BFA Founder


Julie Shematz is an energetic and enthusiastic individual who loves to encourage others with hope and truth. Passionate about intimacy with God and inspiring others to fulfill their destinies, Julie has a powerful testimony of beauty from ashes. Growing up fatherless, she has overcome sexual and domestic abuse, addictions, homelessness, and human trafficking victimization. Personally and professionally, she has dedicated herself to raising awareness about human trafficking and the development of prevention, intervention and restoration programs. 

In 2005, she founded Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries, Inc., a 501(c)(3), not for profit, faith-based public charity dedicated to reaching and assisting adults and children involved in and/or associated with the sex industry, commercialized sexual exploitation, trafficking and adult entertainment. Mrs. Shematz has over 20 years experience working with this populace and is recognized as an expert nationally for the development and training of survivor-centered outREACH and afterCARE programs. 

In 2002, when she did her first strip club outREACH, there were less than 5 ministries nation wide doing this unique type of ministry. In 2005, she began training laypersons across the nation how to do this type of ministry. The training evolved into a National Human Trafficking: Sex Industry OutREACH and AfterCARE curriculum. The curriculum and survivors-centered program models were officially approved, implemented, and replicated by The Salvation Army (TSA) beginning in 2014. After acquiring a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Florida Gulf Coast University, for three years she served as the Director of Social Services at The Salvation Army Tampa Area Command, where she also developed The Salvation Army’s first approved Anti-Trafficking program in the state, an Emergency Shelter. In the heart of Hillsborough County, FL (the most concentrated county in the US for adult entertainment businesses), she also oversaw the launching of a Drop-In Center for sex workers, in addition to 7 programs with over 300 beds for homeless persons.  Casting vision, TSA was awarded over 5 million dollars for programs she developed. Tampa, the seat of Hillsborough County is home to Beauty From Ashes™ office.  Today, there are nearly 300 ministries doing this type of outREACH across the US. 

Julie, originally from Indiana, has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University and studied Art Education K-12, Fine Arts, and Visual Communication Design at Purdue University. She is an artist and ordained minister, who specializes in working with survivors of sexual abuse and professionals, utilizing best practices, evidence based, and creative therapies, including art and equine assisted therapy and learning. She currently is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the state of Florida and working as a therapist at Department of Juvenile Justice residential/treatment programs, where nearly 100% of youth are survivors of sexual abuse, exploitation, and/or human trafficking. From her greatest pain has emerged her most profound personal mission in life. 

She and her husband, Steve, celebrate 15 years of marriage in August 2018. Although having no biological children, they have numerous spiritual ones. They reside on a ranch in the Tampa Bay Area.

100% of the proceeds from Julie's artwork go to reach, rescue and restore victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.