

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Refuge for Women is so happy to announce that Barbara Wheeler has joined our board.  She has spent her entire adult life in public service, starting as volunteer for the United States Peace Corps. She later served as a school teacher at Wauconda Middle School and was elected to the McHenry County Board in 2002. 

In 2012, Wheeler was elected to represent the 64th Legislative District in the Illinois House of Representatives.  Rep. Wheeler has focused on the needs and priorities of taxpayers and families in Lake and McHenry Counties. Currently, she is serving her third and final term as State Representative. These last 4 years in the Illinois General Assembly, it is her number one priority to combat this public health crisis of modern day slavery. She has been the chief sponsor or co-sponsor of many of the anti-trafficking bills in the Illinois General Assembly.

Wheeler received her B.A. in Education from Loyola University and a Master’s in Education, Language, and Literacy from National Louis University.  Representative Wheeler, her husband Joe and their five children have lived in Crystal Lake since 1998.  They are active members and volunteers at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking is a high-profit, low-risk business where human beings are sold again and again and again by those who view them as objects for profit.

How Much $ Does a Pimp Make?

According to Polaris Project, a pimp can make between $150,000 - 500,000 per girl.  Keep in mind that some pimps will have multiple girls under their control.  A former Refuge KY graduate was forced to bring in $4000 per day for her pimp.  So even with days off she was bringing in $300,000 a year for her trafficker.

If you'd like to learn more about trafficking and the women that we serve, here are just a few ideas you may want to consider:

Know the statistics:

  • 27 million are enslaved around the globe
  • 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are affected annually in Chicago alone
  • Trafficking has been reported in all 50 US States

Know the red flags:
Visit Polaris Project to learn the indicators of human trafficking.
To report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888
Books we recommend:
Choose one of these for your next book club.

  • Walking Prey by Holly Austin Smith
  • In Our Backyard by Nita Belles
  • The White Umbrella by Mary Frances Bowley
  • Nobody’s Girl by Barbara Amaya
  • Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd
  • Refuse To Do Nothing by Shayne Moore

Movies we recommend:
Host a movie night at your house and invite Refuge to come speak.

  • Nefarious
  • Chosen
  • 8 Days

Support the healing of women who have been trafficked:

  • Host a Refuge For Women House Party!  Open your home, invite your friends, neighbors and coworkers, and provide dessert/coffee. Refuge will present the vision and direction for giving needed aftercare to exploited and trafficked women through presentation, video, special interest sign-up sheets, raffle prize,  and Q and A.  For more information contact Karen Schultz at
  • Share Our Video on your Facebook page and ask your friends to like us on Facebook at

Happy Birthday Refuge Chicago!

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First year birthdays are special celebrations and ours was Nov 21. 

This was the day we welcomed our first resident!  Just as a proud parent looks back on her baby’s first year that is marked by that first smile, that first tooth, that first step… Refuge is now looking back on our first year and we have had many special firsts as well. 

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You have been with us through our first year of sleepless nights, learning our rhythm, growing through challenges and celebrating victories - THANK YOU. 

These memories are yours as well and we invite you to continue being part of the Refuge family into year 2 where we look forward to more graduations, more baptisms, a backyard prayer garden and so much more.

Your prayers, support, and encouragement help us offer our courageous women:

  • A safe place to live in a secure location
  • A loving group of people to walk the healing journey with them through our 24/7 staff and volunteers
  • Professional counseling with trauma informed therapists on a weekly basis
  • A home where healthy rhythms of life and job preparation can be experienced, modeled, and practiced
  • A place to encounter Jesus and receive His hope for the future
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Will you make a Christmas season/year end /birthday gift to Refuge today to keep us walking with women into the beautiful futures God has for them.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jer 29:11)    We can’t do this without you.

We invite you to make a tax deductible One-Time donation gift or become a Monthly Freedom Sponsor either online or by mail.




By Mail:

Refuge For Women Chicago

180 S. Western Ave #123

Carpentersville, IL 60110


Our goal is to add 20 new Monthly Freedom Sponsors by the years end. Would you consider signing up today for 30 dollars a month? 

Thank you for making a difference and helping us grow strong into year 2!

Your gift does the following and so much more.

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Refuge for women values your financial partnership and appreciates your understanding that categories noted are for descriptive purposes only and are not designated funds.