Susan Trianfo,

nominated by Freedom a la Cart

By: Celia Tice

There are things in life that hold their ground — they bind us in our roots — they are as clear as day and they drive us. Then there are things we could never have pinpointed, those moments where we suddenly end up in the thick of something, something we could have never imagined for ourselves. Sometimes our passions are out right and clear, waiting for us to take the next step, and other times we trip over passion, tumbling into it as it unfolds before us.

For Susan Trianfo, it was the latter.

Community service had always played a major role in her life. As a child, she watched her mother and grandmother serve their community in boundless ways.  Naturally, she fell in to step with them and made service a large part of her free time.

It wasn’t until later in life that a new door opened, and Susan began to stumble in to a new passion. As a college student, Susan’s daughter interned for Freedom a la Cart. Susan found herself to be absolutely captivated by the mission of Freedom — to empower survivors of human trafficking to build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. It was a small nonprofit with a big job, and she wanted to do everything in her power to help.

“Seeing that restoration to me is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.  You can see how broken the women are … told how they aren’t worthy and are worthless. Once they realize that they have people rallying behind them, they can be nurtured in their skills.”

Before Freedom, Susan never considered that her full-time job could be her volunteer work. But after witnessing her devotion to Freedom, they offered her the job of managing their volunteer base. Now that Susan’s kids are grown, she regards the Freedom women as an extension of her family.

The staff of Freedom has all come from various professional and personal backgrounds — none of them with the intention to wind up in the positions they hold. Now, they take their various skill sets and bring them together to serve one powerful and influential goal.

“We are all passionate about what we’re doing. No one is there for the money, we’re there for the cause.”

In living passionately, Susan gives the opportunity for others to live.

pointer-dingyIf you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

“ I would eliminate drug addiction The fallout from drugs involves so many negative social aspects like sex trafficking, gangs, violence, organized crime, poverty, the breakdown of families, etc.”

pointer-dingyWhat is the most important piece of advice you would share
with a young woman growing up today?

“ Get your education and live independently before getting into a serious relationship. You will bring so much more to the relationship if you know yourself first. Don’t rely on anyone else for your happiness.”

pointer-dingyWhat’s your favorite quote?

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt



Freedom a la Cart

No person should be bought or sold for sex. Not here in Central Ohio. Not anywhere.

At Freedom a la Cart, we bring hope to survivors of human trafficking so they can build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. We believe that giving a woman practical job skills and developing strong work ethic is vital for creating a pathway to freedom. So, we’ve created a safe place of restoration where survivors can heal, learn and grow as they prepare for sustainable employment within our community.

We value HOPE in tomorrow; BEAUTY in ourselves, our surroundings and our work; TRUST in one another; COMPASSION for those suffering; and COLLABORATION together to produce great things.

Freedom is actively raising capital to move into our own kitchen and office space for the catering/box lunch business and directly serve the public with our own flagship café. By expanding the catering service into a brick-and-mortar café in urban Columbus, we’ll be able to broaden our programing and workforce training, grow the number of survivors employed, and further extend our mission in the community.

We believe our model that joins social purpose with business rationality is scalable, replicable and effective. We envision replicating our model in cities nationwide. It is our strong hope and vision that other cities will employ intentional economic empowerment as a means to break cycles of exploitation.

Learn more about this wonderful organization here.


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