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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Anti-trafficking advocates make pit stop on campus

Six months ago, Chance Stephens left Santa Monica, Calif., on foot with a mission to speak to as many churches, colleges and towns as possible about ending human trafficking. One stop on his cross-country trek was College Station, where he has continued his mission over the past week on and around the Texas A&M campus.
Stephens served in the U.S. military for six years before returning to civilian life. He said the idea to walk across America and raise awareness for eliminating sex trafficking came to him after an encounter with someone from Tiny Hands International, a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to serving the poor and eliminating sex-trafficking.
Stephens is the driving force behind #WALKAMERICA and “ACHANCEFOR,” a blog and movement that chronicles his journey and raises awareness for Tiny Hands.
Stephens left Santa Monica in September and has been traveling largely by foot ever since. He sells merchandise items such as T-shirts and wristbands wherever he stops to raise money for Tiny Hands, and has collected around $3,900 from sales and online donations.
Stephens said everything fell into place to make his trip possible once the decision to walk across America was made. “Everything lined up,” Stephens said. “I asked God and said, ‘Hey, I need to do something.’ I ended up buying a plane ticket for $30. [Everything] worked in my favor.”
Stephens’ solo trip turned into a partnership in January when Jacob Leonard joined him while he was stopped in Lamesa, Texas.
Injured and weary from several months on the road, Stephens was taken in by Leonard’s family to rest. The quick stop turned into a month’s stay, and the two men formed a fast friendship. When Stephens was again road-ready, Leonard left with him.
“I actually dropped out of college and was home for about two months, and he came along and I was moved by his story and I was like, ‘I want to go with you,'” Leonard said.
The two have been staying in College Station with Jacob Smith, sophomore political science major and Leonard’s high school friend. Leonard and Smith have kept in close contact since high school, and Smith immediately offered his house as a place for the two to stay if their trip took them through College Station.
“As soon as he joined with Chance, he told me about it and he told me that they would probably come through College Station,” Smith said. “I’m really passionate about Tiny Hands and ending human trafficking, and it was just a small gesture I could do to open my doors to them.”
Stephens and Leonard have spent the past week touring campus, giving interviews and talking to students wherever possible about ending human trafficking. The two attended Breakaway and set up a booth
at Mugwalls Cafe to talk to students and sell merchandise.
Smith said students were skeptical of Stephens’ and Leonard’s actions at first, but became interested once they heard more about the cause the two men advocate.
“[People] ask, ‘Why? Why are they doing this?’ But once you explain the message to them, especially to people here in College Station where college kids are especially passionate about ending human trafficking, they completely understand,” Smith said.
Stephens’ and Leonard’s trip has taken many turns and is only halfway finished. The two plan to make it to Florida before pivoting north and walking to Virginia, where they hope to finish before the year is out.
The two carry everything they need on their backs and push a cart that contains sleeping bags, a tent and other outdoor gear. They each carry computers, and Leonard has a solar charger to blog about their experiences over weekends.
They sleep on the side of the road or under a roof when a local family or friend is generous enough to open their home to them.
Stephens and Leonard left College Station Monday. Their story can be followed online at achancefor.com.

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