Jefferson Awards Foundation Recognizes Local Man
After 28 years of educating students in the Toledo Region at local high schools and the University of Toledo, Bowling Green’s Jeff Wilbarger was inspired to expand his educational mission. In 2008, he received a book titled ‘Not for Sale’ by David Batstone, which is an exposé on the human trafficking epidemic. Wilbarger immediately felt the need to respond, and created The Daughter Project. Just 8 years later, Wilbarger has been awarded the top honor from the Jefferson Awards Foundation for his work through the project.
The Daughter Project is located in Wood County and is a recovery home specifically designed to help young girls that have been the victims of human trafficking. A faith-based home, The Daughter Project, is the first licensed group home of its kind in Ohio. Since 2012, the home has aided 12 girls throughout their recovery and achieved their goal of providing college and job assistance for the girls. The home provides many medical, emotional, legal, and spiritual services to girls that have been freed from sex trafficking, at no-cost to them or their families.
The Jefferson Awards Foundation’s mission is to power others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most. The first thing visitors see on their website is the phrase, “We Power Those Who Change the World.” Wilbarger is certainly passionate about his mission and is a local hero to many. His son-in-law, who ignited Wilbarger’s passion for this project by giving him Batstone’s book, nominated him for the local Jefferson Awards. The Blade, Buckeye Broadband, and WTVG-13 selected Wilbarger for regional and national recognition based on the local nomination. In June, he received the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities at a ceremony in D.C.