The worlds of law and art combine on June 17 in New York City and Bryan University will play a part. Through Bryan’s support of Life Preservers Project, the university will join a growing network devoted to providing services and welfare to victims of sexual and human trafficking.

The opportunity for Bryan University to help came through Board Member and Instructor of E-Discovery Project Management Mike Quartararo. In addition to his work with Bryan, Quartararo also serves as Director of Litigation Support Services for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York.

Life Preservers Project is the brainchild of Shana Pederson, a New York legal recruiter and artist. She dreamed of combining the arts and legal fields when a friend started a halfway house aiding women who were victims of human trafficking. She wondered how the arts could make a difference and the establishment of the 501(C)3  Life Preservers Project in 2009 was the result. Life Preservers Project raises funds and awareness for nonprofit organizations providing services and welfare to victims.

“When Shana approached me, I was happy to do it,” said Quartararo. Quartararo was touched by the organization’s mission to “use the arts to educate and entertain while raising awareness and much needed funds for the victims of human trafficking both locally and internationally.”

Quarterero shone the light on Life Preservers Project in conversation with William Hamilton, provost of Bryan University. Hamilton agreed to become a sponsor for the upcoming event. The Fifth Annual fundraiser takes place at Gansevoort Park Avenue on Tuesday, June 17th in New York City.

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12-24, exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS vision is to end the commercial exploitation and trafficking of children.

Pederson estimates that through art sales, auction, table sponsorships and food, as much as ten thousand dollars will be donated to the GEMS organization. Bryan University is a table sponsor for the event and a number of board members are expected to attend.



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