Giving Back Time, Treasure and Talent
Gina utilizes her background as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Physical Fitness Expert to encourage and support individuals, groups and service organizations in the U.S. and developing countries. Her goal is to help people live fuller, healthier lives and to assist organizations to better address the needs of local women, children, and families in their own communities.
Gina Guddat has:
- Worked in orphanages and assisted staff in Nicaragua
- Met with the Women's Parliament in Nairobi, Kenya helping them address new laws to stop domestic violence in their country.
- Taught women's reproductive health workshops in the largest Red Light District in the world in India.
- Conducted "women in business" seminars to HIV positive women's groups in the Kibera slums (Kenya).
- Trained staff in orphanages, safe houses and sex trafficking shelters in Kolkata, India
- Facilitated workshops, trained staff, and counseled children in orphanages in Mexico.
- Joined a team of first responders in providing after-care or victims of 9/11.
- Provided trauma reduction counseling in New Orleans for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
- Led life skill workshops in Canada for at-risk youth.
- Worked with teenagers in orphanages and trafficking shelters in Hungary.
- Visited Cambodia’s trafficking shelters and assisted with their “rescue, restore, and retooling” programs.
- Trained counselors working to eliminate domestic violence and human trafficking in North and South Vietnam.
- Offered one-on-one therapy for female survivors of domestic abuse and consulted with shelter directors in Kyrgyzstan.
- Created and launched the “FITgirl” tour, reaching thousands of teenage girls in over 40 U.S. cities.
- Invited and to participated in the annual “Commission on the Status of Women” at the United Nations.
This powerful trip to Kenya opened my eyes to the real issues of poverty, HIV and AIDS. I spent several days in the Kibera slums helping at a free dental clinic, working with families and conducting workshops for women who want to start their own businesses. I was able to volunteer some time helping in several different orphanages, but it’s always so difficult to leave those precious babies. I was surprised to get a last minute invite to address their government’s Women’s Parliament. They were writing their first law that will protect women and children from domestic violence and sex trafficking. As a Maasai Chief told me the last day I was there, “positive change is coming”.
Watch the video - "Run Away Baby"
This trip changed my life more than any other. Kolkata is home to the largest red light district in the world. I spent many dangerous days learning the system of traffickers, brokers, money changers and madams. Watching the ways that girls are bought and sold was heart breaking. I got to know the caste system and visited the lowest class children in the schools, shelters and orphanages, providing programs and counseling. One of the most rewarding parts was conducting female reproductive workshops for the sex workers on the street and handing out over 650 pairs of women’s panties. Lastly I trained staff from a dozen different facilities so they might be able to better serve those who have experience extreme trauma.
Watch the video - "What I learned so far in India"
I was invited to present at a retreat for girls in Budapest who had been rescued from human trafficking. I spent nearly a week in their shelter providing counseling and teaching self-esteem, goal setting, positive body image and fitness. Even though these girls don’t have their biological families anymore, they have formed a new family of their own together. They have such big hearts and hopes for their futures.
I was invited to present at the first women’s conference to address sex trafficking in the “Stans”. This event drew female leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Along with hearing numerous stories of unthinkable crimes like bride napping, and girls being married off at age nine I also participated in strategic talks about how to stop this travesty against women and girls in that region. I providing many hours of individual counseling and taught workshops on women’s health and fitness. My favorite part was teaching a kick-boxing class to ladies who had never before done any exercise.
Watch the video - "Yurts"
This glorious part of the world is still home to drug lords and sex traffickers alike. As in other places, the disparity between wealth and poverty is great. I was encouraged by visiting many programs that are successfully providing services to the sex workers, the orphans and the disabled. My favorite part was spending time doing physical therapy and fitness with the differently abled children in Managua.
Watch the video - "Nicaragua Children's Home"
I have made many trips into Mexico helping with the existing programs that are serving underprivileged children. I’ve worked at community centers, clinics and numerous orphanages providing counseling to the kids and training to the staff. The people’s positive nature always impresses me, especially those living up on the Dump. It’s been a joy to go back year after year and see these little ones grow up.
Watch the video - "Edge of Paradise Show - Episode #5"
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA
It was an honor to spend time with the Vietnamese government’s Women’s Union discussing their model for a health and wellness center that would be their country’s first facility to serve victims of domestic violence. We designed an anti-trafficking awareness campaign and I trained and equipped leaders to serve as counselors to work with the survivors. I presented at a large Convent for girls who were training to serve women in the villages and I volunteered at a community hospital. Lastly, I ventured into the “Heart of Darkness”- the red light district in Cambodia, to help with the rescue efforts of underage sex workers. The industry of “sex travel” is unfortunately alive and well as I saw male visitor from all different countries.
Watch the video - "Sponsor a Girl from Vietnam"
Watch the video - "The Kingdom of Cambodia"
The home of Mt. Everest and the beautiful Himalayan Mountains, Nepal showed me what human strength is. Plagued with a devastating earthquake in Kathmandu, these women never stopped believing in a future. I was asked to help at a sewing school for girls who wanted to create a way to provide for themselves. They showed perseverance amidst great challenge. I also took to the streets of the city and spent a day with the “street children” who have found a way to survive. I could not help going out and buying them all soap, shampoo, and toothbrushes. They told me food was more important than cleanliness…so I also bought them a meal ☺ The 2nd part of my trip was spent training staff at a rescue shelter and working with the 50 children there who had escaped the circus. When we think about trafficking, we forget that along with the sex trade, kids are also sold into forced labor and servitude.
Watch the video - "Pollution in the River"