Sexually abused as a young child, Amy Leenerts was told that she was to blame for what happened to her. “That set off something in my mind,” she says. “I felt that whenever something negative happened to me, it was my fault.”
Abuse followed her throughout childhood including a traumatic rape at 19 years old. , Leenerts often felt “marked,” as though something inherently evil in her allowed abusers to find her. It was years before she gave up her rights to being a victim and began to live a healthy, restored life.
Her perspective widened, and she began to notice others who suffered the effects of sexual abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. Now Leenerts devotes much of her energy
to finding new approaches to prevent human trafficking and other sex crimes against women and children throughout our state, and ultimately to help victims begin their journey toward health and wholeness.
She founded Free2Hope Inc., a non-profit devoted to prevention programs and training the public on human trafficking. Her long term goals are mentoring survivors, job programs, a drop in center, and to establish a safe house for abused women and children in Kentucky. On the way to that dream, she has garnered a number of awards, including:
2015- Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association Kentucky Division
2015- The Liberator Award from Kentucky Rescue and Restore
2016- The Voices for Victims Award from the Indiana Attorney General
2017- Innovative Program Award from Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs
2017- Nominated to the Survivor Council of Kentucky
John F. Leenerts
Broadcast Television Engineer
John has been working in the broadcast field for the last 30 + years. His background includes technical engineering and production. He served 30 years as a volunteer fire fighter and retired with the rank of Captain. While on the fire department he served on numerous committees from apparatus purchasing to turnout gear and equipment purchases. He also served two years on the Board of Directors for the fire department. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting. He joined Free2Hope as their first Chairman. His wife Amy Leenerts started the organization with nothing but a passion to help educate and stop Human Trafficking. He joined the board because he saw a need to help Human Trafficking victims and help his community. He’s honored and proud to serve on Free2Hope’s board knowing we can make a difference.
President/Owner of Johnson Group, Inc. since 1993, an electrical contracting company. Officer/Board member of Free2Hope for the past three (3) years. Officer/Board member for Eastside Christian Academy School for five (5) years. Have a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Previously held management positions with Tube Turn’s and Papa John’s in Louisville KY. Served in the youth ministry for fifteen (15) years and coach middle school and high school football/basketball for ten (10) years. Played football in college, was team captain two years while playing quarterback. Personal interest/hobbies: spending time with family, bike riding, trial hiking, hunting, rafting, prison softball ministry.
Pamela brings her skills as a social worker to her current role as a Program Specialist with the Free 2 Hope Drop-In Center. Her motto of “putting your hand to what your heart prompts” has led to serving in a variety of social service settings; including, transitional housing for single-parent families with The Salvation Army, the HIV/AIDS and Prenatal clinics at the Pasadena Public Health Department, policy making and resource coordinating for the Louisville Metro Office for International Affairs and following the devastating Caribbean earthquake in 2010 she moved to Haiti to serve as staff support for the Greta Home and Academy with the international relief and development organization Samaritan’s Purse. She has received her Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work from Spalding University and her Masters of Social Work from Azusa Pacific University. Pamela joined the Free 2 Hope team and the Board of Directors in 2015.