Vista Maria CEO and a survivor of human trafficking featured on webinar

Featured panelists on the Exploring Intersections webinar series in July were Vista Maria CEO and President Angela M. Aufdemberge; Ann Oestreich, IHM; and Bailey, a survivor of human trafficking and graduate of the Vista Maria WINGS program.

How can we help those we cannot see? How does one empower those who are in chains? These were some of the questions that the three panelists explored. They also examined myths, misinformation, and trauma surrounding human trafficking, as well as how to recognize signs that can tip off people to a trafficked situation.

Vista Maria graduate Bailey

Bailey was one of the first young women in Vista Maria’s WINGS program, which helps human trafficking survivors. She then moved to Vista Maria’s Shepherd Hall Transitional Living program to learn independent living skills and work on her relationship with her grandparents, who gained custody of Bailey when she was a year old.

Today she is a 22-year-old advocate for young people and a recent graduate of Michigan’s Women Who Weld program. Bailey is a full-time welder who lives independently in her own home and reports a strong connection with her grandmother and grandfather. She credits Vista Maria CEO Angela Aufdemberge and the WINGS staff for providing her with never-ending support. 

“Vista Maria has always been there for me, helping me find my first job and being there emotionally when I found that college wasn’t for me,” Bailey said.

Vista Maria CEO Angela Aufdemberge

Vista Maria is the oldest, longest-standing nonprofit serving vulnerable children and families in Michigan. Under the leadership of Angela Aufdemberge, Vista Maria has experienced accelerated growth and expansion. She is the driving force behind the successful development of a continuum of care for youth up to age 24. One of the most significant expansions is the addition of trauma-informed emergency, stabilization, and reintegration programming for adolescent survivors of human trafficking.

Ann Oestreich, IHM

Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM, is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, Michigan. She is board president of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking.

Tune in and learn more

The Exploring Intersections webinar series is a collaboration between Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR) Region X and the Communicators for St. Louis Catholic Sisters. A different webinar topic is presented online every second Wednesday of the month. The next webinar is on August 11 and explores the topic of gun violence.

Read more stories like this in the Province of Mid-North America newsletter Items of Interest.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website