About Us

WHO WE ARE

Operation S.H.I.E.L.D. is on a mission to Secure and Heal children Identified in sex trafficking, Educating, Liberating and Directing them towards a happy, healthy future. We are helping these precious children find life after liberation. It’s hard to discuss Operation SHIELD’s origins, without mention of it’s founder and visionary: Matthew Smith.

Matthew began developing services in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In 2013 Mr. Smith formally organized his efforts and became a 501c3 charity under the name Prosperity Project. Originally our focus was to provide life and entrepreneurial skills to poverty stricken Haiti. A larger problem quickly became apparent: child trafficking.

Poverty and child trafficking go hand in hand, as many of these parents are forced to choose between selling/giving up their children or watching them starve to death.

While continuing our life and entrepreneurial skills mission, we have widened our focus to include trauma therapy and rehabilitation. Our goal is to provide high quality services and support to the most vulnerable children in the world, victims of child sex trafficking.

(Read more about Matthew Smith and our services below)


Operation SHIELD’s Missions:

Trauma Therapy

Rescued children typically experience flashbacks, intrusive memories and nightmares. Most of them have a condition called Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of being raped multiple times a day. This condition requires specialized interventions developed specifically for complex trauma. Read more about our treatment structure and therapy modalities below.

Treatment Structure

6 Core Components of Complex Trauma Interventions
  1. Safety: The installation and enhancement of internal and environmental safety.
  2. Self-regulation: Enhance the child’s capacity to regulate psychological and emotional distress, and restore balance following an anxiety producing event.
  3. Self-reflective Information Processing: Development of the ability to effectively engage and focus in an effort to processes self-narratives, reflection on past and present experience, anticipation and planning, and decision making activities.
  4. Traumatic Experiences Integration: The transformation, incorporation, or resolution of traumatic memories, reminders and associated psychiatric pathology into a non-debilitating, productive, and fulfilling existence.
  5. Relational Engagement: Restoration or creation of healthy attachment, and interpersonal relationships. Development of critical interpersonal skills as assertiveness, cooperation, perspective-taking, boundaries and limit-setting, reciprocity, social empathy, and the capacity for physical and emotional intimacy.
  6. Positive Affect Enhancement: The enhancement of self-worth, esteem and positive self-appraisal through the cultivation of personal creativity, imagination, future orientation, achievement, competence, mastery-seeking, community-building and the capacity to experience pleasure.
Therapy Modalities Include:
Medical ManagementBIRRT Cognitive RestructuringCognitive Therapy
Cognitive-BehavioralExposure TherapyFamily Therapy
Substance AbuseGroup EducationGroup Therapy
Life Skills TrainingRecreation/ExperientialPeer Mentoring
Parent TrainingLegal Counsel
Case Management: Social Workers will coordinate with child protective services, the court system, the schools and social service agencies.

Rehabilitation

At the point the trauma begins, a child’s ability to reach additional developmental, cognitive and emotional milestones stop. Without accomplishing these milestones, children grow up unprepared for adult life and often suffer from ongoing mental health issues. Operation SHIELD provides Rehabilitation services for victims of sex trafficking so they can reach the developmental, cognitive and emotional milestones needed to thrive.

Life Skills

Life skills trainers teach employment and entrepreneurial skills to children getting ready to “age out” of the orphanage. Without this vital service many of these children are forced back to the streets to provide a living for themselves.

Operation SHIELD’s Team:

Matthew Smith: President & Founder

Matthew Smith began developing services in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In 2013 Mr. Smith formally organized his efforts and became a 501c3 charity. His passion for working with children drives him to provide high quality services and support to the most vulnerable children in the world, victims of child sex trafficking.

Matt has 25 years working in children’s mental health and has developed several businesses in Southeast Idaho. Mr. Smith has six children of his own with his best friend and wife Tomi. They enjoy their grandchildren and children as much as they can.

As president, Matt represents the organization in public and directs the mission of the organization and leads service missions to various countries to promote awareness of the plight of children sold into sex trafficking.

Jerry Hatch: Vice President

Jerry Hatch has lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho for 56 years where he has owned and operated several businesses. He loves the idea of goal-setting and has a passion for entrepreneurial pursuits. Business endeavors that blessed his family while benefiting the community encouraged Jerry to pursue different opportunities and is the driving force behind his involvement with Operation SHIELD.

Jerry finds joy in mentoring others to successfully pursue their dreams. He says, “There is real satisfaction in finding someone who just needs a little guidance to be on the correct track to reach their goals.” That sentiment translates well into the mission of Operation SHIELD.

Jerry is married to his beautiful bride, Kay, and has a large, growing family. Jerry has an interest in families and preserving the position of “parent” in societies worldwide.

Benjamin Stutzman: Secretary

Ben Stutzman is a family-man and long-time resident of Idaho Falls, marrying the former Darece Cherry. He has five children, four living. His faith and family are the central values that inform most of their choices.

He has been a life-long participant in the administration, and ministration, of his church and its members. Ben is a past-president of what was then Idaho Falls’ largest and fastest growing Toastmasters Club. He participated in organizing and executing large-scale activities with the Boy Scouts of America.

Bob Stahn: Director of Clinical Services

Bob Stahn is a Licensed Clinical Professional of Mental Health, a Counselor and a Master Addictions Counselor. He earned his Associate’s in Family Development from Ricks College, his Bachelor’s in Pre-­Clinical Psychology from Brigham Young University and his Education Master’s degree in Counseling from Boston University. Bob has been working in the fields of psychology and substance abuse since 1983, with inpatient, outpatient, adolescent and adult patients.

As a Captain in the US Air Force, Bob received many awards for managing substance abuse and discrimination offices. He has enjoyed living in the diverse cultures of Japan, Turkey, Germany and the USA. His areas of professional expertise are: depression, teenagers, substance abuse, relationships and trauma.

Since 1994 Bob has been the owner and Clinical Director of Well Spring Counseling. He served as the President of the Idaho Association of Substance Abuse Professionals for six years and during that time he served as a national board member of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals. He also served as the Chairman of Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) of Southeast Idaho from 2013 to 2016.

Bob loves life, God, nature, his country and his family. He and his wife, Donella, are the proud parents of 11 children and 23 grandchildren.

Christa Landon: Director of Marketing

Christa earned her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a minor in Computer Information Systems from Idaho State University. She has been working professionally building websites and creating graphics since 2010.

She has been a supporter of Operation Underground Railroad since she first heard about them in 2013, and was very excited at the opportunity to serve with a partnering organization, Operation SHIELD as their Director of Marketing.

Christa enjoys and makes a living through various forms of art. Her business, All Things Art, provides many avenues to assist in Operation SHIELD’s missions, and she is honored to be serving such a worthy cause.