15 years ago, I was haunted by a mural on the side of an office building in Hollywood, CA depicting a child prostitute along side the name of a rescue organization “Children of the Night.”
Compelled to visit the home and meet Dr. Lois Lee, who founded Children of the Night in 1979 as a walk-in shelter, I marveled at the magic of children between the ages of eleven and seventeen (all of them victims of child prostitution) getting to be regular kids and receiving an education at the on-site school. I was instantly inspired to become a financial donor as well as a volunteer, teaching journalism as extra credit for their English class.
My first week in the classroom, a 12-year-old wisp of a girl asked if she could write about her pimp… I decided this class would have no parameters on topic nor language. Some students pour out their feelings in poetry, others in desperate prose. After 14 years of reading these autobiographically inspired pieces, it never becomes easier to keep my tears in check.
13-year-old Hanna had been forced to provide sexual acts to boys in her school. Her grandmother reported it; but the school did nothing, so she pulled Hanna out and called COTN. Hanna has been at COTN since June 2014. A few months after arriving, she placed 2nd in the Los Angeles County Science Fair, competing against 1,000 teens from schools across our country. Last July, Hanna attended “Super Camp,” a college summer prep program at Stanford University!
Lea’s father sold her to sex trafficking (between Mexico & US). Last April, the 17-year-old was left for dead. Having the wits to contact Law Enforcement, Lea currently has 2 cases pending in the FBI & Sheriff’s Department. She is now sober and will be taking part 1 of the GED this month. Upon completion, she will enroll in a Nursing Program.
10,000 children have found their way to COTN. Most all of these runaway street kids’ stories began as abused children and they would do anything to survive.
In 2011, Dr. Lois Lee also created “Children of the Night With Out Walls” (WOW). WOW provides critical services needed to permanently remove anyone, any age from life on the streets. Recipients of these resources no longer have to be below 18 to have access to COTN’s life changing services.
I feel privileged to have been able help underwrite the cost of the WOW annex, that houses 9 video conferencing computers staffed by live tutors and helps people like 19-year-old Pete, who suffers with paranoia and is chronically homeless. WOW helped him get his High School Equivalency certificate, complete a resume, and enroll in a local community college. The COTN 24 hour hotline and case managers continue to provide him with the support services to manage his paranoia and successfully complete his college classes.
I am also proud to be the current chairman of the board of this extraordinary organization.
Review from #MyGivingStory
As someone who is committed to helping children of sex trafficking, I am impressed with the work of this organization. To help so many with so little is impressive. Dr. Lee and her team has certainly earned my support.
Personally I find the comments about salary and earnings quite disingenuous. RESULTS matter far more then one persons compensation. The results speak for themselves. There are literally tens of thousands of good-minded charities with officers who are paid much less. But the RESULTS of those charities are often substandard and full of red-tape and bureaucracy as well. These "do it on the cheap" organizations don't have the RESULTS. Pouring money into a program that doesn't work is far most wasteful or our generosity then one that DOES.
Review from Guidestar
Okay, so let me get this straight. Children of the Night used to be called the California Association of Trollops and was partially run by people we now consider human traffickers. Suddenly Hugh Hefner gets involved because he wants to "rescue teenagers from the ravages of prostitution," gives lots and lots of money, till he finally becomes their "hero" a year after he is presumably having sex with twin teenage sisters at the age of 83. And in addition, the founder, executive director, Lois Lee, "devised a scheme" to put another children's charity out of business. She gets people beaten and apparently holds a loaded gun right up to the chest of a 17 year old actress, threatening to kill her. But wait! a 14 year old girl is sodomized inside the Children of the Night shelter. Of course, this is after she tried to have a benefit with a date with a call girl as a grand prize from Danni Ash's Hard Drive. And this was after Children of the Night was majorly fined by the United States Postal Service for misusing their nonprofit bulk mailing permit. Lois Lee apparently takes pride that when she was younger, she used to take teenage girls in the sex trade in, in her apartment. Hmmm. I wonder if there would be any raised eyebrows if Hugh Hefner or Charlie Sheen did that? Oh, and check out the salary of Lois Lee on Guidestar. She make close to a quarter of a mil on a $2 mil budget. Great place to send kids. Great place to donate. Not. I was a runaway. I was a teenage girl prostitute. I know about Children of the Night all too well. Hey, if you see anyone from there coming, run Forrest, run!
I am one of those ungrateful children who lived in the Children of the Night home for over 2 years. I was
not appreciative of staff who thought they could come in and make all of my problems go away with a
Children of the Night is not a place where people can come in and work and expect to feel good. It is
not about them it is about children, like me, who have suffered miserably at the hands of adults. That’s what makes Children of the Night different – it is about the kids not the staff.
Today I am a mother and successful professional – No other program or foster home could have or
would have seen me through my horrible childhood. I am sure some of the staff that came and left Children of the Night hated me too.
I am forever indebted to the staff and Lois Lee who stayed with me and saw me through the unraveling
of my childhood and preparation for my future.
No one else would have done this for me and the other children who lived in their home.
HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT !!!
!Real bad experince working there. Awful and horrible behavior from staff and Ceo president Lois. I was excited once I was hired but that lasted about a week!
Employee QUIT majority of the time. Trust me I was there to witness it! They have minimum amount of staff working there which made it more difficult. . It created intense pressure. Not much training and not enough hourly pay for what we had to endure!!
if you do not want your pay checks on time, if you do not mind working with people with no professionalism and do not mind being humiliated on constant basis by everyone!!
THen this is the job for you! The worse experince ever!!!!! I quit bcus I deserved to be treated humanly and fair!!!!!! This is just the facts im stating here..... is nothing but the truth !!
I understand it's all about the children but what does it tell you when staff in that facility are being replaced by the second bcus they decide to quit....
What does it tell you about how she's running the organization!
We are talking about ADULTS who demonstrated inappropriate, rude, obnoxious behavior, that created a hostile work environment for the rest of the staff who was recently hired but decided to leave due to mistreatment.
There hostile behavior, actions and communication was severe. the hostility seriously disrupted all of the employee’s work.
Lois is very degrading and nasty . I made my research on Lois and she's has prior record of misconduct. I also couldn't fathomed that she is friends with Hugh Hefner a man who was was having sex with twins who were underage. The only thing she's after is the money and fame .
Could there possibly be a worse organization? Children of the Night is a supposed "helping" charity that operates behind locked doors and barred windows. It says that it "rescues" teenage girls from the sex trade, but it posts Hugh Hefner as it's "hero" on its website. A 14-year-old girl was sodomized inside its shelter. Its director, Lois Lee, CON's Founder and Executive Director, takes an obscenely high salary. Lee caused a friend of mine to be beaten while she watched and from what I heard from direct eye witnesses, she aimed a presumably loaded gun with a silencer attached at a 17-year-old girl whom she conned into believing that the girl the 17-year-old girl was trying to help was an endangered runaway. I would as soon recommend that young girls be sent to Al Qaeda than to CON. Maybe that's a pretty extreme statement, but the fact is that it would be a cold day in hell before I would send any girl to either.
Since numerous people are pointing out the CEO, I thought I'd post the link to what they're referring. I'd also like point out, not all charities are nearly as transparent with where their money goes, not to mention that over 85% goes directly to charity. So while I'm not a huge fan of that large a salary, please don't throw the proverbial baby with the bath water. They do a ton of good work that needs done, and they exist because of donations and volunteers. The CEO taking home a large salary, doesn't negate that good work, nor does it nullify the substantial amount of money and percentage of money that goes directly to gifts/charity/etc.
Just some thoughts, and the link to the charity info is below. Regardless of what I've said, or anyone else view the info and facts below and make your own decision
I've been a monthly donor for two years, but after learning from Charity Navigator that as of 2013, Lois Lee was taking a salary of ~ $240,000, my support will stop immediately. (The total annual revenue for Children of the Night is only about $1.5 million!) Other charitable organizations whose CEOs are paid the same amount (or less) as Lois have revenues of $80 million or more and are 30 times the size of COTN. Lois's compensation is unjustifiable in every way whatsoever.
Dr. lois lee Is a great person. She has helped change many lives. I know because she helped change mine. This is a great place for children that are on the street and want to get off of them and change their lives around. Keep up the good work LOIS......
I’ve been a volunteer for this organization and I've seen what Dr. Lee has done for over 20 years.
There is no amount of money that can repay her for her tireless work she has done on behalf of children.
- Rick Taylor