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avatar for Shirlee Draper

Shirlee Draper

Cherish Families
Director of Operations
Shirlee Draper was born and raised in “Short Creek” (Hildale, Utah/Colorado City, Arizona) within the fundamentalist polygamous sect now known as FLDS. She was “placed” in an arranged marriage and had four children, two of whom have special needs. After the rise of Warren Jeffs, she took her children and left everything she had ever known to move to St. George, Utah. As a single mother, she obtained a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration.

She now volunteers in many capacities in the rebirth of her hometown. She organized the Short Creek Community Alliance, which facilitated the election of the secular town council and first female mayor of Hildale in 2017. She was instrumental in creating and opening the Creek Valley Health Clinic, serving as its first president. She currently serves as President for the United Effort Plan Trust, which owns the land and homes in Short Creek; Board Member for Short Creek Health and Recreation; Treasurer for Short Creek Community Center; and serves as the Board Chair of Utah State Disabilities Advisory Council.

She is employed as Director of Operations for Cherish Families, a social service nonprofit which offers crime victim and wraparound services for people from polygamous backgrounds who need stability. She specializes in bridging the population with mainstream society and provides education for outside service providers and government agencies to facilitate cultural competence in dealing with fundamentalist community members.
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