A highly sought-after speaker, author, grant writer, attorney, and nonprofit executive, Kaitrin Elizabeth Valencia has been the executive director of A Way Out Ministries since 2021. The nonprofit organization, founded in Memphis in 1992, endeavors to cease the exploitation of women in society through firm advocacy of legislative change and community outreach programs. Notably, A Way Out Ministries has a stern mission to stop human trafficking, pornography, and other means of sexual exploitation, addressing the issues young women face in society today. Notably, the organization opened and operates Memphis’ first long-term residential program for sex trafficking survivors.
In light of her expertise, Ms. Valencia is a regular presenter who has been recruited to speak and train others on the signs of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Since 2017, she has also served as the president and chief executive officer of Skyway Railroad, a charitable organization in Eads, Tennessee, that works in collaboration with A Way Out Ministries to combat modern-day slavery. Ms. Valencia is an accomplished author, having written her first book in 2018 titled “Voices Outside the Stadium: Face to Face with Human Trafficking Outside Major Sporting Events.” The book details real-life encounters of trafficking across the nation, and proceeds from its sale go to Skyway Railroad to combat atrocities committed in society.
Ms. Valencia published her second book in 2019, titled “Waiting – I Hate It!: Lessons Learned Waiting on God.” In conjunction with her writing prowess, she has been a freelance grant writer and consultant for her eponymous business Kaitrin Valencia, which she founded in 2005. Through her business, she specializes in writing grants for various nonprofit agencies and government entities that are seeking funding from third parties. Earlier in her career, from 2013 to 2016, Ms. Valencia served as the executive director of the Chicago Dream Center, a Christian-oriented nonprofit organization that focuses on the fight against human trafficking and ensuring outreach efforts are being made. Likewise, she served as an adjunct professor of juvenile delinquency courses at City Colleges of Chicago from 2015 to 2016 and was a deputy chief attorney and legal advocate in the juvenile probation department at the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, from 1999 to 2013.
To prepare for her career, Ms. Valencia pursued an education at Ohio Northern University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and sociology in 1996. She went on to earn a Doctor of Jurisprudence, with a focus on education and juvenile law, from the Chicago Kent College of Law in 2003, having also completed an internship at the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent during this time. Admitted to practice law in the states of Illinois and Tennessee, Ms. Valencia has further expanded her knowledge by receiving ministerial credentials in continuing education in biblical foundation from Global University in 2021.
Ms. Valencia is civically engaged having sat on numerous boards in her community to help advocacy efforts in support of children. She was a member of the board of directors as well as a past operations manager of the Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-Up, a nonprofit intervention program in Memphis. She also sat on the board of directors of the Salem Christian Elementary School in Chicago. To remain abreast of trends in her profession, Ms. Valencia has maintained active affiliations with the Memphis Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association.
To commemorate her accomplishments, Ms. Valencia has been bestowed with several accolades. In 2001, she was honored with the Cook County National Women’s History Month Award from the Circuit Court of Cook County, and she subsequently received the Public Service Award from the Illinois State Bar Association and the Bar and Gavel Award from the Chicago Kent College of Law, both in 2003. In 2013, she also accepted the Partner and Justice Award from the Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Highlighted in a myriad of media outlets for her empowering work, she was further featured on the “Moody Radio Morning Show” in 2016.
In the coming years, Ms. Valencia intends to continue expanding the scope of A Way Out Ministries so more women are helped by its programs. She also aims to raise $5 million to build a campus in West Tennessee for this purpose. Ultimately, Ms. Valencia endeavors to become more actively involved in local, state, and national legislation, as she is working with the state legislature to pass laws that directly combat child pornography.
Attributing much of her success to her faith and the support of her family, Ms. Valencia enjoys traveling, writing, teaching, watching films, scrapbooking, and photography in her spare time. Happily married, she is the proud mother of three children and resides in Memphis.