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Amilia’s Light shines in community

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Fifteen years ago, the Medfield community came together to support the Luhrmann family and mourn the loss of five-year-old Amilia Rose Luhrmann. Although many years have passed, the memory of Amilia Rose, who had been described by Pastor Phil Baumann of United Church of Christ in Medfield as “ten thousand watts of light,” continues to shine a light in town and around the world.

Around the tenth anniversary of Amilia’s passing, her mother, Michelle Luhrmann, felt like she needed to do something to honor Amilia.

“When Amilia first died, the community, our neighbors, and our church really reached out to our family and supported us for a really long time,” Michelle said. “So, I really wanted to do something at that point to honor her, have a celebration, and raise money for an organization, and do something for someone else in Amilia’s name.”

Previous to that, the Luhrmann family had sponsored five Ugandan girls, who were survivors of human trafficking, after learning about Daughters of Freedom, a non-governmental agency in Uganda, from Pastor Phil. Michelle had taken it upon herself to learn more about the commercial sex industry and travelled to Uganda to meet the five survivors, dubbed “Amilia girls.”

Having witnessed first-hand the rehabilitation Daughters of Freedom provides for the survivors, Michelle decided in 2013 to host a fundraiser for the tenth anniversary of Amilia’s passing to benefit the Ugandan organization.

The fundraiser, which took place in Amilia’s Garden at the Luhrmann home, was met with overwhelming success, and it was the beginning of the organization Amilia’s Light. It has also since become an annual event, known around Medfield as the Amilia’s Light Garden Party.

Over the years, Amilia’s Light has grown to receive its 501(c)(3) status, formed a board, and partnered with Daughters of Freedom to help give human trafficking survivors training and job opportunities. Amilia’s Light had helped fund a retail hair salon and small boutique that offered the girls and women hands-on training.

“They’re so incredibly grateful that someone from across the world would give them an opportunity to change their course in their lives, so that they can make a difference in someone else life,” Michelle said, emphasizing how much the Ugandan women treasure the organizations and programs.

This year’s Garden Party, which was, in keeping with tradition, held at the Luhrmann home on May 24, was a special one. Not only was it the fifteen-year anniversary of Amilia’s passing, but also it was the last Garden Party held in Amilia’s Garden, as Michelle plans to sell the home.

As expected, the community’s generosity allowed Amilia’s Light to meet their goals for the Garden Party fundraiser.

“From a personal standpoint and as the founder of Amilia’s Light, we - all of us at Amilia’s Light - are just so incredibly honored and privileged to do the work that we do and that the community has really reached out, not just to honor Amilia, but to acknowledge that there is something that we can do to empower survivors of commercial sex trafficking,” said Michelle.

Amilia’s Light is also seeking volunteers who are interested in joining the team to help with anything from marketing, outreach, operations, technology, fundraising, program managing, event planning. Those interested are encouraged to visit the “How to Help” tab on www.amiliaslight.org.

Donations to Amilia’s Light can also be made on the website or by texting (508-952-6329).

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