Students speaking at Live2Free event

Global Center for Women in Justice Receives $825,000 Samueli Foundation Grant  

In June 2024, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) was awarded an $825,000 grant from the Samueli Foundation. Founded in 1988, the Samueli Foundation is a Southern California-based private foundation whose mission is “to make Orange County a thriving mosaic of community well-being by supporting and uniting catalytic forces whose innovations yield a higher quality of life for everyone.”  

“We are immensely grateful to the Samueli Foundation for this generous grant, which will allow us to bring vital human trafficking awareness and prevention resources directly into Orange County classrooms,” said Global Center for Women and Justice Director Sandra Morgan, Ph.D. “This innovative program will empower hundreds of students with the knowledge to recognize exploitation and skills for staying safe.” 

This grant, which is the result of a developing partnership and collaboration with the Samueli Foundation to address human trafficking, allows Vanguard and the GCWJ to launch the pioneering “Safe Communities; Safe

Kids” program, bringing evidence-based, peer-to-peer prevention strategies to Orange County schools, implementing California laws for human trafficking prevention education.

Through the Safe Communities; Safe Kids program, Vanguard University students will be hired and trained as peer educators to deliver an interactive curriculum on recognizing trafficking risks and building healthy relationships. Throughout the next three years, these student facilitators will reach hundreds of middle school students across Orange County. 
With Safe Communities; Safe Kids, Vanguard students continue their legacy of participation in such initiatives. Beginning in 2006, students on Live2free teams (a club that empowers and trains college youth to raise awareness, be peer-to-peer mentors, and be student abolitionists on the issue of modern-day slavery) have been present in schools, participated in study abroad trips, and strengthened research and education opportunities in the classroom with the Women and Justice Minor. 

In addition to educating youth, the program will provide professional development for teachers. Educators will participate with their students, equipping them with additional tools to build sustainable school-based prevention models. 

Vanguard continues to impact the local and global community by equipping students to become leaders in combatting exploitation through interdisciplinary courses and practical experience. This new program will take us to a new level to “Study the Issues. Be a Voice. Make a Difference” as VU serves the community to build strategies for keeping children safe.