Jean DePlacido column: Blodgett continues to help others by venturing into Brave House 

HADLEY GREEN/Staff photo Lauren Blodgett

Lauren Blodgett received an unexpected honor recently when she was named to the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 in the law and policy category.

The former Peabody High student-athlete, who graduated from Boston College and got her law degree at Harvard, is an immigration lawyer at Safe Passage Project.

Blodgett, daughter of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, has been doing great work as an immigration attorney helping young girls who are refugees from many countries. An outstanding student who played three sports for the Tanners is now a mover and shaker in her field.

She’s starting a new venture called The Brave House in Brooklyn, which will provide a safe space, legal representation and holistic services for young immigrant girls seeking asylum and desperately in need of help.

“The Brave House is the solution I wished already existed for my clients,” said Blodgett, a Fullbright scholar, . “It will provide trauma-informed therapy, career advising, English lessons, and bi-weekly wellness events such as art, dancing and self defense.”

Blodgett was inspired to undertake this ambitious project so young females can thrive. She has been helping girls at the non-profit Safe Passage in New York.

“After working with this population for the past few years, I’ve witnessed the gaps in access to many of the crucial services these girls need in order to live a safe and happy life in this country,” Blodgett said. “My current clients are girls who are fleeing gender-based violence in their home countries, including sexual abuse and trafficking. When they arrive in New York they experience problems such as lack of legal representation, homelessness, obstacles in receiving mental health services and social isolation.”

Blodgett has developed their trust, and the girls often come to her seeking help with their many problems. They have very few people in their lives they trust and can turn to.

“I’ve seen how the intersection of these challenges puts girls’ safety at risk and compounds their trauma,” said Blodgett, who has never been afraid to tackle problems head on.

The Brave House will connect girls who can share their experiences and also learn new activities enriched by donations of a computer lab, library and food pantry. The project will begin as a day shelter and transition to overnight as it grows and funding makes it possible.

“By investing in the success of immigrant girls we can help end inter-generational poverty and disrupt cycles of violence against women,” said Blodgett. “The current political climate has truly propelled me into action. This past summer I spent time in detention facilities in New York representing children, who were separated from their parents at the border.

“I want to create a space where immigrants and especially females feel welcome and have access to the services and representation they deserve. I want to use my energy as a tool for positive change and be a strong female leader for these girls.”

Blodgett is an amazing advocate, and her inclusion on the prestigious Forbes list is well deserved.


Emily Diezemann of Peabody and Emma Mancini from Lynnfield have been chosen to play in the New England Women’s Volleyball Association Senior Classic Sunday at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy. The two Endicott students are among the top 30 seniors in the region who have been selected.

Diezemann, who played high school volleyball at Peabody High, helped lead the Gulls to the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship in 2016 and ‘17. A middle blocker, the 6-foot-2 accounting major played a key role in the team reaching the semifinals this past season and going a combined 86-43 during her four years.

“They both crushed the workouts and showed up every day ready to work hard, while encouraging and pushing others to do the same,” said Gulls coach Tim Byram in a press release.


Former Hamilton-Wenham track star Rebecca Erhard was named Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year. The Stonehill College freshman has been a top 15 finisher three times in five races. The Lady Skyhawks will run at the Division 2 NCAA championship in Pittsburgh this weekend.

Erhard was a standout in her first 6K race at the Division 2-3 Challenge, with a third place finish out of 105 runners in a time of 23:44. She was 28th at the New Englands and 12th at the Bruce Kirsh Cup.

She had her best 6K time at the league championship, finishing 15th in 22:36, and was named to the All-Conference third team.

Erhand was a Salem News cross country and track All-Star and a Lady Generals MVP.


Melissa Gray had a career-high 24 points to lead Westfield State to a 103-84 win over Regis. The former Peabody High star was 4-for-7 from downtown for the Owls (now 3-1). Gray has started every game and been averaging over 18 minutes per outing.


Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @JeanDePlacidoSN