ABOUT CECE’S

How it all started

CeCe’s Hope Center was founded in 2017 with the mission of bridging the gap in critical services for women, ages 18-24 who are survivors of sex trafficking and require services and support on their road to recovery. To maximize success and make the most efficient use of scarce resources, CeCe’s Hope Center is committed to partnering and collaborating with community stakeholders to meet the needs of the population served.

Upon turning 18, a young woman who has been fully or partially cared for by publicly funded services is often left without continuity and are ill equipped to handle independence.  She’s an adult! She’s on her own. Right? Was your daughter on her own the day she turned 18?  Were you?  Even if she/you were, chances are you had a responsible adult who provided guidance and positive influence and likely, they were available after you turned 18 to reach out to for help or advice. 

Founders with a vision

Our founders, Lea Benson and Vice-Mayor Rene Lopez of Chandler were seeking a solution to a problem they had observed where survivors, aging out of the foster care system, often struggled to support themselves and stay on a positive path when the services afforded to them as minors were no longer available. As former CEO of StreetLightUSA, Benson has worked hands-on with victims for over a decade.

Since inception, case management and referrals continue to be the cornerstone of services for Cece’s Hope Center program participants. Participants are referred by survivors, community partners, law enforcement, victim specialists, and the public to Cece’s Hope Center.

Who we help

CeCe’s Hope Center serves a particularity vulnerable population that intersects the issues of girls aging out of foster care, homelessness and sharing the commonality of being victims of a heinous crime. There is a constant cycle of youth 18-20 being “released” into the community, without adequate resources, support, or hope.

The need for help is increasing

The number of Department of Child Services youth with a history of trafficking is not reported, but we know the risk is high that if they have not yet been victimized and if they end up on the street, they are very vulnerable to traffickers. The number of at risk girls is rising by the day with the significant increase in homelessness in the years since our inception. We are bracing ourselves for a dramatic increase in demand for our services and have already experienced long delays or waiting lists for housing for our clients.

OUR TEAM

Lea Benson

CEO / Co-Founder
lea@cecescenter.org

Megan Jefferies

Development & Communications
megan@cecescenter.org

Natalie Murillo

Administrator
natalie@cecescenter.org

Monica Ivy

Case Manager
monica@cecescenter.org

OUR BOARD

Rene Lopez

Chairman / Co-Founder
Vice Mayor / City of Chandler
rene@cecescenter.org

Julie Spilsbury

Director
Mesa City Council
Councilmember District 2

Jim Miller

Board Secretary
SVP, General Counsel
Investment Property
Exchange Services

Scott September

Director
Gilbert Town Council
Regional Manager
Crown Castle International

Eddie Cook

Director
Maricopa County Assessor

George Macedon

Director
President / Executive Director
Fans Across America
Charitable Foundation

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OTHER

The maximum QCO credit allowed is $800 for married filing joint filers and $400 for single, heads of household, and married filing separate filers.

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