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Bend anti-human trafficking group In Our Backyard names new executive director

In Our Backyard Nita Belles Cheryl Cisky
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Cheryl Csiky brought aboard; Nita Belles assumes role of founder, president

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In Our Backyard, a Bend-based national anti-human trafficking nonprofit, announced Tuesday a new executive leadership structure to support their continued growth and impact.

“The Board of Directors of In Our Backyard is very pleased to announce we have hired Cheryl Csiky as our new executive director and Nita Belles will assume the role of founder and president,” IOB Board Chair Sherry Schwartz said in the announcement, which continues below:

“The Board of Directors and staff of In Our Backyard wants to thank those who have supported us over the years. Your support enables us to link arms across America in the fight against human trafficking and reach our vision and goals. One of those goals was to hire a new executive director and have Nita Belles assume the role of president and founder.”

Cheryl has many years of proven experience in fighting human trafficking and has played a key role in IOB’s Super Bowl operations for the last five years.

She has been a leader in the fight against human trafficking since 2011, having worked from recovery to restoration, possessing expertise in many aspects of human trafficking.

Cheryl’s journey was prompted in 2011 by reading a book that confronted the atrocity of human trafficking, In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles. Armed with that knowledge, her natural leadership skills compelled her to begin mobilizing other volunteers to serve, resulting in recoveries, safe housing, and outreach strategies.

This work also began to stir inside Cheryl a realization about the worst experiences of her own childhood. At 10 years of age, she was groomed by a peer into doing “dates” for his profit in her suburban middle-class neighborhood. Her new understanding of trafficking caused her to realize she was actually a child trafficking survivor. 

Cheryl courageously lives her healing journey by raising awareness, mobilizing others, and disrupting traffickers' tactics and profits. Her experience now compels others to see this atrocity through a child’s lens.

Before joining In Our Backyard, Cheryl served as a Compassion and Justice Pastor for a Chicago-area megachurch from 2013-2018. In that role, she developed anti-trafficking awareness programs, mobilized volunteers into various positions of nonprofits, and has continuously mentored and housed survivors. Her decade of extraordinary leadership marks a legacy of courage of boots on the ground experience.

Among her accomplishments, Cheryl developed a program for national recovery efforts with top law enforcement, including the FBI, developed a triage response for potential trafficking victims for Amita Health, and has led many large anti-trafficking events, including global anti-trafficking teams to Thailand and Cambodia.

In 2019, she was featured in CNN’s report on IOB’s work surrounding Super Bowls. She is certified to serve youths affected by Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and is a Certified Trauma-Informed Story Group Facilitator based on The Allender Theory and Methodology.

“I could not imagine a better fit for our Executive Director position for IOB. She brings amazing leadership skills, a great perspective and has been doing an incredible job of leading the day-to-day of IOB since her hire,” says Nita Belles. “I’m tremendously excited for the future of IOB with Cheryl as executive director.”

"Please join us in wishing Nita and Cheryl the best in their new roles," the organization said.

NewsChannel 21's Blake Allen talked with both women Tuesday. His report airs on NewsChannel 21 at Five and Six.

About IN OUR BACKYARD: In Our Backyard (IOB) is a nonprofit established in 2009 to link arms across America in the fight against human trafficking. Founder and President, Nita Belles has written two award winning books also titled In Our Backyard. IOB fights human trafficking through raising awareness and prevention, with our programs, Freedom Stickers, Teens Against Trafficking, Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT), anti-trafficking efforts surrounding Super Bowls, providing expert advice on trafficking legislative issues, and advocating on behalf of victims and survivors.

For more information, please visit or call Cheryl Csiky at (541) 771-2016

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