WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) – For 30 years an East Bay Woman has been helping people take care of their bodies—teaching movement and Pilates classes. But when Amy Lynch learned that the Bay Area was a hub for sex trafficking, she dedicated her skills to helping those young women who have been victimized.

According to the FBI, the Bay Area is one of the nation’s hubs in sex trafficking; most of those victims get caught in a world of abuse, trauma, and exploitation.

“I started learning more about the issue and said ‘how can I use my skill set to make a difference in the healing of this population?” she explained.

Amy teaches mindful movement as one way to heal. She started the non profit ARM of CARE. The name stands for Art, Recreation and Movement.

She partners with Bay Area agencies that serve sexually-exploited youth.We were allowed to attend the free classes she gives to staff caregivers who work on the front lines.

Jackie Espana is a case manager at MISSEY, the Alameda-based service program for sexually exploited youth. The techniques she learns in Amy’s class not only help her, it also helps her clients.

“They are either shut down, or they have a lot of anger…that’s how they are expressing their trauma,” Jackie said. “There are so many layers of emotions that happen when you’ve been traumatized, and so sometimes the movement work helps unlayer the emotions that get stored up in the body,” said Amy.

In addition to movement classes, Amy’s ARM of CARE brings therapeutic art to abuse survivors.

Heidi Holm is an art teacher who volunteers with Amy. In one project, she has the girls make art books from recycled jeans. Heidi says the exercise offers a hopeful message.

“Anything can be made new, anything be it damaged or not,” said Heidi.

“It’s beautiful, its watching healing happen, watching someone get well,” said Amy. “That’s what inspires me.”

So for using her professional talent in the creative arts to help heal young girls who’ve been sexually exploited, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Amy Lynch

Amy has her masters degree in movement and for the last five years, she has put on Pilates for a Purpose; it is a day of education on the subject through participating Pilates studios.

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