Executive Director, Melissa Holland, founded Awaken along with Jen Robinson in May of 2011 after years of using her professional practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist to offer pro bono counseling to victims. Jen Robinson was a key partner, driving the women to and from their sessions with Melissa.
Seeing first-hand the lack of local programs for victims, Melissa and Jen were inspired to begin the area’s only non-profit dedicated specifically to this issue. It’s been growing ever since, reaching more than 300 women and children since its inception.
Working extensively with this population, Melissa and Jen have developed a high-level of expertise regarding human trafficking in our region and know the specialized and comprehensive needs of its victims. Jen Robinson holds a B.A in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno and is currently working toward an MBA. Jen and Melissa co-chair the prevention and care-coordination subcommittees, respectively, on the State of Nevada’s Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Coalition.
Both women believe strongly in seeking justice for the oppressed, and are passionate about uniting the local community in the fight to end the sexual exploitation of women and children.