The 2021 Concealed Revealed Art Auction Awards Honor YWCA Advocate
A native of South Dakota, Patti Mellard is currently celebrating her 31st year in business in Topeka and Manhattan. She is the founder and CEO of Key Staffing and Premier Employment Solutions. She has served on the boards and committees of local, state, and national organizations including the Kansas Governors Board of Economic Advisors, United Way of Greater Topeka, and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce.
Patti became involved in the efforts to end human trafficking in 2018 and since then has collaborated with Rotary, the Kansas Attorney General’s office, YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, Restore Hope, STARS, Freedom Now, Rended Heart, and Veronica’s Voice to fight sex trafficking. In 2018 she initiated three projects to assist victims, Fresh Start kits, Safeline Phones, and the Be an Angel program. In 2019 Patti chaired a Rotary Global Grant to partner with Rotary of Mumbai, India, and the YWCA CSE to establish a Day Center for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence in Topeka. Patti has traveled throughout NE Kansas to present sex trafficking education at more than 40 Rotary, Kiwanis, and corporate meetings.
Patti and husband Daryl live in Wakarusa and have 6 children and 13 grandchildren. Patti’s hobbies are fishing, gardening, crocheting, and sewing.
If you missed the April 17 Concealed Revealed Art Auction, read about it here, and watch the video replay to hear more about Patti and our other honorees.
Learn more about Patti through her responses to the Volunteer Questionnaire
- Why do you care about this work?
Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable in our communities. They spend time grooming their victims and take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Their victims could be my children or grandchildren. I feel that I am in a position in Rotary and in the community to collaborate and put resources to work to try to make a difference. My goal is to prevent a child from being victimized, to support crisis intervention, and to develop programs to reintegrate survivors of trafficking, because every vulnerable individual is someone’s child or grandchild.
- Why do you feel connected to YWCA’s mission?
Included in the YWCA mission is the dedication to promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. I feel especially connected to this mission because victims of sex trafficking and domestic abuse have been stripped of their rights to live a peaceful life with dignity. They have been deprived of their freedom and are imprisoned through force, fraud, coercion, and addiction. My passion to work to fight human trafficking strongly connects with the YWCA mission.
- What gives you hope when engaging in victim/survivor advocacy?
We have much more to do to build and implement the capacity to counter the systems that human traffickers have developed. It gives me hope that every time I educate ONE more person about the human trafficking that occurs right in front of us in our own communities, we are ONE person closer to building the ability to provide peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
- What does resilience mean to you?
Resilience is the strength and courage to continue, even when the day is dark. It is the flexibility to look for another way, forge another partnership, and build another alliance to fight for what you believe in. Peace and freedom are not easily attained. We need resilience and partners to get there!
- What motivates you to keep going in victim/survivor advocacy after so many years?
It is really simple, I am motivated by the belief that I can make a difference for someone, somewhere as long as I am willing to give more that I receive.
- What does a world without violence look like?
There are so many facets of violence in the inequity, inhumanity, and injustice in the world that I find it hard to imagine a world of Peace. I hope my work with the YWCA and Rotary make a small impact on the path to end violence.