Alverno Magazine Logo
Changed Lives Change Lives

Changed Lives Change Lives

April Bentley is free. She believes everyone deserves to be free, too.

Bentley, class of 2026, is the founder of Rubies, which stands for “rare, unique, beautiful, intelligent, excelling sisters.” The nonprofit’s mission is to prevent young girls and women from getting caught up in the world of sex trafficking. It’s a world she knows all too well. Taken in at the age of 14 by a woman she knew and trusted, Bentley spent 19 years being trafficked before she was able to get out.

For 19 years, Bentley survived. But to her, the word “survivor” doesn’t define her identity. “I cringe when I hear that word,” said Bentley. “I am more than that. I’m a lived experience.” Her nonprofit focuses on intervention, awareness and prevention while shaping character through culture. They work with anyone who identifies as female from the age of 11 through 22. “Our mission is to reach and teach those who are at risk of exploitation,” she said. “It’s my mission, it’s my mandate to teach what I know.”

Her calling to help others is what led her to pursue a degree in social work at Alverno. “This is where my heart is, trying to make our communities strong, our young women strong, our families strong. That’s my purpose right there.” And once she has her degree, Bentley looks forward to being able to say: “I am not only my experience. I'm educated as well. I am credentialed, and I am more than enough.”

Rubies was recently invited to become a part of Wraparound Milwaukee, a system of care for children with serious emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs and their families. It’s a big step for Bentley, a step that will allow her to reach even more young women. “The life I live wasn’t designed to kill me. It was designed so that someone else might live. That’s how I get up every day.”

Bentley is steadfast in her determination. “My mom would always say, ‘You can't save the world.’ And I'd say, ‘Why not?’”

Latest News

Alverno at Work: Cassie Rincon '13

Alverno at Work: Cassie Rincon '13

For Cassie Rincon ’13, hanging out with Severus is a normal day at the office. So is traipsing down woodland paths, never quite knowing what sights or creatures she’ll discover. The…

Fall Winter Full Issue 2022

Fall Winter Full Issue 2022

Click here to download the Fall Winter 2022 issue of Alverno Magazine.


Full Speed Ahead for Tokara Henry '22

Full Speed Ahead for Tokara Henry '22

After earning her associate’s degree, Tokara Henry ’22 launched her own business, Bijou Nails and Co. in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville district, and spent the next decade growing i…

Mentorship close to this nurse's heart

Mentorship close to this nurse's heart

When Alverno nursing student Ariyah Kirkendoll, class of 2023, sees her primary care provider, she receives more than health care — she also gets mentorship and advice from a fellow Alve…