The people behind the scenes at Street Ransom
Since 2013, Street Ransom has transformed from a request from the FBI to provide housing for juvenile sex trafficking victims to a team of people who are dedicated to making this vision a reality. What makes us a team is our shared heart for the Gospel of Christ and our desire to see juvenile survivors of domestic sex trafficking set free, protected, and loved.
Keith Farmer Founder and Director
Keith Farmer married his high school sweetheart in May 1989. He and his wife are the proud parents of two teen boys, Carson and Craig. At the beginning of his career, Keith used his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration as a nursing home administrator. Passionate about their faith in Christ, Keith and his wife Heather have been actively involved in their church. During their time serving as AWANA leaders, Keith and Heather felt the Lord’s leading to do more to show and share Christ with hurting teens in the Roanoke Valley. In 1994, this calling turned into the founding of Straight Street Ministries. Nearly 20 years later, God directed and opened doors for Keith to launch a new ministry, Street Ransom.
Life verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Kathleen Chester Program Coordinator
Kathleen was born and raised in Salem, Virginia, and attended James Madison University to become a nurse. However, God quickly redirected her path to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Global Justice Studies with a concentration in sex trafficking. During her senior year, Kathleen finished her degree online and moved to Baltimore to intern for the Samaritan Women, an organization that works with adult victims of sex trafficking. After a month of interning, it became clear that Kathleen’s gift was working with the survivors, so she stepped into the role of Program Supervisor for the shelter. In January 2015, she returned to the Roanoke Valley and began working on the plans for Street Ransom’s crisis shelter. Now, Kathleen is pursuing her Master’s in Social Work to be further equipped for her position as Street Ransom’s Program Coordinator.
Life Verse: “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” -Romans 12:11
Rebekah Marquez Communications Coordinator
Rebekah grew up in the outskirts of Roanoke, Virginia, and attended James Madison University where she studied Communication and Humanitarian Affairs. During her time at JMU, Rebekah discovered a new passion for social justice issues, and her eyes were opened to the prevalence of sex trafficking in our nation here and now. After graduating in May 2016, Rebekah moved back to her hometown and began interning at Street Ransom through the Blue Ridge Fellows program. Almost a year later, Rebekah took what she learned through her internship and joined the Street Ransom team as the Communications Coordinator. She now educates others in the Roanoke area about the realities of sex trafficking.
Life verse: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16