RC3 & Red Sand: Benefitting the Rhea County community

Written by: Morgan Clark, staff writer

DAYTON, Tenn– Rhea County Community Center participated in the Red Sand Project to raise awareness for human trafficking and exploitation. 

The Red Sand Project is a countrywide phenomenon that began in Miami, Fla. Molly Gochman launched the program by filling in sidewalk cracks throughout the city with red sand, meant to represent those individuals who fall through the cracks and disappear.

Gochman then began putting together Red Sand toolkits, including bags of sand and other helpful information regarding sex and human trafficking. Gochman intended to build a community around the issue and raise awareness.

Redsandproject.org reports that actions have taken place in all 50 states and in over 70 countries.

Rhea County Community Center, better known as RC3, hosted a Red Sand sidewalk event. The Dayton community was encouraged to stop by the facility and fill in sidewalk cracks with sand.

RC3 is a fitness facility similar to a YMCA, but what it provides to the Rhea County community is so much more. From participating in the Red Sand Project to running a Strong Kids & Families campaign to offering scholarships to underprivileged children for sports, RC3 constantly helps Dayton and the surrounding community to thrive.

RC3 handed out flyers with information regarding sex and human trafficking at the event. Information was displayed regarding how to better protect vulnerable children from dangerous individuals. Signs were also staked by the entrance of the facility.

Cindy Horton from RC3 explained that RC3 was contacted by The Edge program at the Care Center.  “Tiffany Soyster and I met to collaborate and plan for the event. We researched the program online and decided it was a worthy and necessary event to promote and provide.”

Horton further explained: “Our mission is to build a healthy community with Christ as our cornerstone.  This project fits perfectly into our mission. We can’t be a healthy community if children and adults are facing possible trafficking. Human trafficking comes in many shapes and sizes and happens right here in our area (Dayton). We felt it was important to bring awareness to the signs of trafficking as well as to inspire people to build into other’s lives so that those who are at risk can be reached.”

Horton said, “The program brought attention to both the local and international tragedy. Hopefully, it inspires each of us to look outside ourselves to care for others and step in where we are able.”  

The Rhea County community is bettered by this collaboration.  

Redsandproject.org explains just how widespread the human trafficking issue is.  The International Labor Organization estimates that the human trafficking industry is a $150 billion industry.  There are 40.3 million victims globally, Red Sand reports; 25% of these victims are children and 75% are female.

The Red Sand Project is available for individuals to participate in as well as businesses. Information about how to order sand and conduct an event can be found at redsandproject.org. 

Morgan Clark is a senior Communication Media and Culture major. She is a first-year staff writer for the Bryan Triangle. Morgan is a varsity cheerleader for Bryan College.