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The Set Me Free Project About Us


The Set Me Free Project® is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring prevention education to youth and families to stop human trafficking before it begins.

Our curriculum is informative, interactive, and flexible, reaching students (K-12th grade), educators, parents and leaders in every facet of our communities.

​The Set Me Free Project® is unique in our use of engaging, age appropriate curriculum in every presentation. We focus on defining human trafficking and helping students identify why and how they could be at risk. We provide a foundation for all students to recognize the intrinsic value in every human being. 



  1. Personal Value: We are committed to the belief that every person has value and deserves equitable treatment.

  2. Compassionate Prevention: We are committed to keeping youth safe through compassionate and empathetic prevention.

  3. Integrity: We are committed to personal and professional integrity, working individually and collaboratively.

  4. Striving for excellence: We are committed to boldly, yet humbly, striving for excellence.

  5. Creative Solutions: We are committed to finding creative solutions through ongoing education.

  6. Fun: We are committed to fun in everything we do.

Stephanie Olson CEO The Set Me Free Project


Stephanie Olson is a speaker, an author, a podcaster, and the CEO of The Set Me Free Project ®. 

Stephanie graduated from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln with a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology and a minor in English. Before founding The Set Me Free Project ®, Stephanie worked with women in the area of sexual and domestic violence, addiction, and homelessness. She also worked with youth, teaching healthy relationships. After extensive training and research in the study of human trafficking prevention education and social media safety, she co-founded The Set Me Free Project. 

Stephanie also helps leaders build resilience. Her work on teaching resilience in leadership has inspired people across the United States with topics such as, leadership, trauma, a toxic workplace, mental health, and resilience. As a woman of color and a survivor of domestic and sexual violence, Stephanie brings lived experience, research, and humor to impact lives. She is a sought-after speaker on women, youth, human trafficking, and social media safety while leading The Set Me Free Project ® to help prevent youth and young adults from personally experiencing trafficking.  

Kelly Cranor COO The Set Me Free Project


Kelly joined The Set Me Free Project ® (SMFP) in March 2023 as the Chief Operating Officer. She’s responsible for strategy development, operations, human resources, and marketing. Prior to SMFP, she spent 20 years at Union Pacific Railroad in several roles in human resources and marketing and sales. Before Union Pacific, she worked at A.G. Edwards and Sons, Inc. (now Wells Fargo) in mutual fund sales.

She brings a unique skill set with over 20 years of experience at Fortune 150 companies.

Kelly is committed to providing those that do not have a voice with a voice. She regularly facilitates career workshops to survivors of human trafficking. And has seen the long-term effects of human trafficking on survivors. Through the education offered by the SMFP, her hope is that all ages understand the signs and how to prevent it.  

She is a graduate of Drury University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration.



Victoria is based in beautiful Colombia and holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from The Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira. Alongside her engineering background, she's certified in agile frameworks. Her professional journey includes administration, marketing, and roles as an Account Manager and Virtual Assistant. In 2023, Victoria joined The Set Me Free Project® as a virtual assistant. She's dedicated to contributing her part in the fight against human trafficking and educating others on how to recognize and prevent it.


In her personal life, Victoria is a devoted cat and dog mom. She has a deep love for languages, movies, and CrossFit. Beyond her professional interests, Victoria is an advocate for animal well-being. During her free time, she volunteers to rescue and care for animals, providing them with a temporary nurturing home while tirelessly seeking a loving, forever home for our four-legged friends. Victoria's true joy comes from helping others and making a positive impact in any way she can.

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Rebecca joined The Set Me Free Project in November 2023 as the Director of Programming after relocating to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Prior to working with The Set Me Free Project, she was a Children’s Minister. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Children’s Ministry from Oklahoma Christian University. She was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care in both Texas and Oklahoma and worked tirelessly for the benefit of the children assigned to her. Her true passion lies in helping educate and support at risk youth. 


Rebecca is a mother to two young children, Aurora and Michael, and enjoys teaching them in her home. As a family, they are active members of their church where you can often find her volunteering. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her large extended family.

Jessica Anderson Marketing and Content Coordinator The Set Me Free Project


Boone, Iowa native Jessica Andersen has spent much of her career as a Customer Experience Specialist, but she always knew that her life was meant for something more.
Jessica grew up within the foster care system and survived many years of trauma and abuse, but she didn't allow those challenges to defeat her; instead, she used them as empowerment to change the world.  Today, Jessica is The Set Me Free Project's Iowa Educator District Lead, providing youth with the tools they need to understand their intrinsic value and teach them to navigate challenges safely.
Along with her passion for providing prevention education to end human trafficking, Jessica is also a full-time mom. As a mother, she discovered that raising a child takes an entire village, which can be said to end human trafficking.  With each person receiving human trafficking prevention education, the village becomes bigger, and the world becomes safer for our children.
When not educating and leading her team of Iowa Educators, you can find Jessica sipping on an iced coffee while reading or watching a movie from her extensive DVD collection. However, her daughter is her greatest joy in life, and no book or movie could compare to spending time with her.

Danielle Howell Curriculum Specialist The Set Me Free Project


Danielle is a Nebraska certified teacher with B.A. and M.Ed. degrees in Elementary Education. She is an experienced classroom teacher and administrator, with six years teaching Kindergarten and Pre-K and four years as a Curriculum Director, leading and training a staff of over 45 teachers. She has planned and implemented staff training on various topics, including child development, positive discipline, classroom management, language and literacy, and communication.As Curriculum Specialist for The Set Me Free Project ®, Danielle currently develops curriculum and speaks to middle and high school students to prevent youth and young adults from ever experiencing human trafficking.


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After graduating from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Education, Kim spent twenty years serving as a teacher in public, private, and home education classrooms.


She has spent most of her adult life in Omaha, Nebraska where she’s raised a wonderful family with her husband of over three decades.   

Kim and her husband were first educated on the realities of Human Trafficking in 2013, and began their efforts to discover, support, and promote anti-trafficking and rescue organizations within the United States and across the world.  When Kim was invited to join The Set Me Free Project ® as the VISTA Curriculum Development Coordinator it was an exciting opportunity to put her talents as a writer and educator to work towards the vital work of trafficking prevention. The best way to end a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  


Through the continuing development of effective trafficking prevention curriculums and educational activities for youth and adults, Kim is committed to decreasing the number of individuals involved in the tragedy of human trafficking, while also emboldening today’s youth and others to join in the effort. 

Lindsey Shunkwiler Outreach Coordinator and Trainer The Set Me Free Project


Lindsey joined The Set Me Free Project ® in October 2021 as an Educator. Now as the Outreach Coordinator and Trainer, she enjoys meeting new people and bringing awareness to the seriousness of human trafficking.


Lindsey is a wife and mother to 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8. She also works part-time as a fitness coach and events coordinator. Lindsey attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied Speech, Language and Pathology.


In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, interior decorating, spending time with her family.

Kelly Schlott Event Coordinator and Trainer The Set Me Free Project


Kelly is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Speech Communication. She was raised in Des Moines, Iowa and has been married to her husband Abe for 27 years. She is a busy band mom and has two sons that are multi-instrumentalists. She enjoys all the music that her sons perform!

Before coming to The Set Me Free Project ®, Kelly had many jobs including working for a public TV station in Cleveland, Ohio, being a stay-at-home mom, being a Zumba and Mixxed Fit instructor and being a Mad Scientist. She currently continues to be a part-time event manager at her church.

Kelly enjoys working as a volunteer with Heartland Family Service and is on volunteer staff at her church, Relevant Community Church. She loves to help those in need and has a heart for volunteering. She has served as a mentor with Elkhorn Public Schools and is currently a mentor with TeamMates mentoring.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, singing in an adult choir, performing community theater and also crafting and puzzles.

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Mandy joined The Set Me Free Project in June of 2023 as the District Lead Educator. She earned her BA from Simpson College in English Education, and went on to earn her MA ED from the University of Northern Iowa (Go Panthers!) in 2010.  Mandy worked in public education for 22 years, most of that at Knoxville High School in Iowa. While there, she was fortunate to be a trainer when the district implemented Youth Mental Health First Aid. Her passion for mental health and the wellness of students made her a great fit for the school’s At-Risk teacher. When not working, Mandy loves being the mother of Mike and Hayden. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Jamie and their three dogs! She loves reading and crafting with a group of friends she calls the “Scrap Gals.” Her recent move to Clive, IA has provided her the opportunity to look for a career change. Mandy will use her years of teaching to lead the educators in the Des Moines area and provide training to a variety of groups.  

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Jill’s journey with the Set Me Free Project began in August 2023 when she joined as an educator.   Having spent the majority of her life in education, Jill's commitment to the project is undoubtedly rooted in her passion for empowering students and helping them develop healthy habits.

Jill has a  Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University and a Masters from Drake University,   Her experience is primarily in Norwalk, where she worked as a health teacher and counselor at the secondary level for over two decades.  She concluded her  career as an elementary principal at Lakewood Elementary. Under her leadership, Lakewood Elementary gained recognition by receiving  various awards.

Family holds a special place in her heart, as evident in her love for spending time with her five grandchildren under the age of three. Their presence brings laughter and joy to her days. Jill's enthusiasm extends to her favorite sports team, the Iowa State University (ISU) team, as she attends their games whenever possible. Her love for travel is evidenced by her affinity for Nashville, which she considers her "happy place." If she is not doing any of those things, she is probably at the pickleball courts.  

Jill’s hope is that her extensive experience, coupled with her genuine care for students' well-being, positions her as an influential educator within the Set Me Free Project.

Kim joined The Set Me Free Project as an Educator in July 2023 after more than 30 years with the Principal Financial Group. As a mother who lost her only child to overdose, she has lived experience with addiction, mental health issues and the realities of human trafficking. She looks forward to increasing awareness and bringing prevention education to young people. When not reading, writing, or listening to NPR, she enjoys letting her granddaughters squish mud, fingerpaint and otherwise make whatever messes bring them joy. She lives in Des Moines, IA with her delightful, patient and mess-hating husband David.

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Erin joined The Set Me Free Project as an educator in August of 2023. She is a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Minor in Sociology. After a short stint as a journalist for a small newspaper in Colorado, she moved back home to Iowa to care for her elderly grandmother, and soon after married her husband, Greg. They live in Urbandale, IA with their two children and a small zoo, consisting mostly of small, furry animals and fish. In her free
time, she enjoys watching her son play baseball and basketball, and her daughter play softball, soccer,
basketball and tae kwondo. Erin works part-time as a teacher/tutor for Sylvan Learning Center in Johnston, Iowa. After being a part-time at-home teacher for her two children during covid, she quickly learned what an enormous impact teachers and educators have in children’s lives. Erin’s true passion is helping people. She is a strong advocate for mental health and wellness and strives to offer hope and understanding to those in crisis. She is very excited to be a part of The Set Me Free Project team in Iowa!

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Malik joined The Set Me Free Project® in October of 2023 as an educator. Malik comes from a background in stage and film performance and believes he can use those skills to keep everyone engaged. He is excited to be able to help spread this valuable information and awareness to the students of Des Moines. Malik enjoys relaxing at home with his cat and watching a good movie or even the occasional game when not working or involved in a show. This is the first time Malik has been able to be in the position of an educator and he feels that it is a place he has belonged to forever.



Laurie is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education and the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a master’s degree in Adult Education/Training and Development. She was born and raised in Omaha and has lived here her entire life, sharing her home with many adopted dogs -and one cat - throughout the years. Most of her professional life was spent at the Douglas County Health Department where she supervised a diverse health education staff in the Health Promotion Section. Here she and staff developed and implemented health promotion programs for primarily underserved populations. After retiring, she founded and led a non-profit organization focused on animal welfare and legislative issues and volunteered at numerous animal shelters in the area. In addition, she is a Master Gardener and volunteered her time at Child Saving Institute teaching children and teachers about 'everything gardening' - where our food comes from, how to grow it, the wonders of nature, and the importance of our beautiful pollinators. She is also a certified health coach and founded and co-led a plant-based community group, Plant Powered Omaha, to teach adults about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.

​Before coming to The Set Me Free Project, Laurie spent 6 years with The Coalition on Human Trafficking as a trainer and Program Coordinator, training hotel/motel staff to recognize the signs of trafficking within their facility. This provided the perfect segue to her current position as Training Coordinator for The Set Me Free Project. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her garden club, dining out with friends, and landscaping/gardening in her half-acre backyard.

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After graduating with an MA from the University of Tulsa, Danica worked as an HR Systems Analyst andTrainer for large and small companies in both consulting and in-house capacities. After taking some timeto raise her family, caretake for her father, and pursue an MS from Creighton University, she is excitedto join the team. She’s supporting the project which will take the READY To Stand Curriculum® and HotelMotel Human Trafficking Prevention and Response Program online.

Winnie CCO The Set Me Free Project

Winchester (Winnie)

Chief Canine Officer

Winnie has been volunteering with The Set Me Free Project ® for 8 years, however, she officially joined the team in 2022. Winnie has studied extensively in the art of scarfing down food as quickly as she can and napping in as many locations as possible. Winnie has been an invaluable assest to the team and brings as much cuteness as possible every day. 


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Linda Swain
Board President

Retired Owner of
Swain Construction

Lucas Shook
Board Treasurer

Owner/Sole Practitioner, Shook
Books & Tax, LLC 

Patty Connerly
Board Secretary
Retired, Customer Service Manager, PayPal


Dr. George Gauthier
Board Member
Owner, Gauthier Health Care

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Faith Buffington
Board Member

President, Good Steward Building Management

Susan Jacobs
Board Member
Retired, U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – U.S. Department of State

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Christian Mirch
Board Member

Attorney - Private Practice
Police Officer, Yutan Police Department

Minden Nester
Board Member
Former Teacher in the 
Behavioral Skills Program

Sara Petty
Board Member

Retired, Corporate Business Executive

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